For those who are NOT British, this may not make sense at first glance. Unfortunately, I can wholeheartedly agree that my home office space is definitely a place for depositing things by dumping them on my desk. Everything that does not have a home usually finds its way there.
When working from a home office, there often isn’t the same pressure to keep your workspace tidy because you haven’t got colleagues or clients walking past your desk every day. Video call programs like Zoom have even made it possible to mask backgrounds, so no one has to see how cluttered your office is during a video call. However, just because no one else has to see your office doesn’t mean that it’s okay for it to be a mess.
An untidy workspace isn’t good for productivity. On top of making it harder to find things you need, it can encourage you to have disorganized thoughts and negatively affect concentration. All in all, it could be damaging the speed and quality of your work.
Just what are some signs that a home office has become a mess? Below are just 5 of the most obvious signs and what you can do to tidy things up.
The Desktop Dump
Has your desk become a dumping ground for letters, forms, stationery, empty coffee mugs, sweet wrappers, and other items? As the famous saying goes: ‘a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind’.
Make it your mission to clear your desk of any unnecessary items at the end of each day. You can still keep notes and other important documents on your desk that you may need the next day. However, things like coffee mugs and opened envelopes should be cleared away.
Make sure to wipe down your desk and keyboard periodically too. These can quickly become breeding grounds for bacteria – especially if you eat at your desk.
The Paperwork Pile-Up
Have you got paper documents piling up in drawers and on shelves? It’s unlikely that you need to keep all of this paperwork – especially in this day and age when most of it can be digitized.
Schedule some time to finally sort through old contracts, bills, and letters and get rid of anything that you don’t need. Many paper documents like bank statements and receipts from several years ago may no longer be worth holding onto. Meanwhile, things like accounting records should all be made digital.
Is there an unruly mass of cables under your desk? Poor cable management could make it hard to find the cables you need when you need to unplug them or replace them. Allowing knots to form in cables could meanwhile even cause damage to them.
Check out this cable management guide in order to start getting your cables under control. This could include labeling cables and using cable trays.
How Did This Get Here?
Your home office – or at very least your desk – should ideally be for work purposes only. Avoid cluttering it up with other objects that you haven’t been able to find a home for such as luggage padlocks, nail clippers, measuring tapes, and gym equipment.
Finally, you should avoid hoarding equipment that you never use. For example, if your scanner has been gathering dust for two years, consider whether it’s time you got rid of it to free up some desk space. Some of this equipment may be possible to sell if it’s still in good condition.