Is Your Messy Desk Costing You Money?

I’ve never been a big fan of a clean desk. I walk through a lot of offices and every time I see a really clean and organized desk it makes me wonder how busy that person is. Are they using valuable work time to clean their desk, or do they just not have much going on? It’s possible their desk is so clean because they’re ultra efficient and so productive that they have plenty of time leftover to clean their desk everyday.

My friends who used to work at Marion Merrell Dow tell me Mr. K had a strict clean desk policy. You could have a messy desk during the workday, but there couldn’t be one piece of paper on your desk when it was time to go home. Good thing they had lots of big file cabinets in Marion facilities.

Does a clean desk make you more productive?

According to a 2010 study by Brother International, messy desks and time spent looking for misplaced items costs corporate America $177 billion annually.

The estimate for all those minutes spent hunting for misplaced files and documents added up to 76 hours – or nearly two work weeks – a year.

These costs are also hitting employees’ pocketbooks. Nearly one third of office workers failed to get reimbursed for a business or travel expense because they lost a receipt according to the study.

The Brother International study based its estimates on interviews with 800 office workers and combined that data with current salary statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Over 65 % of survey respondents admitted their desks were unorganized. Organizational experts suggest organizing your work area a few minutes at a time spread out over several days or weeks. Wholesale cleaning sweeps are great, but they usually aren’t sustainable. If you want to get organized and stay organized, you have to make it a habit.

The key to keeping organized is making sure you have a place for each piece of paper. Without a place for every document, the random piling will continue according to professional organizer Beth Dargis. Visit Beth’s website for more great tips on getting organized.

Organizing your desk might not be your idea of a good time, but it just might be the fastest way to boost productivity. It seemed to work out pretty well for Mr. K.

So, how does your desk look? Email us an image of your desk and let us know how your organizational strategy is working.

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