Get Involved In National Clean Your Desk Day 2022
Monday January 10 2022 marks this year’s National Clean Your Desk Day, a day believed to have been founded by A.C. Viero of Clio, Michigan, which is now celebrated annually in the USA.
National Clean Your Desk Day is a chance to get organised and seriously declutter. Its timing is about facing the year ahead and starting out on the right note.
The word desk was introduced in the 14th Century but didn’t become widespread until the 18th century when the Industrial Revolution changed the face of work and saw desks appearing in homes. The typewriter created still more change, the pace of which increased with the introduction of the computer. Until the arrival of the PC, the only way to store things was extra drawers and shelves!
Yet despite the advent of the PC, very few people escape amassing piles of paper and clutter gathering on desks and the much-vaunted ‘paperless office’ remains a pipe dream for many.
Experts suggest that the benefits of a clean desk include:
- helping you focus
- boosted productivity
- feeling good about your workspace
- improving workflow
- clearer thinking (tidy desk, tidy mind)
- putting things in order
In summary, research shows that people get more done and feel less stressed with a clean and tidy desk. It helps support wellbeing. However, there are apparently 16 million microbes on a typical office keyboard, yet only three percent of offices clean their equipment regularly. Bring on regular Clean Your Desk Days!
A messy desk is, they say, an invitation to chaos. A cluttered desk can create unwelcome anxiety. in the middle of an already busy workday. A workstation that’s not operating well hampers creativity, preventing tasks being completed.
With the average office employee spending six weeks per year looking for something if you add the time up, it’s easy to see why a good clean up, which helps both organise and declutter, will have the productivity benefits being claimed. And it can become a springboard for a wider spring clean!
Where to start
Cleaning starts with clearing. Whether filing, throwing things out, shredding paper or recycling, a good clear out feels really rewarding. Start by removing EVERYTHING from the desk, including emptying any drawers and filing spaces.
Clean the surface with relevant products – it may be another year before some parts see the light of day again! If you have some bits you aren't ready to get rid of completely - why not think of renting a storage unit or getting boxes to at least put them in cupboard out of sight for a while. That way you will know if you forget about them - you do not need it on your desk.
Start replacing items one by one, being brutally honest about whether they belong on the desk, in a file, into the shredder or into the bin. Don’t forget that filing can be electronic as well as physical, and scanning and saving can make things more easily accessible as well as saving space.
(Make sure that people understand any legal needs or company policies in this regard. For example, signed document originals are vital in many cases where they have legal weight/implications.)
As you replace items, clean them with the appropriate cleaning supply. Usually, a damp cloth is sufficient, but electrical items may need specific care. Remember to spray that keyboard!
Hang things that should be hung and take down any unnecessary wall covering – old jokes, out of date contact lists, old wall diaries.
Non-working pens. Empty tissue boxes. Broken things waiting for fixes. All of these should be disposed of, or the appropriate action taken. For example, if there are things like calculators, cameras or clocks that need new batteries, now’s the time to sort it. Don’t forget to tidy the electronic desktop ‘spaghetti’ and USB sticks etc.
Don’t forget the digital desktop
National Clean Your Desk Day is not just about physical clutter, it’s about digital clutter too:
- Drag files into a nice, neat folder
- Get rid of any old digital files that aren’t needed as legal records
- Delete unwanted apps
- Unsubscribe from unwanted email subscriptions
- Cancel unwanted paid digital subscriptions
- Move images that aren’t regularly used to an external drive or USB stick
- Update devices and drivers
- Time allowing, review your online accounts
- Check settings on web browsers
- Refresh logins
- Set your backup routine and/or make sure it works
- Disposing electronic devices securely
- Do what you need to do to keep computer and files safe, including updating any security software.
Motivating people to get involved
Ideas to get a team motivated to participate in ‘clean your desk’ day might include:
- A clearest desk competition
- Encouraging clear desk posts on social media for the day
- Create a background playlist
- Have a pizza lunch in the office for all participating
- ‘Gamify’ – make a game out of it, measuring the amounts of recycling, time taken etc
- Encouraging home workers to join in
- Remind them about those 16 million keyboard microbes!
Finish off a tidy with a clean box of tissues, somewhere for face masks to rest, a bottle of hand sanitiser, a plant or anything else that makes the desk feel calming and welcoming, like scented candles or favourite photos. A workspace should feel owned, so make the most of it.
National Clean Your Desk Day can be the stepping stone to lasting good habits: good luck. Share your success on social media with #CleanOffYourDeskDay!
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