Why A Messy Desk Is More Important Than You Realise

A messy desk can have negative effects

Have you ever gone into your workplace and become irritated with how untidy it is? Most people may think nothing of not cleaning their desks; after all they may simply be too busy to spend the few minutes necessary to tidy everything up.

But what most people may not realise is that this untidiness can have far reaching impacts in a variety of areas. The Workplace Organisation Survey from Brother saw over 2,000 UK office workers surveyed about their attitudes to organisation.

Office Workers Are Messier Than They Think

A surprisingly large majority of those surveyed (70%) believed they kept their workspace tidy. Only a third admitted their desks were messy. However, many workers would argue they are too busy or simply forget to clean their workspace.

The downsides to a messy desk are not just that it visually looks unappealing; 73% of managers were found to view those with untidy workspaces as being disorganised. This was also the top judgement of colleague’s desks with 40% agreeing that a messy desk means the colleague is disorganised.

Besides from portraying a negative image for both the employee and the company, it can also have negative effects on the employee’s career progression. 1 in 10 bosses responded in the survey that a promotion would not be given because of a messy desk, resulting in 1 in 3 office workers potentially missing out on these promotions.

A Tidy Desk Space Has Positive Benefits

On the other hand, 53% of those surveyed felt in control and 52% felt more productive when they had a tidy desk space. Almost half (41%) felt that an organised workspace is the ideal way to enhance productivity and 40% felt that untidy spaces actually made them less productive.

This is backed up by a study from Jeffrey Campbell, PhD chair of facilities management programme at Brigham Young University that looked at the relationship between cleanliness and learning in higher education. The report, with over 1,481 people surveyed, found that 88% responded that their productivity, learning and concentration was hampered by unclean places.

How Can You Keep Your Workspace Organised?

It can be surprisingly easy and quick to organise your workspace in a way that it is simple to keep tidy in the future. In an office, piles of documents can often find themselves multiplying on your desk. A recent article on OPInfo Blog titled 5 Tips For Organised Filing gives some great tips to keep your filing neat.

If you find that your desk is being overtaken by stationery then perhaps consider investing in a desk tidy. These often have multiple compartments that can be used to store pens, pencils, scissors, sticky notes and much more. There is a range of desk tidies available on OPInfo in a variety of colours and styles, so there is something to suit every office.

The most important thing to remember when trying to keep your workspace organised is to simply tidy up every day. Set aside a few minutes a day to re-organise your desk and you will soon find that untidy desks are a thing of the past!

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Sarah Jubb
Sarah Jubb

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