People spend almost as much time at work as they do at home — so if spring cleaning is a good idea for a house, it’s probably something your office could use. Not only can spring office cleaning help with relieving allergies, it can also be rewarding for your employees’ mental health and productivity.
The Benefits of Spring Cleaning
When piles of papers and the like accumulate over time, dust and mold can collect along with it and make allergies insufferable. A good spring office cleaning can also help “clear the mind,” since being surrounded by disorganization can distract employees and decrease productivity. In fact, the average person wastes 4.3 hours a week searching for paper, and executives lose an hour of productivity every day looking for missing information.
A messy environment can even stress your employees out and cause depression. Psychology Today notes that people with cleaner homes tend to be healthier and more active. It’s reasonable to expect the same to be said of employees with a cleaner office. Clutter and anxiety can go hand in hand, too. All this means that an organized office could help your employees feel more relaxed and focused at work.
How to Get Started
When you’re about to embark on your office spring cleaning, it might help to take a page out of organization superstar Marie Kondo’s book (or just an episode from her show — we won’t judge). Her system emphasizes keeping only items that “spark joy.” While this principle doesn’t apply perfectly to the office — it’s hard to believe the photocopier “sparks joy” for anyone — you can adapt the philosophy to meet your needs. For example, you might get rid of items that don’t spark productivity rather than joy.
Even so, you may look at your work spaces and see an overwhelming task ahead of you. Make it easier for yourself by breaking the process down into manageable chunks.
- Start small. This will give you a goal you can accomplish relatively quickly. Do your employees need every personal item on their desk? Do they have stacks of papers that need to be filed away? Try digitizing as many papers as possible to cut down on clutter. Then, consider reorganizing the furniture to give your space a fresh feel. If you have an open floor plan, add colorful office supplies to brighten the mood or some inspirational items that might help your employees feel focused and calm.
- Tackle communal areas. Next up are larger projects like break rooms, conference rooms and other shared spaces. It’s important that these areas don’t just become dumping grounds for clutter. Clean out refrigerators and toss expired food, sanitize the microwave and clean the coffee maker.
- Clean up digital messes. Just because you can hide the mess behind a screensaver doesn’t mean you should ignore decluttering your computer. Duplicate documents and photos can accumulate over time, and you might be in the bad habit of leaving documents unorganized on your desktop. Set up folders for different categories, archive items you no longer need and back up everything important to the cloud or a hard drive. Then, do the same for your emails and browser bookmarks.
Spring cleaning can be a real asset to your employees’ work life. It might seem like extra work now, but the long-term benefits of office organization to your employees’ personal health just might make it worth it. As a bonus, you’ll be able to stop ignoring the month-old unclaimed takeout in the fridge.
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