Away From The Dustbin Office

By Ikechukwu Chukwubuike.


“Our surroundings directly affect our health and wellness, considering that we spend 40 or more hours on the job weekly. Creating an inspiring environment for well-being in our working space is crucial to living a long and meaningful life.” Dr. Maoshing Ni

All over the world, office space is becoming more expensive and smaller. The average space per square meter/person continues to decrease. To fight the claustrophobic tendencies this might lead to, a lot of organisations are adopting the open-plan form of the office accommodation.

But even with this, space is at a premium. Personnel have to increasingly manage smaller spaces and the need to evolve a healthy and uncluttered work environment has become very important for a lot of organizations.

Away From The Dustbin Office
    Messy and Cluttered Office Desk

    The ability to create a breezy, bright and beautiful work space out of small spaces is a skill that workers should learn. There is also the need to allow each person some personal space in an open-plan environment.

    Where this is not done, it could lead to a lot of friction that can adversely affect productivity while creating a hostile work environment. At the heart of this problem is clutter; a lot of people over time clutter their work spaces so much so that they turn their offices into virtual trash bins.

    In the history classes of the past, in one of the kingdoms of the defunct West Africa empires, a man’s wealth was represented by how baggy his clothes where. A few years back it used to be a common site to walk into an office and be confronted by a wall of files, booklets, papers and anything that may be found on an office desk.

    Away From The Dustbin Office
      Uncluttered Office Desk

      In those days one would see a very harassed-looking officer barely managing to appear from behind this wall; the pillars supporting this wall where usually two very heavy-laden trays designated in-and-out trays. I got the impression then that the larger this wall, the more important the officer behind it and also the more work the person would be doing.

      I don’t know how true these assumptions where, but now I know what such a situation can do to one. Most people involved in white collar jobs have a desk with drawers and some space to work in. Others may have filing cabinet or some cupboard or other storage furniture. But if you look around, you would see that how individuals use these spaces always differ.

      The benefits of having an organized working environment are many. But above all, it starts with giving you peace of mind. Here are some simple steps you can follow in order to achieve an uncluttered work environment:

      Away From The Dustbin Office
        Messy Desk Destroying Productivity

        Keep your Desk clear of Everything

        You may ask; ‘but is that not the essence of all we are talking about?’ Yes, it is, but not all. What I am asking is that you form this as a habit. Always put away anything which you do not need. You may put it in your drawer or your brief case, but just put it away.

        Have a Space for Everything

        Some people may say; how is this possible when the space is not enough? Enough for what? What are you going to throw away and what is staying? If it is worth keeping then create a space for it.

        Learn to Shred Paper

        And you must have a shredder in your office to cultivate this habit. The primary shredders are your hands. When you do not need the paper anymore and you cannot file it away, please shred or just tear to pieces.

        The important of this advice is not just in maintaining an orderly work environment, it is also in being discrete in your duties. I am sure you do not wish to buy groundnuts one day from the street vendor only to realize that it is wrapped in a contract paper from your office.

        Do not Procrastinate

        Procrastination is the biggest culprit in most clutter situations. A lot of us will refuse to do what we have to do now, but will ‘keep it in view’ and not get done. Please, do what needs to be done now. As Nike the sportswear people will say, ‘just do it’. When you cultivate the habit of getting your work done, then your anxiety level also reduces.

        Age your Pending Documents

        It is a fact that some percentage of your work may be delayed by circumstances outside your control. When that happens, please age all your pending documents. If you do not have a computerized system that automatically puts a time stamp on documents, you can use stick-it notes to put dates on paper. That way you will be able to see the date on which an item is presented once you look at it. This helps create a sense of urgency and helps you get work done.

        Learn to Delegate

        A lot of people do not understand that delegating some of your work is a crucial skill that is learnt and developed over time. Not knowing how to delegate causes people to always feel tired and overworked and may ultimately lead to burn out.

        Some people are just afraid to delegate because they do not trust that another person can get it exactly as they do. They may be right, but were they born with the work? Others would equally, given time, be able to do the work.

        Have Only one Document on your Desk at any Time

        I do not mean just one piece of paper because that may be very difficult. Rather I am talking about related issues. Which ever document you have open must be part of an immediately on-going work process. When this is not the case for any particular document, close it and put it away.

        Have a Purge from Time to Time

        Even after doing all the above, there would still be some clutter. Every month take out time to go through your work space to remove anything you no longer need. Just try it at the end of this month and you will be amazed at the amount of junk one gathers in just the space of one month.

        Use a Desk Diary

        A lot of people think that because of the advent of advanced mobile phones and electronic organizers there is no longer a need for a single diary. This is not true. The absence of a desk diary is the reason for all those small pieces of paper with addresses and telephone numbers, which we find so difficult to throw away.

        When a contact is given to us, it is either as a business card or some information which we record on scrap paper. The intention is always to feed it into the mobile phone later, but somehow it never gets done.

        This is largely because of the laziness caused by the cumbersomeness of typing on a phone keypad. But it is so much easier to simply write such sundry information in a multipurpose desk Diary and rid your life of trash.

        Show some Consideration for your Colleagues

        This is very important; have a physiological view of the space that you should be entitled to in the office and please make sure that you allow some neutral ground between you and the next person. There should always be some grounds for maneuver so that people will not trip on things.

        Work when you Work

        Work piles up for a lot of us because we do not really work when we are at work. We spend all our time on low task jobs that will have no significant effect on the job at hand. I am saying that we should avoid time wasting in all its ramifications. A lot of times we just waste time while convincing ourselves that we are at work.

        The tips above will not automatically create an efficient work space. What will create it will be habit formed over time by continuous effort to adhere to these tips. So, please start now and enjoy a more stress-free working life




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