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Tidy Workspaces: Part 2 – Maintaining a Clean Desk

6 mins read

This article discusses 4 ways to keep your desk clean by wiping down electronics, sorting through paperwork, opting for vertical storage, and utilizing desk drawer dividers.

Much like our bedrooms at home, desks can become like our own personal nest with coffee cups, papers, electronics, and supplies everywhere, all thanks to a busy work schedule. While it might be easy to shrug off cleaning week after week, one thing that shouldn’t be compromised is wiping down devices, specifically touch screens and keyboards, since viruses like “the flu can linger on unclean […] electronic equipment for 24 hours.”1 After that, small adjustments can be made to help keep things organized and running smoothly day-to-day. Tidy tips such as sorting paperwork, opting for vertical storage, and utilizing desk drawer dividers can help keep your desk clear of clutter. Building on these habits is essential to creating a healthy work environment, boosting both morale and productivity.

4 Habits for Keeping Tidy:

1. Wipe Down Electronics: Electronic devices such as phones, tablets, and laptops dominate the modern office, and many employees cannot imagine going to work without them. Being a workplace staple means that screens and keyboards are some of the most commonly touched surfaces, and can accumulate “up to 7,500 bacteria at any given time.”1 Therefore, it is highly recommended to wipe down devices on a regular basis with sanitizing wipes or Windex glass cleaner. For an extra deep clean, use canned air to blast away pesky dirt and crumbs (raise your hand if you’re guilty of working through lunch!) that get lodged between the keys of your keyboard.

2. Sort Through Paperwork: Despite the vast variety of digital technology available, many workplaces still heavily rely on paper. Documents, forms, and contracts can clutter one’s desk quite quickly, increasing the risk of something getting lost or damaged. So, when papers start to pile up, try sticking to these three actions: “file it, scan it, shred it.”2 Anything that needs to remain a paper copy should be safely filed away in a labeled folder or binder, while the rest is scanned onto the computer to make digital copies. What’s remaining can be disposed of accordingly, with sensitive documents being shredded before hitting the recycling bin.

3. Opt for Vertical Storage: Organizing papers not only keeps them off your desk, but off the floor as well. Vertical storage including bookcases, shelving units, or filing cabinets are especially handy if you have an office with limited desk space. It is also a great way to keep everything at eye level so that important items remain in sight. This can be taken one step further by labelling all the shelves and drawers as you would with any file or binder to indicate to your team where specific documents and supplies can be found.

4. Utilize Drawer Dividers: Now that most of the desk surface has been cleared off, it is crucial to show the same amount of care and consideration for your desk drawers. If the contents are not organized in a meaningful way, a lot of time gets wasted rifling through them, causing unnecessary stress. Utilizing drawer dividers to store items such as chargers, pens, paper clips, notepads, sticky notes, and scissors makes them easy to arrange and find.2 If chargers or other electronic wires cannot be stored inside a drawer, try zip tying them together to keep them out of way, labeling each chord or grouping as you see fit.

In a busy, fast paced office, it can be hard to prioritize keeping your desk clean, but ultimately it “saves time and makes for a happier, [healthier] you.”2 Wiping down electronic touchscreens and keyboards with sanitizer wipes is an easy place to start maintaining both a clean office and good health. Once you start with the essentials, it’s not hard to branch out and transform your whole desk so that your day runs like a well-oiled machine. Properly filing papers, storing important items at eye level, and arranging your desk drawers all boost productivity since you aren’t wasting any time looking for what you need. This helps reduce stress associated with items getting lost or damaged, as well as “[focusing] on too many things at once.”1

Join us for Tidy Workspaces Part 3 where we discuss how to enact cleaning policies in the workplace.

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1 Pickard-Whitehead, Gabrielle. ““Time to Tidy Up! Less Desk Clutter Makes You More Productive, Data Shows (INFORGRAPHIC)” Small Biz Trends. https://smallbiztrends.com/2018/01/clean-office-increases-productivity.html

2 Stillwagon, Amanda. “21 Storage and Organization Ideas to Make any Office Run Smoother.” Small Biz Trends. https://smallbiztrends.com/2014/10/office-storage-and-organization-ideas.html

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