With the onset of cold and flu season just around the corner, it’s a good opportunity to review some workplace cleaning tips and give that workstation some love. Not only will you help reduce the germ-count that tends to spread like wildfire through the cubicle jungle, but decluttering and organizing will also help create a workspace that is conducive to increased productivity and a positive working environment. Read on for five ways you can help keep your workplace clean and tidy.
- Disinfect workstation surfaces regularly . We spend a lot of time at our desk, but let’s face it, we don’t typically spend much time cleaning it. How bad can it be? Well, research indicates that bacteria are rampant on desk surfaces and keyboards. A University of Arizona study found that the average desktop has 400 times more bacteria than the average toilet seat. Another study at Chicago’s Northwestern Memorial Hospital found that two deadly drug-resistant types of bacteria (vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium (VRE) and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)) could survive for up to 24 hours on a keyboard, while another common but less deadly bug (Pseudomonas aeruginosa) could survive for an hour. That’s pretty scary stuff!
Regular handwashing is key, but you’ll also want to regularly wipe down surfaces with disinfectant. Most workplace supply companies sell germicidal wipes that can be used to wipe off equipment like your phone, keyboard, mouse, and the surface of your desk.
- Avoid eating at your desk . If your keyboard is a veritable food journal of months (or maybe years) of snacks and lunches, then you need to stock up on keyboard cleaner spray and perhaps reevaluate your workday eating routine. Make an effort to get out of the office at lunchtime and not only give your keyboard a break from crumbs and debris, but give yourself a much-needed break from work during the day.
If you must eat or drink at your desk, make sure you tidy up afterwards and remove all dirty coffee mugs, cutlery, water bottles, and tupperware afterwards.
- Your cubicle is not a closet . Does the underbelly of your desk resemble a shoe warehouse? Has your gym bag found itself permanently relocated in a corner of your office, waiting for that day when you might work out over the lunch hour? Scaling back the amount of clothing and shoes at your workstation is an easy way to keep your space looking organized and professional.
A good rule of thumb is to have no more than one warm layer, such as a sweater or blazer, and possibly one extra pair of shoes at work. Ideally, these items should be stowed away in a drawer or closet at all times.
- Digitize lists and notes . For all the technology available at our fingertips these days, there is still a lot of paper clutter stacking up at any given moment. To-do lists, meeting notes, and that ever-present array of post-it notes chronically everything from customer contact details to obscure password hints, can all be digitized in some way.
In her article, How to De-Clutter Your Cubicle for GQ, Liza Corsillo suggests you can “scan and save pdfs of the things you will need to reference later on. Organize the pdfs in folders, make copies and save them as google docs so you can use them remotely.”
- Minimize sentimental knickknacks, photos, and decorations . We do spend a lot of time at work, so it’s only natural that we like to bring a little home away from home and personal flavour to our workspace. However, in a little space, a little kitsch and personal pizazz can go a long way. Corsillo suggests limiting decorative items to 3-5 and framing your favourite artwork to keep things tidy and professional.
Unnecessary desktop clutter can make it difficult to concentrate and perform the tasks you need to do on a daily basis. Also, a clean workspace reduces the germ population in your office and helps keep you and your colleagues healthy. It also makes it much easier to get down to the business of business!
Taking a few minutes to assess your workspace and implementing these five tips will really help create a work environment for yourself that is healthy and promotes a happier, more productive workday.