This isn’t one of those preachy posts…but with so many of us working from home at the moment, it’s important to think about our environment and what constitutes the best working environment for us.
In a previous post, I wrote about Working From Home Productivity Tips amidst us all being house bound and working from home during lockdown. Keeping productive is important, we need to maintain our focus. However, now this is the ‘new normal’…let’s look at our environment and make sure that we’re getting the best out of our space.
Today I am talking specifically about our ‘desk space’ and keeping our working area clean and clutter free.
According to Scotts & Sons (a professional cleaning service) there’s a couple of reasons why a clean and tidy work environment is important: “A clean and tidy work environment boosts productivity and morale”. That makes sense. If our environment is tidy, we’ve got time to think and allow our brains space to be creative and not distracted by mess. Not just that though, “with desks providing the perfect host for bacteria to flourish, maintaining a strict cleaning schedule is essential”. This is probably even more crucial now with the Coronavirus pandemic.
A cluttered workspace is a recipe for distraction. When you’ve got papers, notebooks, old brochures, post-it notes and the like scattered around you, it’s almost a reflection of your mind. As soon as you remove the clutter, you remove the distraction and give yourself the ability to focus. It is the same with a cluttered desktop. A clean desktop means that your eyes don’t scatter all over the place until the focus… straight away they know what they want and where to go.
While we’re working from home, our distractions are different than those in the office. It’s so easy to go and put the sheets in the washing machine or or paint your toenails while you are on a conference call (I don’t advocate the latter by the way)… there is so much that could take our attention.. why add to it with a distracting desk too?
WHAT DO YOU NEED TO WORK?
While little trinkets can make a desk space feel more homely… do you really need them to work? Most probably not. I also find that they can get in the way, for example when I need to lay out larger sheets of paper to review designs (I work in marketing).
Using drawers is a great idea. Keep everything you may need in your drawers – pencils, pens, staplers etc. Reach for them only when you need them rather than having them taking up space on your desk. But keep in mind that it’s important to keep your drawers tidy too!
STORE PROJECTS DIGITALLY
One thing I used to do was print everything off and keep a copy of it. This meant firstly stacks of paper, reams and reams of it in fact and also I wasn’t doing my bit for the environment. Now I used cloud based storage to give me easy access to my documents and also allows collaboration with other team members. This is especially useful when working from home and having to use tools like Microsoft Teams to get things done. It’s also great because I don’t lose things!
It’s also a good cost saving tool as well.
SETTING A STANDARD
At some point we will go back into our offices. When that is no one know but by practicing a clear desk and clean working environment in the home, you’re setting the standard for when you go back to work in a communal environment.
A clear desk is a great reflection of focus as well. While it’s only a superficial indicator… it’s a great ‘statement’ within the workplace.
The cynic in me also believes that a clear desk ensures that no one with lesser intentions can pick things up off your desk or glean sensitive information that’s not for their eyes.
KEEPING GERMS AT BAY
When you have a messy desk, there is a lot to clean. By reducing what you need to clean, you are reducing risk of germs and dust gathering. Something that is rather poignant in our COVID-19 world.
I’m quite obsessive about a clean desk but what about you… what do you find works for you?