The second Monday in January is National Clean Your Desk Off Day. We suspect this date was chosen to coincide with all the Christmas decorations being packed away and a fresh start marking a new year. With the rise in the number of people who work from home, not all of us work from a desk, but the majority of office workers still do.
What is the point of a clean your desk day? It appears cover three main of areas.
Firstly, there are the de-clutter brigade for whom a messy desk equals a messy mind. There have been numerous studies to back this theory up, and the Inbox Zero believers also fall into this school of thought. On the surface it does make sense – if all around you is chaos how can you be expected to concentrate? However, for all those studies that “prove” the theory that a tidy workspace equates to a more productive workforce, there are those that counter this theory. Humans are all different and just because one way of working enables greater productivity in one person, it doesn’t necessarily cross the board to all. Linked predominantly with the more creative thinkers, sometimes having your “clutter” all about you actually helps you work to a fuller capacity.
Secondly, there is a movement linked with cyber security. More specifically named as having a Clean Desk Policy, the thinking behind this is that if you leave your desk covered with business information you are leaving yourself, and your organisation, open to snoopers. Agreed, we are all on the digital pathway, but the humble pen and paper have yet to be relegated to the museum-of-things-gone-by, and leaving sensitive information on your desk could break your company’s security codes. If you were to use a hot desk, you wouldn’t leave anything lying around once you had finished using it, so view your work station as a hot desk and ensure all company information is stored safely away at the end of the day.
Finally, there is the health and hygiene aspect. Now whether you are of the clear desk, tidy mind school of thought, the messy workspace equals the more creative employee, or you have a desk you feel nobody will be accessing so why lock things away, our final point is pertinent to all. The amount of germs and bacteria that lie unseen on our desks, keyboards and other work tools is astounding. We can’t substantiate this next statistic with anything more than a link to where we found it – National Today . Com – but if true, that only 3% of offices clean their equipment regularly, then no wonder there are so many sick days taken. The same article reckons that there are 16 million microbes on a typical office keyboard, and it is also claimed that the average desk has about 400 times the amount of bacteria as a toilet seat – yet how many of us sit hunched over our desks eating lunch or snacks?
Now we may be experts in all things IT and security, and we may well keep our own desks neat and tidy, but we are no cleaning experts. However, we do know someone who most certainly is that expert and so we asked Racheal Hughes, the Director of the award wining Brighton based environmentally friendly cleaning company Green Mop, for a few tips on how we can all make the most of National Clean Your Desk Day:
“You don’t need harsh chemicals to keep the basics in order: white vinegar is a natural anti-bacterial product. Spray a little on a cloth and wipe your phone, keyboard and desk – this stops germs building up. Turn your keyboard over and give it a few taps to get all the debris out. Obviously, keep a tidy desk without lots of nicknacks. Pile your paperwork neatly so the cleaner can clean your desk properly. We don’t know if that mountain of paper chaos is your filing system or if there’s an important post-it note balanced on the top. It’s not always possible but don’t eat at your desk. And finally, don’t choose a glass or white desktop!”
So there you have it – clean your desk day split into three components. However you view your work station, keeping it hygienic is beneficial to your health so pop out for lunch and give everything a wipe down at the end of the day.