07 Aug Why a clean desk is good for you!
Clean desk policies are becoming increasingly common in the workplace with many employers turning to them as standard practice.
There are plenty of benefits to adopting a clean desk policy, starting with the more obvious being information security and, with the recent pandemic, hygiene and sanitisation purposes.
Keep sensitive and confidential information secure
Having loose sheets of paper with sensitive information can make businesses more susceptible to fraud, security breach or information theft. A clean desk is one of the simplest ways to reduce this risk. Ensuring that all documents and confidential information are removed and locked away is one of the simplest ways to reduce this risk. Better still, looking for ways to reduce the use of paper can not only help with security, it’s better for the environment as well.
Information security also goes hand in hand with a “clean screen”, which is ensuring you lock your computer whenever you walk away from your desk. Once you get into the habit of doing this it will become second nature!
For some businesses, securing sensitive information is both an industry standard and a compliance requirement (under some ISO standards). Regardless of your business compliance requirements, it’s good general practice for every organisation.
Maintain cleanliness and appropriate hygiene standards
In the light of the recent pandemic, a “clean desk” really does mean a clean desk. Quite simply, the less you have on your desk, the easier it is to wipe it down and allows for a better, deeper clean. Germs and viruses can linger for extended periods, cleaning your desk regularly (and thoroughly) can help reduce the spread. The dos and don’ts of clean desk policies will differ depending on your organisation – many extend to not eating at workstations – it’s now become standard practice to wipe down the space wiping down your space if you don’t intend to use it again that day.
Beyond hygiene and information security, there are also other ways (perhaps less obvious) having a clean desk can enhance your workplace experience:
It boosts your productivity
The benefits to productivity are a major factor when it comes to a clean desk! Decision-making becomes easier, there are fewer distractions, and you feel freer to get more work done! Plus, for many of us, having a clean and fresh desk can feel inspiring and motivating!
It’s better for your physical health
Have you ever thought that a neat space could help you make better food choices? That’s what a recent study found! Findings showed that “Clutter is stressful for the brain, so [if you work in a messy environment] you’re more likely to resort to coping mechanisms such as choosing comfort foods or overeating than if you spend time in neater surroundings”.
And mental health…
From a mental health perspective, disorganisation and clutter has been shown to increase stress levels and can have an impact on your self-esteem. Often, if you feel disorganised, you can feel a lack of control – an organised space can help you feel much more focused and less stressed!
It creates a sense of pride
Think about your most high valued client, or perhaps a manager or colleague you most admire, now think about showing them your desk space, your home at work – how would you feel? Clean desks not only make the workplace look tidier, it also promotes a professional image – one that you should be proud of!
It promotes creativity
Creative geniuses like Albert Einstein have also been notoriously known for their messy offices – so this might come as a surprise to you! Not only does a clean desk help you problem-solve (because your mind is clearer and more focused on the task at hand), by having things in order you can spend more time thinking creatively than searching for documents! Research shows that your mind is subconsciously bothered by disorganisation – the preoccupation leaves less room for creativity.
It brings you and your team closer together
Clean desk policies often go hand in hand with non-assigned workspaces and usually this means there are designated areas (away from a workstation) where you can collaborate with others. Take a look at your workplace environment – look for ways and areas that you can “change your scenery” when working with others. Different spaces can also connect us to different work modalities and help you to transition both your mental focus and physical posture.