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How to Increase Productivity by... Decluttering?!

Updated: May 8

driving to a COVID-19 screening site

Declutter Your Desk, Destress Your Mind.

There's always that one person in the office who maintains a spotless workstation, who has probably said something like: "A cluttered desk reflects a cluttered mind." And while that may sound like nagging, there's actually science behind the concept that a clean and organized work environment can significantly increase your productivity and mental wellbeing.

(See, for example, this 2019 study on the negative effects of "display clutter" on financial traders' ability to assess stock visualizations.)

The Science of Organization:

Studies show that clutter can:

  • 🫨 Distract your attention:  Your brain has to work harder to focus on tasks amidst visual clutter.

  • 😵‍💫 Increase stress levels:  Disorganization can create feelings of anxiety and overwhelm.

  • 🤪 Reduce productivity:  Finding things takes time, hindering your ability to complete tasks efficiently.

Creating a Culture of Organization:

Employers can play a vital role in encouraging a culture of organization. Here are a few tips:

  • 🗄️ Provide Storage Solutions:  Equip workstations with drawers, shelves, or organizers to keep supplies contained. 

  • 🧹 Encourage Regular Decluttering:  Dedicate time each week for employees to tidy their desks. 

  • 💾 Promote Paperless Processes:  Utilize digital tools and document management systems to minimize paper clutter. 

  • 🧑‍💼 Lead by Example:  Maintain a clean and organized workspace in common areas like conference rooms. 

  • 🧼 Offer Cleaning Supplies:  Provide basic cleaning wipes or solutions for employees to keep their workspaces tidy.

  • 🪴 Hop on the Plant Trend!: Greenery in the office has the opposite effect of clutter ➔ plants lower stress and improve employee's perception of their work environment. Encourage employees to ditch the receipts for lunch they were reimbursed for 3 years ago and replace them with a low-maintenance jade plant.

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