Much has been made over the past year on the benefits of tidying our home and workspace. Marie Kondo brought minimalism and cleanliness to the forefront of our consciousness with her viral Netflix special. The “Fly Lady Method” is the most recent decluttering craze to hit the internet, formulated around 15 minute bursts to bring order to our lives.
Now, with the concern around infectious disease front and center in our consciousness, we are looking to do everything possible to preserve our physical and mental well-being and protect ourselves from the effects of COVID-19.
Research has shown “…that our physical environments significantly influence our cognition, emotions, and behavior, affecting our decision-making and relationships with others. Cluttered spaces can have negative effects on our stress and anxiety levels, as well as our ability to focus, our eating choices, and even our sleep.”1 A recent study showed that 90% of Americans admit that disorganization at home or work has a negative impact on their lives.2
Beyond the mental impacts, having a cluttered workspace at home or in the office can have very significant health impacts as well. We have heard from cleaning professionals that they will not move anything on a worksurface to do their nightly cleaning.
"the average desktop has 400 times more bacteria than the average toilet seat."
In other words, if you have stuff on your desk (papers, chotchkies, reference materials, pictures, etc…), those areas of your desk are not getting cleaned and could be gathering and harboring harmful bacteria or viruses. A recent study by the University of Arizona found that the average desktop has 400 times more bacteria than the average toilet seat.3 Yuck!
5 step guide:
Here are a few tips to making sure your workspace at the office is getting a deep clean.
- Eliminate clutter piling up on your desk with an “inbox” tray – throughout the day, papers can pile up. Make sure you have someplace to put them off of your worksurface so that you can access them when the time is right and they don’t prevent surfaces from being wiped down at night.
- Keep only the essentials – You don’t need an old coffee cup or yesterday’s half-eaten lunch on your desk. File or scan and save whatever papers have been handled.
- When in doubt, throw out – Do you need that binder from 8 years ago? Or better yet, recycle or donate your old materials to someone who can make better use of them.
- Clean every day – Every time I grab a grocery cart at the store, I clean it down with a sanitizing wipe. During these times when cold, flu and now COVID-19 is spreading, we should wipe down our worksurface, keyboard4 and phone for 5 minutes at the start of every day.
- Utilize your storage if you have it – In the modern office, often lockers, towers, laterals, and pedestals go under utilized or completely unused. Those aren’t just for file folders. They can store your gym bag, reference materials, office supplies, etc.
In summary, cleaning is good for our physical and emotional health. A clean work surface and a well-organized workspace is a critical piece of staying focused, positive and safe during these challenging times. If you don’t have the storage or organizing tools you need, now is a great time to choose the pieces to help set yourself up for maximum productivity and well-being in the future.