What’s your office desk like? Is it a minimalist space, with no more than a mouse, keyboard, bound notebook and pen? Is it personalised with plants and photos of friends or family? Or is it a more messy affair – we’re talking paper piles resembling the Leaning Tower of Pisa, stationery buried beneath birthday cards received months ago, and bowls and mugs from the week stacked to the side?

Bad news if you fall into the last category: your colleagues are not impressed. In a new study of 1,250 office workers, 63% said they get irritated when nearby colleagues’ desks are messy.

This stat seems a little ironic, considering less than half of the employees told Fellowes they tidy their desk every day, and nearly two thirds admitted to regularly procrastinating over organisational tasks. And let’s not forget the tenth of employees who say they keep documents for up to two years on their desks.

As Business Matters reports, almost all respondents in the survey said that being more organised at work boosts their productivity. Over six in ten (61%) even believed it makes them a better worker.

Daryl Brunt, sales and marketing director for Fellowes UK & Ireland, said his company’s study proves that offices across the country are crying out for better organisation.

He added: “What’s worrying is that although people are aware their productivity is being affected, many office workers still aren’t regularly organising their workplace, which our research shows is to the detriment of productivity and success.”

In light of their research, Fellowes released a handy five-step guide to tidying up your workspace (after all, if a messy desk equals is a messy mind, then a clear desk…):

  1. Sort out your papers. Gather all your loose papers and give yourself 15 minutes to go through them – decide whether they’re active, semi-active, archivable or disposable. Store away anything that’s semi-active or not needed to hand, and get rid of things that aren’t of use anymore (shredding them if they’re confidential).
  2. Get some new storage. Invest in a good storage system – this will save you huge amounts of time you wasted in the past searching for documents!
  3. Create a records management system. This is for the documents you need access to on a regular basis. Sort them into a clear system so that papers can be easily located – it’ll free up desk space too. Depending on how much space you have, you could opt for storage units, transfer files or storage boxes.
  4. Organise objects: Now it’s on to the ‘bits and bobs.’ Office equipment you use daily should be somewhere all your colleagues have easy access to, while other equipment can be stored elsewhere to free up space for any sentimental items (like photos you want to keep) without making the desk cluttered.
  5. Stick to your rules: Here’s the hard bit… you’ve got to stick at your new rules! Dedicate just five minutes at the end of each day to make sure your systems are working and your documents are kept in order. You should also plan when the next tidying session should be, to help you stay on top of all your paperwork.

The experts at Kerr can’t help keep your desk tidy, but we can help office managers and owners design clean, modern and de-cluttered workspaces that boost creativity and productivity among their team. We also specialise in the supply of office furniture, like desking systems tailored to meet the demands of the modern, ever-changing working environment. Get in touch today to find out more.