The theme this week is Keeping Your Desk Clean and Clear!  As our resident borderline-compulsive organiser and sorter of things, Andy will be taking over the reins for this topic…

For most of us working in an office environment, behind a desk is the place that the majority of our time is spent. That might be at a tailored workstation that we use every day, or it might be a whole spread of different ones for those who hotdesk, sharing or swapping desks often.

In either case, keeping a clean and hygienic workstation is an incredibly beneficial habit to get into both for mental and physical wellbeing in an increasingly on-the-go world.  While the average toilet seat harbours 49 germ microbes, the average desk is home to up to 10 million – an alarming factoid for those of us who take a working lunch at our desks!

1. Reduce Clutter!

The first step to a cleaner desk is to make sure you can actually get to the desk in the first place!

It’s a depressingly easy progression; what starts out as a document that isn’t quite done with, or a couple of pens that a co-worker quietly borrowed and returned earlier can rapidly spiral into the kind of clutter that ends up covering your whole desk.

The best place to start is the essentials – what absolutely must be on your desk in order for you to be working effectively? For most, these will be logical things like your computer, keyboard and mouse, filing trays, or a telephone – anything that you use regularly will likely warrant a permanent place on your desk.

For everything else, ask yourself – do I need this to be in front of me?

If you don’t need an item or object to be on your desk right now, chances are there’s a better place for it to live until you do. If there’s anything that you find you don’t need at all, or simply have no further use for, throw it out!

Don’t be precious – if you don’t need it or it serves no purpose, there’s no reason for that thing to take up space that could be better used for something you actually do need.

2. Under Desk Storage

Naturally, there are always going to be various items or documents that, while they aren’t going to be in such constant use as to be permanent fixtures, you’ll still need to keep close to hand.

The humble pedestal is a simple, effective and often overlooked way to store a large amount of stuff right beside you while you work, all conveniently tucked out of the way under your desk.

As a common workplace staple, pedestals are available in all manner of sizes and configurations – from flat drawers more suited to oddments like stationery, or deep drawers with dividers for sorting paperwork and filing. A small pedestal can be a really versatile way of managing personal storage, and it’s one that I’ve come to rely on at my own desk.

3. Storage Trays

Not every office will have the room – or necessarily the need – for furniture-based storage solutions. There are plenty of smaller options for workstations where space is at a premium!

For any desk with lots of small items or with a steady stream of paperwork, something like a storage tray can be a simple but effective tool in keeping your workspace clear of clutter.

Much like the kind of cutlery trays that many of us have at home in a kitchen drawer, keeping small items sorted and accessible with a partitioned tray is a simple, low cost way of organising your workstation without sacrificing too much desk space – or a great way of adding to an existing cabinet or cupboard that’s become the office pen graveyard.

The best thing about trays is that they come in countless different shapes, sizes and styles to cater to almost any requirement, so no matter what kind of setup you have, somewhere out there will be a tray that’ll fit your needs – or at least fit your desk.

4. Desktop Cleaning Products

Once you’ve achieved an uncluttered and accessible workstation, it’s important to then keep your desk both clean and clear going forward. Staying on top of potential re-cluttering will allow you continued easy access to your desktop, which makes keeping it clean and hygienic a much more manageable task – and one that’s far more likely to become a habit!

Thankfully, the wealth of products and approaches available makes the method of cleaning almost entirely up to you – whether it’s a surface cleansing wipe for the desk that’s a little too awkward (or too often in use!) to completely clear, liquid cleaner for a more thorough going-over, or a disinfectant spray for those with a more trigger happy approach to cleaning – finding the right product that works for you is an important step in making all of this cleaning into something that you’re more inclined to do regularly.

There are even surface cleansers with fragrances mixed into them, offering a neat incentive for a quick wipe-down on any of those days when somebody has a particularly pungent lunch in the office!

Well, that’s all from me this week – hopefully these tips will have helped with streamlining your workspace a little, or given you some ideas to jump off from!

Have a great, healthy week at work – and we’ll see you next week!

Join us next week for Part 3 of ‘Getting Off To A Good Start’!

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