Art Creative Ltd

Disorganized Organization: How Office Clutter Impacts Your Business

Martin Castilla            No comments            Jul, 11

For the last couple of years, business managers all across the world have been struggling to keep their employees engaged, motived and aligned with company’s business goals. And as new findings show, the situation isn’t getting any better.

Last year, as Gallup research showed, only around 34.1% of employees in the United States said that they feel actively engaged in their workplace. On the other hand, more than half of employees – 51% to be exact – felt completely removed from their work.

Expectedly, due to disengagement, a huge number of people is looking to leave their current job. In fact, another Gallup study revealed that more than 50% of workers are going to search for new jobs in the next 12 months.

How Office Clutter Affects This?

As a manager, it’s your job to make sure your employees stay completely engaged and invested in your company’s success. However, you have to be aware that a number of things affects your employee’s motivation and ability to stay engaged during the working hours.

What’s worse, as more companies embrace new technology and new ways of working, they may be unwittingly decreasing productivity and employee engagement.

Now, in addition to the statistics we presented in the introduction, here are a couple of recent findings from the Leesman Index that may shed a light on one aspect of your company you probably didn’t pay much attention to:

  • 85% of employees feel like the design of the workplace is highly important for their motivation and creativity
  • Out of those 85% of employees, only 23% feel like their office design positively affects their inspiration and drive

Why Should You Care?

While keeping the office clean is not really at the top of any entrepreneur’s to-do list, it’s important to note that creating a good working environment that make enables your employees to concentrate on their daily tasks is vital for the success of your organization.

Here are just a couple of ways lack of how disorganization in the office can affect your employees, and your organization as a whole in a negative way:

·         Physical Clutter Creates Mental Clutter

Now, I want you to think about your workspace – it‘s certainly quite common to walk in an office ad see desks filled with pens, old papers and empty coffee mugs. All of those things piled up are actually causing your brain to work overtime when you need to be as focused as possible.

Simply put, a messy desk can disable our ability to work at our maximum productivity. As June Saruwatari, the author of best-selling Behind the Clutter explains, physical clutter actually creates mental clutter in our brains and hinders our ability to retain and process information.

Moreover, according to researchers from the Princeton University, all of that clutter in your office can make you feel distracted and limit your ability to focus for more than a couple of minutes at a time. As the researchers explain, the clutter competes for your attention the same way a screaming toddler does.

Even though you might be able to focus for a couple of minutes, you’re still aware that a loud child is also fighting for your attention. The annoyance will eventually wear down your mental resources, and you’re probably become frustrated after a while.

·         Less Clutter Means Less Absence

As Forbes reports, according to statistics provided by the workforce solution company Circadian, unscheduled employee absenteeism costs around $2,650 annually for salaried workers and more than $3,600 per year for each hourly worker.

One of the main reasons to maintain a clean and tidy office is the health of your employees. Did you know that workplace illness is one of the leading causes of inefficiency? And we’re not talking just about the dust around your office either…

As RTK Environmental explains, things like dirty refrigerators and dusty air ducts are among the leading causes of employee illness. In fact, a buildup of lint and dust can in extreme cases create a breathing hazard for your staff members and trigger dangerous health issues like asthma attacks.

And this problem cannot be blamed on your cleaning service. Workers who constantly eat at their desks without properly cleaning up, put their dirty dishes away help attract a number of disease carrying vermin, like mice and cockroaches.

·         Clutter Actually Affects Your Bottom Line

In addition to employee morale and engagement, clutter can also negatively impact your bottom line. And as new studies have shown, the impact is actually a lot bigger than most people would assume.

A few years ago,P-Touch surveyed almost 800 US employees and discovered that searching lost and misplaced items around the office accounts for more than 38 hours per year. This means, that your business actually loses one work week annually per employee.

Unsurprisingly, this results in a ton of lost revenue. The study also discovered that the costs of looking for displaced items exceeds $89 billion annually. And while going paperless seems like an obvious solution in this situation, you’d be surprised just how many times is lost due to digital disorganization.

Therefore, you should encourage your employees to start using apps like Evernote to stay on top of their tasks and label makers like Dymo, to keep physical files tagged and organized.

Is an Empty Office a Solution to all of this?

With all of that in mind, you may be thinking that a completely bare, clean office can be a solution to all of your problems. But don’t be fooled – making your workers have bare desks can also have a negative effect on their performance.

A study from the University of Exeter titled Relative Merits of Lean, Enriched and Empowered Offices showed that a bare desks removes every sense of identity and empowerment from a worker.

The study showed that people actually thrive the most in environments filled with plants and art. Furthermore, involving your employees in the decision-making around how the office is designed can potentially improve your company’s productivity 300% according to the study.

So before start making any serious changes, make sure to talk with your employees and see if they have any thoughts about the office layout and design and try to implement them.

The Bottom Line

The biggest takeaway from all of this should be that your office space cannot be an afterthought. A company guided by clear objectives, shared vision, supported by a strong office culture needs to include physical space as part of the business.

Whether you’re a part of large organization or a small business owner, maintaining a clutter-free office space can have a huge effect on your business. Keeping you offices organized is paramount to keeping your staff mobilized and remaining focused on priorities and profitability.

The benefits of reducing clutter seem endless. And once you start taking action to “de-clutter your workplace – through organization of paper files or implementation of a document management system – your employees will be able to work at their most efficient level.

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