Has it been so long since you’ve cleaned your workspace that you can’t remember what color your desk is? Go ahead, time yourself to see how long it takes you to find an important tool you suddenly need. For many workers, keeping the workplace tidy isn’t something that is maintained consistently. Many of us are busy with mounting deadlines and more projects coming in than projects getting completed, so it’s easy to see why cleaning our working area becomes an afterthought and gets pushed to the bottom of our to-do list.
While there are quick and easy ways to clean your workplace, sometimes it’s important to thoroughly clean your area. Here are some suggestions to help you get started at clearing your workstation and relieve some stress.
Do you have anything that could easily be saved on a computer? Take all of your sticky notes full of deadlines, meetings, and other random notes for you to remember. For example, try putting events and meetings into a digital calendar on your computer and set reminders for yourself. If your employer doesn’t use Microsoft Outlook, there are free sites like 30 Boxes that can keep up with your schedule and email you reminders. You can also scan your files and papers into the computer to help you be faster and more efficient at work.
Stack of Hotness vs. Stack of Junk
If your computer can’t help or if the information is too urgent to file away, divide the mess in two separate piles – one for important or high priority items and one for items that don’t pertain to you. Your “hot” stack will help you focus on your job better and keep your area from getting littered. You can then get to your “junk” pile later to file or throw away later, but for now, it keeps your workspace cleaner and easier to work in.
When in Doubt, Toss it
If it’s outdated, not yours, unneeded, or broken, throw it away. Old magazines, journals, papers, software, broken tools or accessories, or equipment can all be tossed. Keep an eye out for crumpled paper, spills, and debris. If not tossed or cleaned up, other more serious health and safety hazards may be taken for granted.
Take 10 minutes at the end of your shift to put away documents, tools, or spare materials. Store whatever is possible into your filing cabinets or company storage areas. Many employees share work areas, so be sure your area is clean so you aren’t slowed down trying to sort through your mess and can be safe from tripping or slipping, or causing someone else to.
Keeping your workplace clean includes having work areas neat and orderly, maintaining halls and floors free of slip and trip hazards, and removing waste materials and other fire hazards. It also requires paying attention to important details like the layout of the whole area, aisle marking, the adequacy of storage facilities, and maintenance. A clean work environment is an ongoing operation, not an occasional task when time permits. What policies are in place for keeping your work clear of clutter?