It’s a belief held by many in business: if your desk is full of clutter and you can’t see through the post-its, notepads and print outs, your levels of productivity must be low.
Well now it’s time to rethink that stance, because a new sturvey of 1,500 small business owners by Yell Business has revealed that there is absolutely no relation between clutter and a lack of productivity. With the majority of successful, profit making small business owners in the UK – 94 per cent to be exact – admitting to having a desk that is ‘extremely cluttered’.
With positive profit being the greatest possible sign of productivity in business, it’s safe to say that a cluttered desk should no longer be a worry. It should however still be a consideration, because having to search through needless notes to find something important is helping nobody. With that in mind, Yell Business enlisted the advice of some workplace interior design experts, on how to manage clutter and get maximum output from your day of work.
Important items must be kept at arm’s reach
Gareth Jones, Commercial Manager at Kit Out My Office said: “It comes down to the definition of clutter. As the findings show, many people admit that their desk is cluttered, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t all necessary to their job. De-cluttering could mean that you’re moving important items out of arms-reach that help you in your daily routine, so if you do de-clutter, make sure it is things that you don’t use regularly.”
A little organisation never hurt anyone
Georgina Burnett, Interiors Coach & Vlogger at http://www.georginaburnett.com/propertyporn/ said: “Mess and clutter can be one of the biggest contributors to procrastination, which in turn tends to stunt productivity. There is a big difference though between prioritising an immaculate desk and just keeping it tidy enough to get cracking on the task in hand - and find the necessary files or tools!
One of the habits of successful people is that they can see beyond what is in front of them and not be bogged down by the daily chores that distract others.
If you can find a happy medium though, whereby you keep on top of what's in front of you so that it's at least an organised chaos, this is likely to make you more effective and also reduce stress levels in the long term.
Trade the trash for inspiration
Daniel Walsh, Marketing Manager of Hunts Office said: “Eliminate visual clutter & unnecessary items - do you really need that hole punch or pen holder? Not only does a messy desk impede on your productivity, it also impacts on your fellow colleague's perception of you.
Embrace a minimalist workspace and reap the benefits. That said, do enrich your workspace with art or an organic element to empower your working environment.”
This being an approach also echoed by Emma Brindley, Resident Group Interior Designer at Redrow Homes, as she offers some tips on how to go about adding to your office to bring some more inspiration and management to the clutter:
“Consider your wall space and really think about what you need. If you are from a creative background, you are more likely to need to display work. Frame large cork boards and chalk boards with copper, for a contemporary way to keep your work in order as well as having that all important inspiration around you”.
The home office is even more important
The Yell study didn’t only debunk the link between desk clutter and productivity, but also confirmed the popularity of the home office, and its own relation to productivity. With exactly half of small business owners in the UK stating that they spend the majority of their working life, working from home. 49% confirming that their home is the working environment they feel most productive in.
With that in mind, the home office could prove to be an even more important space, where the overspill of work based clutter needs to be kept at bay so it doesn’t impede on your home life. Separation between the two is paramount, and Emma Brindley cites an ordered and inspirational home office as the key to success.
"The home office or ‘study’ as it is traditionally referred to, can be hard to get right. The ability to immerse yourself back into the comfort of your home life in a couple of steps means the average home-based employee requires a lot of self-discipline and motivation. But when the balance is right the results can be profound – less stress from the commercial office, difficult colleagues and poor resources often means a more productive work day.
“Make sure you have plenty of storage - wire baskets and weathered wooden crates are always a great industrial inspired addition the office and will stop any ‘clutter’ overflowing outside of the home office.
Finally, make sure you finish off your design with the things that matter most, a small wall gallery of family and friends will guarantee to brighten your day should the work load prove heavy.”