There is increasing evidence to suggest that your working environment can significantly impact your productivity and mental health. Similarly, an untidy workspace can present safety issues and, ultimately, can convey the wrong impression to guests and visitors. Whether you work from home or in a busy office, keeping clutter down to a bare minimum comes with a range of benefits. If office cleaning or home office cleaning is at the bottom of your to-do list, then read on to find out why and how to embrace our office cleaning tips.
Untidiness and mental health
According to Jennifer A Veitch, Senior Research Officer for the National Research Council of Canada, those working in offices spend around a third of their waking hours at their desk. Her report on the effects of the environment on our mental health found that spending lengthy amounts of time in less-than-ideal surroundings can exacerbate conditions such as stress, anxiety, fatigue, and depression. In addition, research into the relationship between clutter and mental health by the American Psychological Association produced comparable results. It found that those who worked in untidy home environments tended to suffer from low self-esteem and anxiety and were more prone to procrastination. While there may have been other underlying causes of these conditions, it has been suggested that office cleaning and home office cleaning can help to engender feelings of positivity.
Wasted time and productivity
However, the effects of an untidy workspace can have a more practical impact on productivity beyond procrastination. A white paper by the International Data Corporation (IDC) discovered that those working in chaotic working environments could waste up to two and a half hours each day trying to look for misplaced documents and files. This works out at a staggering 50 hours that could be otherwise better spent each month. In the UK alone, this translates as a cost of over £20million per year in wasted time. On top of that, it has been revealed that disorganisation helps create self-defeating surroundings. Those working in spaces that are less than tidy are prone to giving up on tasks before they’re completed. Even if they did manage to see the project through, the work delivered tended to be below par, reflecting the chaotic environment they’d been working in.
A matter of perception
Clutter also seems to have an impact on public and professional perception. Around 75% of UK workers believe that colleagues with messy desks don’t take pride in their work, are disorganised, and are potentially struggling with their workload. Similarly, it appears that bosses and managers may be influenced by the state of an employee’s workspace. One in ten managers said they were unlikely to promote a worker if working in disordered surroundings. However, perhaps the most significant problem is the effect a messy workplace can have on visitors and guests. Almost 60% of the public said that they would think twice before employing the services of a company that doesn’t maintain a sense of order in the workplace, supporting the maxim that ‘first impressions count.’
Hazards and hygiene
But it doesn’t stop there. Whether it’s a single desk, your home office, or a bustling bureau, mess and clutter can create problems for both health and safety. In safety terms, perhaps the biggest risk posed by untidiness is fire. In the unfortunate event that a fire breaks out, piles of paperwork and boxes of files will help the flames spread. In addition, clutter near fire exits can pose a hazard for those trying to leave the premises. However, if you think that papers on the desk aren’t really a problem, think again. Mounds of flammable materials set close to electronic equipment, such as keyboards, photocopiers, and computer towers, are not only within easy reach of rogue sparks, but their proximity can also increase the odds of those pieces of tech overheating.
Slips, trips, and falls remain in the top spot as the most common form of non-fatal accidents in almost every workplace. Almost anything that makes its way to the floor poses a potential tripping hazard to anyone entering the premises, whether you work from home or in an office. Unfortunately for employers, this could result in legal action from anyone who takes a tumble in surroundings for which they are supposed to be responsible.
It may surprise you to learn that the average computer mouse, keyboard, and office chair act as home to more than 20,000 bacteria per square inch. This means that your office desk could be housing around 10 million germs. If the coronavirus has taught us anything, it’s the importance of personal and environmental hygiene. While your office might not be hosting a new Covid variant, if it’s untidy, it could be a breeding ground for other viruses, such as colds and flu. Spilt drinks and dropped food that isn’t cleaned up can throw other problems into the bacterial mix.
9 office cleaning tips
Now that we’ve looked at why office cleaning is essential, it’s time to look at some office cleaning tips to find out how to get the job done.
- Begin with a cull
Anything surplus to requirements needs to go. Excess or outdated paperwork should be shredded and disposed of. Equipment that doesn’t work should be taken to your local recycling centre, and office accessories, such as chairs and desks, which are broken or faulty should be thoughtfully disposed of. If you need to replace furniture or equipment, check out the Avansas range for the best products at the best prices.
- Store properly
The correct storage systems can make a dramatic difference to the way your office works. Files, documents, and paperwork that have survived the cull should be properly stored. The Avansas collection of storage solutions includes everything from archive boxes and box files to plastic report files and document wallets. To ensure that you don’t waste time looking for important paperwork in the future, try and organise your documents alphabetically or according to the appropriate category.
- Clean your desk
Cleaning your desk thoroughly will mean taking everything off and out of it and breaking out the disinfectant. However, while this might sound like a lengthy process, it’ll take less time than you think – particularly if you’ve got the right office cleaning products. Browse our selection for everything from single bottles of spray cleaner to industrial-sized tubs of antibacterial liquids. If you use a computer, don’t forget to give your mouse and keyboard a once-over, to prevent the spread of germs and viruses. We even stock a range of computer cleaning equipment to help you tackle nooks and crannies that are otherwise difficult to get to without interfering with your computer’s function.
- Reorganise your desk
Once everything’s clean, it’s time to reorganise your workstation. Instead of putting it all back where it was, break your desk into zones, placing the appropriate tools and equipment in the appropriate areas. This way, you’ll always know where everything is, without wasting time looking for it.
- Tackle the floorspace
If your floor bears the scars of spills, splashes, and stains, then it’s time to give it a makeover. For carpets, this just takes a run with Hoover, perhaps with a bit of carpet freshener thrown down first. Wooden floors require a little more care and attention. However, our range of floor cleaners is sure to have just the right product for the job. Even vinyl flooring will benefit from a quick wipe-down with a mop. However, if other people are working in the office, inform them of wet and slippery surfaces or put up information signage.
- Empty the bins
If your office bins are starting to look more like sculptures than waste-disposal accessories, then it’s time to empty them. However, if overflowing bins are an occupational hazard in your workplace, it could be time to establish a new and regular emptying system. If you find that the problem persists, it might be the time to buy additional or larger ones. In addition, reducing your carbon footprint could be important to your colleagues and customers. Ensure that there are dedicated bins for waste that can be recycled and items that can’t.
- Clean the bathroom
While it might be a task that no one particularly wants to do, it goes without saying that the bathroom and toilet are where you’ll find endless amounts of bacteria. If your company has a cleaner, check that their supplies are well-stocked and that their equipment is up to scratch. If it’s down to you to do it, investing in the right cleaners and office cleaning tools is the best way to make short of an unpleasant job. As with the bins, it’s worth establishing a regular cleaning schedule for these rooms.
- Clean the kitchen
The kitchen can be one of the most overlooked spaces in any office. However, it can also be the place where food is stored and plates, mugs, and dishes are washed. On top of that, it’s the most likely space for spills and splashes. Ensure that all surfaces, including the floor, are thoroughly cleaned using antibacterial cleaners. These don’t have to be laden with chemicals; if you’d rather go down the green route, check out our selection of eco-friendly cleaners. As with cleaning the bathroom, ensure that there are plenty of cleaning supplies to hand, and ensure that your store cupboard is always well-stocked.
- Little and often
Once your office looks its best, ensure that you keep it that way. Instead of waiting until things become insurmountable, use these office cleaning tips regularly. Not only will you find that it requires less effort each time you do it, but you should quickly see an overall improvement in how your workplace functions.