September 12, 2022
With more people working at home in recent years, many spend a significant amount of personal and professional time in their households. Some of us have even adjusted our home layouts to accommodate one or more people working out of the residence. You’ve probably discovered an unexpected challenge with the at-home work journey — keeping the home office clean.
While keeping a professional workspace clean might seem easy, a home office is a unique situation. Preventing clutter and grime in a space shared with pets, kids or roommates can be difficult.
You may not give your home office a second thought unless clutter noticeably starts to prevent you from efficiently accomplishing tasks. After all, if you’re the only one who sees the room, does it really need to be kept as clean as a traditional business space? The short answer is yes — and we will show you why and how! Read on to learn tips to maintain a clean, organized workspace that reduces stress, boosts productivity and sets you up for success as a home-based employee.
How Does a Clean Workspace Increase Productivity?
Researchers examining the connection between office clutter and stress found that emotional exhaustion and stress cause workers to delay decision-making and hold onto task-related materials. In other words, clutter can cause stress — and stress can cause mess. By removing the capacity for clutter in the first place, you can help break the clutter-stress cycle in your home and excel at work.
Consider these productivity-boosting benefits of working in a clean office space:
- Reduce stress levels: Spending several hours daily in a cluttered environment can lead to anxiety and life dissatisfaction. By decluttering our living environments, we can feel more peaceful, accomplished and in control.
- Improve health: The cost of clutter and dust is real — it adversely affects mental health, aggravates allergies, disrupts sleep patterns and more. Work stressors cost American businesses up to $190 billion yearly in health care costs. Cleanliness improves our well-being, leading to fewer sick days.
- Save time: A clean office means no more digging through those piles of files! Keeping the home office tidy saves time locating materials so you can dive directly into the project. Organization also prevents procrastination, making you a more efficient employee.
- Increase focus: A Princeton University Study found cluttered environments make it difficult to concentrate on specific tasks. An organized workspace eliminates distractions and helps you focus on producing quality work.
- Enhance mood: An unprofessional-looking workspace can leave you feeling unproductive and uninspired. You’ll feel calmer, more energized and professionally focused when you work in a consistently tidy space every week.
How to Keep Your Home Office Clean and Organized
Anyone can benefit from a sparkling clean, organized home office, yet knowing where to start may feel overwhelming. With a targeted cleaning routine designed to banish classic office clutter and prevent its return, it’s much easier to maintain a clean space all year.
Remove Trash and Non-Office Items
First, remove everything that doesn’t belong — all the trash and any items that ventured in from other parts of the home. Bring a large trash bag, recycling bin, donation box and “household” hamper to create four distinct removal zones:
- Trash: Toss used sticky notes and outdated papers. Test pens, markers and highlighters and throw away any that no longer work. Edit your filing drawer and shred unneeded documents with sensitive information. You don’t have to keep every file indefinitely — in many cases, it’s safe to remove things like tax records that are older than seven years.
- Recycle: Collect empty soda cans, water bottles, paper, newsprint and cardboard. Many recycling programs also accept outdated electronics and cables.
- Donate: Reduce multiples of staplers, decorative notepads, paperweights, coasters and pencil mugs. Pick your favorite one of each and donate the rest.
- Household: The stuff from our homes can easily spill into our office areas. Return toys, jewelry, coffee mugs — anything that belongs to another part of the home — to the “household” hamper to easily transport back where things belong.
Once you’re done, immediately remove those items from the office. Take out the trash and recycling, place the donation box in your vehicle for delivery on your next errand trip and return household things to their respective rooms.
Reduce and Avoid Clutter
If you find you sit down at a cluttered desk day after day, you’re not alone. Many of us place random items onto our desk surfaces because it’s a large, wide surface to unload whatever we’re carrying when we enter the room. Desks are also notorious places to accumulate tchotchkes.
Your home office desk is where you accomplish work and further your career goals. And for many at-home employees, it’s the space to rely on for online work hours. No one should be fumbling around paper piles and stacked non-work items when trying to locate essential notes during a virtual work meeting.
Banish the clutter with these time-tested tips:
- Reduce the number of items kept on your desk at any time.
- Consolidate writing tools to one holder.
- Transfer items to desk drawers and file cabinets.
- Move desk photos and art to the wall.
- Maintain a strict “no junk mail” rule and sort mail the second it enters the office.
Refresh Your Organization System
Prevent clutter from entering the home office in the first place with an organization reboot. Organizing your home office with fresh eyes and an updated system make it easy to keep the room clean:
- Update your system: Maximize the use of file cabinets, drawers and closets. Sort and reduce existing files.
- Get vertical: Keep work surfaces clear using vertical storage like pegboard and slat wall organization solutions.
- Go digital: Convert to a digital file storage system to reduce and prevent physical clutter.
- Label everything: Labels help you find what you need quickly and return items when finished.
- Refresh your style: New color-coordinated desk accessories work wonders to energize the space!
- Create zones: A home office means personal and work life may sometimes blend. If needed, create a kid-friendly corner or pet zone with toy storage.
Clean Surfaces Regularly
The trick isn’t just cleaning the office, but cleaning it regularly. Having a set schedule is the key to a consistently clean workspace. Unfortunately, many workers can forget to clean their home office for weeks at a time. We understand time is precious and life happens. Between juggling family and pets, working at home, running errands and completing daily tasks, it may feel daunting to fit in cleanings for the office every week.
A tidy office is about more than just appearances — cleanliness is vital for our health, especially in a room we spend so much time in. Dust mites are one of the most common triggers for asthma and allergies, so maintaining a dust-free home is crucial for good health. Keep allergies and germs at bay by regularly vacuuming, dusting and wiping surfaces. Our convenient, time-saving cleaning services will help you maintain a hygienic office space on a weekly or monthly schedule, so you don’t have to.
Store a dusting cloth, screen cleaner spray and furniture polish in a desk drawer to maintain a clean space between professional cleanings:
- Wipe down your desk before the start of every workday.
- Every Monday, wipe down monitors and electronics.
- Every Friday, remove trash and recycling.
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Since 2004, Maid Bright has offered superior quality cleaning services for renters and homeowners in the DC Metro Area. From small apartments to larger family homes, our award-winning home cleaners have a solution for every household and home office. With options for one-time sessions, recurring services and deep cleanings, our full-service cleaners are available to deliver a customized approach to ensure your home office is sparkling clean.
Take the first step to feeling energized in your refreshed workspace — request a personalized quote today!