Today is National Clean Off Your Desk Day.

The day promotes a way to start the New Year with a clean slate, so to speak. A clean workspace improves productivity, helps us focus and adds to the cleanliness of the workplace, which is near and dear to the hearts of us at Walz Enterprises.

Science backs this up. In a fascinating study published in the Harvard Business Review, desktop clutter is associated with lower work output, poorer mental health, and the eating of more junk food. Another scientific study associates desktop clutter at work with procrastination or poor decision-making.

Employers are jumping on board

Given the impact of a messy desk on workers, employers are seeking to make a clean desk more than a one-day goal.

Many employers are adding a “Clean Desk Policy” to their employee handbook. This CDP, as it is called, requires employees to basically clear their desk at the end of each workday. National Clean Off Your Desk Day is a perfect time to either implement the policy or remind employees about it.

CDPs have become more common as the structure of the workplace evolves. Employers are offering fewer dedicated offices and more shared workspaces, where employees “plug and play.” Digital nomads, as these partially remote employees are called, have less of a personal attachment to their in-office workspace. Everything they need is stored in their computer, on their computer desktop or in electronic notes.

Employers have other motivations for CDP policies:

  • Offices without clutter stay cleaner and spread fewer germs and disease.
  • Bare desks are easier for commercial office cleaners to clean and sanitize.
  • Important papers that would jeopardize data security regulations are not left out for anyone to see.
  • Customers have a more positive impression of the company.

Each employee has a role to play in “Clean Desk Day”

Here’s how we encourage you to celebrate National Clean Off Your Desk Day—this January and, really, at least weekly throughout the year.

  1. Remove everything from your desktop, placing it in the box. As you do this, toss papers or files, sticky notes, dead or dying plants, old calendars and anything else you don’t need immediately to do your job.
  2. Grab some cleaning supplies and wipe off the desktop and your work area. Start with a cleaner/disinfectant. Use a hand vacuum to remove dust and cobwebs from around the desk.
  3. Shred sensitive documents at the company shredder or place them in document disposal containers.
  4. Place necessary desktop items back on the clean desk. Be selective. If in doubt, toss the item or bring it home.

Clutter is stubborn. It seems to creep back into our lives every day. At Walz Enterprises, we encourage you to take up this habit of cleaning your desk at least once a week, perhaps every Friday. Not only will this new habit improve your work performance, but it may reduce stress. The old saying that a cluttered life leads to a cluttered mind turns out to be true!