Be A Good Colleague And Clean Your Desk!

For most people, their workspace is their own personal domain. When work tends to pile up, it leads to documents stacked up in one corner of the desk and more papers scattered amongst family photos and a half-eaten bar of chocolate. But there’s a method to the madness, right?

While some claim that a dis­or­gan­ised desks can make peo­ple more cre­ative, of­fice coaches in Ger­many say tidy desks makes for eas­ier han­dovers and faster work.

A so-called Clean Desk Policy requires all doc­u­ments are or­dered and put away each night to leave an empty desk.

According to an office organisation coach, the clear advantage to this is not wasting any time to search for things. This also makes things easier for col­leagues take on a work­load when someone is sick.

Dis­or­gan­ised desks is a matter of self-or­gan­i­sa­tion. You put the doc­u­ment to one side, cre­at­ing one pile, then be­fore you know it there’s a sec­ond.

Even though lots of em­ploy­ees claim there’s an or­der to it, that is no way to or­gan­ise a work space. Those who want an or­gan­ised and bare desk should first carry out a thor­ough clean-out.

Then you need to de­velop a sys­tem. In in­di­vid­ual com­pa­nies peo­ple should work on it to­gether – for it to work longterm bosses have to con­vince their teams that it makes sense.

If em­ploy­ees are only half-hearted when it comes to the new sys­tem, there’s a dan­ger that the prob­lem will simply man­i­fest it­self else­where.

This means that even though, the desk is clear, the chaos might be hid­ing in a drawer.

A clear struc­ture with a bare sur­face area does have some ad­van­tages: Ex­per­i­ments show that lots of stim­uli at work lead to un­usual solutions while others claim that a dis­or­gan­ised desks make peo­ple more cre­ative.

But Siegfried Preiser, a pro­fes­sor at Berlin Psy­cho­log­i­cal Uni­ver­sity, says that the ef­fect is lim­ited. “You can create a stim­u­lat­ing work environment with­out a desk cov­ered in rub­bish,” he says.

Em­ploy­ees can keep post­cards, news­pa­pers and pic­tures in a drawer if they want to stim­u­late their creativ­ity, he adds. A view from a win­dow can also help the mind move in un­con­ven­tional ways.

“What’s im­por­tant is the va­ri­ety of in­for­ma­tion, sen­sory in­put and mem­o­ries that stim­u­late lots of ar­eas of the brain to con­nect with each other and en­able new thought con­stel­la­tions,” says Preiser.

So it’s also im­por­tant to give em­ploy­ees the space to or­gan­ise their own work flows.

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