For many of us, spring is a good time to step back and shake off the stale air of winter in the workplace. Nature clears the old to make way for new growth, and so can we. Even if your habits are less than tidy, there are some easy steps you can take to clean up your space and plant seeds of productivity.
Not sold on that metaphor?
Consider this: there are some compelling, data-based reasons for making time for spring-cleaning in the office. In a survey of 1000 office workers, 75% said that a clean office makes them more productive. On the other hand, a messy and disorganized space limits your efficiency and can sap your energy. Not only that, it projects a poor image. In the same Adecco survey, 57% of the respondents said that they “have judged a coworker based on the cleanliness of their workspace” and nearly half say they have been “appalled” by a dirty office.
So while some contend that they “have a system,” a cluttered office is having a negative effect on their productivity as well has how capable they are perceived to be by others. Spring-cleaning should address the basic idea of cleanliness –i.e. clearing the dust and cleaning surfaces as well as the problem of clutter and lack of organization. Here are some steps that will help you tackle the former and lay the groundwork for creating a more organized space.
Out with the old
Your first step should be to purge your office (or even just your personal workspace) of all un-wanted or under-utilized items. That book you ordered on Amazon but never managed to bring home? Those glass bottles you’ve been meaning to return to your local juice bar? Time to toss them or return them to their rightful place. Cleaning is a chore but there’s no better time to check it off your list than spring time.
So Fresh and so clean
Simple cleaning the office is something you should do occasionally, no matter how excellent your janitorial staff may be. These steps will freshen up your space and make it a more pleasant and healthy place to spend the prime of your life.
Clear all surfaces and wipe them down
Use a microfiber cloth and warm soapy water to wipe down the furniture (bookshelves, desk, chair, etc.) and walls. You will be amazed at how much grime accumulates. Your dull office will instantly look brighter and ready for action.
Give electronics some TLC
Your computer and other devices are your loyal servants and come in contact with all sorts of dirt every day. Take time to show them some love when you’re spring-cleaning. They’ll be more pleasant to use and will likely work better and live longer. Start with a can of compressed air and clean dust and crumbs from the keyboard, and then wipe down the keys, mouse, and housing with a damp cloth. A cotton swab dipped in alcohol or vinegar is great for getting into crevices. Do the same for you printer, phones, tablet, etc. For cleaning LCD screens, use a product designed especially for that use.
Hit the floor
Move as much as you can off the floor, including cords and cables, which are notorious dust bunny havens. Give the whole area a good vacuum. Get into the corners, behind furniture, and under the desk. Remove and shake out any area rugs.
Contain the dust
Now turn your attention to containers. Empty your trash bin and wipe it down with a damp cloth, then do the same for your recycling bin, if you have one (and if you don’t, why not?). Pull files out of drawers and cabinets and wipe them out while you marvel at how all this gunk could possibly find its way to the bottom of the drawer.
Once these cleaning steps are complete, don’t put anything back that you won’t need. Take the time to sort files and purge unneeded documents. You may be able to scan many items and free up physical space. Organize drawers and keep the things you use daily close at hand.
Remember that organization applies to your digital environment too, and streamlining your desktop by eliminating unused icons is an easy task that will make life sweeter. And hold your head high. Shining up your space is a positive step toward improving your performance and joie de vivre. Happy spring!
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