Your office, whether you love it or not, is your second home. A significant part of your life is lived there, so chances are you’ve carried the habits you acquired at home to it. If you keep your room messy, your workstation is likely just as messy, too.
While it’s possible to separate your personal life from your professional life, the lines tend to blur over time when you get used to your work environment. Once the office starts to feel like home and your colleagues like family, you’d get too comfortable and thus loosen up. As such, you’d begin to treat your workstation like your own space at home. And if organization isn’t your forte, your work stuff can look like a massive chunk of clutter.
Now, imagine if your colleagues act the same way. One day, you’d realize that your office, from being a professional space, has turned into a clutter zone.
Dirt affects your health in more ways than you think. If a messy home stresses you out, then a dirty office is no different.
Effects of Clutter on Health
Some people prefer their spaces a little cluttered because it supposedly sparks creativity. While that’s true in such cases, there’s still a point when clutter becomes too much. When you can no longer remember where you’ve put an item or find an available space for a new document, you’d, of course, get stressed.
One study revealed that women who viewed their homes as cluttered had high levels of a stress hormone called cortisol throughout the day. Meanwhile, those who saw their homes as tidy, restful spaces had lower levels. Another study had similar findings, concluding that clutter makes focusing on a task difficult. In addition, the study found that clutter is linked to negative emotions, including confusion, tension, and irritability.
If you often feel those emotions at work, you’d naturally lose motivation and require rest. But a vacation or sick leave can’t cure your stress if you won’t tidy up your workstation. Until you realize that, then you’d keep dealing with stress often and thus call in sick again and again.
Scattered Things Produce Scatterbrained Employees
The state of your space can reflect the state of your mind. If your work materials are scattered all over your desk, you’re likely feeling scatterbrained, too. Your condition may be more awful if you’re older.
According to research, adults in their 50s who have piles of clutter are more likely to delay cleaning than younger people. Considering that employees in their 50s are typically top-level managers, it’s hard to blame them for putting off de-cluttering because such an administrative task can disrupt their productivity.
Still, that’s not an excuse to let clutter accumulate even further. Eventually, their mess can affect their mental health and stress them out enough to skip work. That’s because your brain can consider clutter as a representation of unfinished business, and this lack of completeness can make your mental health go haywire. The effects get worse if you’re already dealing with difficulties in the other areas of your life.
Indoor Air Pollutants Cause Diseases
If your office isn’t just cluttered but also dirty, with the floors rarely swept, mopped, and vacuumed, and the HVAC system barely serviced, germs and bacteria will start to develop on the surfaces and in the air. Dirty carpets, adhesives, manufactured wood products, copy machines, upholstery, and even cleaning agents release volatile organic compounds (VOC). If ventilation is poor, then the VOC will spread around the space and cause respiratory problems.
For employees with preexisting respiratory conditions, the effects will be worse. They can experience recurrent symptoms or severe asthma. Children who are occasionally brought to work may be at risk for developing asthma as well.
Hence, aside from regular de-cluttering, offices also need janitorial services. If you clean your house every day, then there’s no reason to think that your office doesn’t need as much cleaning. In fact, your office may be dirtier than your home because you always bring outdoor dirt into it.
A Clean Workplace Makes Employees Happier
A clean home brightens your mood and makes you more relaxed and inspired. On the contrary, a dirty home causes anxiety and makes you feel like your retreat isn’t a safe place anymore. Your office is the same; the neater it is, the more productive and happy you feel. Have your stuff all over the place, and your concentration will be all over the place too.
So don’t wait until all your tasks are finished before cleaning up. Make it a daily activity; file your work documents immediately after receiving them. Throw away rubbish at once. Avoid eating at your desk. Treat your office like it’s your house, which you always keep clean and fresh even if you’re tired from work.