6 Reasons to Keep Your Desk Clean

If you want to start of the year with a clean slate, here's an idea: start with your desk. A cleaner desk can lead to a healthier, happier, and even wealthier you.

Putting aside an hour or two to reach the bottom of your desk is psychologically and financially rewarding. So get out those antibacterial wipes and the extra-strong trash bags, but first read our 6 reasons why a clean desk can improve your life...maybe even add some surprising wealth to it, too!

1. You'll save on sick days

Studies have shown that the average desk harbors 400 times more bacteria than the average toilet seat. Gross!

And the desk isn’t the only spot to dig up dirt in the office. Phones, water fountains, microwave door handles, and keyboards are also hospitable to germs.

Considering that you spend eight hours a day at your desk and, worse yet, might eat your lunch there, you're going to be a walking germ magnet by the time you pack up and head home.

So disinfect, disinfect, disinfect your office space. Your chances of staying healthy will increase, you'll bring fewer bugs home to the family, and you'll avoid taking so many sick days.

2. You'll have more productive work days

The average office employee spends a mind-boggling 1.5 hours every day looking for stuff. That translates to six weeks per year! Imagine how many tasks you could accomplish and the frustration you could avoid by having a place for everything and everything in its place.

Managers aren’t immune. They waste 150 hours a year — almost an entire work month — searching for lost information. For someone earning $50,000, that loss adds up to $3,842 per year.

Keeping your desk tidy makes you a more focused, less frazzled employee.

3. You'll Improve office security

Have you ever jotted down a password on a piece of paper, with every intent of shredding it later, only to misplace the paper among the piles of other papers on your desk?

That can harm office security, not to mention that you shouldn't have written the password down on a piece of paper to begin with! So can leaving notes from a confidential company meeting on your desk in full view.

Careless actions like this occur when you don’t have a grasp of where things belong, on your desk in particular and in your office overall.

Security breaches cause devastating financial hardships for companies. Being the cause of one won't be a good look for you. So get your passwords locked up safely far away from prying eyes, and set up a system to store all of your paperwork, whether confidential or just informational, securely.

4. You could receive a better job review

Annual job evaluations, of course, reflect a number of factors. A clean desk can be one of the positive aspects.

People who have messy and disorganized desks are viewed as less conscientious, less agreeable, and more neurotic than those with spotless workspaces.

In the workplace, making a good impression matters and those piles on your desk aren’t doing you favors. Take some time to neaten up your desk to fatten up your next raise. 

5. You'll reduce work stress

Living with clutter increases a stress hormone called cortisol. Over time, an excess of cortisol in the body can lead to anxiety and depression, among other unpleasant conditions.

Work stress is a serious and common issue. Eighty-three percent of American workers report they suffer from work-related stress, which causes a loss of up to $300 billion yearly to American businesses.

Stress also causes about one million workers to miss work every day.

A messy desk, of course, is not the only reason people suffer from workplace stress. But it can be one aggravating factor, and unlike those sudden and unproductive meetings or unreasonable deadlines, it's one stressor you can and should control.

6. You could find some surprises in the clutter

OK, the odds are pretty low — in fact, just about zero — that you'll find enough cash for next month’s mortgage payment nestled in your pencil holder.

But the last time I did a thorough desk cleaning, I found a handful of random coins under my desk calendar and in the back of my top drawer. And, for reasons not fully understood and perhaps better not explored, I also found a stray dollar bill in one of my file folders.

Bottom line: You never know what you will find. So take those stray coins you've found and buy yourself a coffee to celebrate your new (and permanent, we hope!) membership into the clean desk club.

You need to understand what it means to be financially healthy – which is so much more than the one score everyone asks you about today – your credit score. True financial health is based on four key components: Spend, Save, Borrow, and Plan. On Tuesday, February 4, 2020 from 12:00 - 1:00 p.m. EST we'll be hosting a free webinar, Are You Financially Healthy? The session will also offer you a chance to confidentially determine your own Financial Health Score and show you the steps you can take to improve that score. Sign up here.

Register for the free webinar today!

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About Author

Sandra Quadros Bowles
Sandra Quadros Bowles

Sandy Quadros Bowles is a veteran journalist who has received local, state, and national journalism awards. A resident of New Bedford, MA, she is an animal enthusiast, an avid reader, and an enthusiastic traveler.

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