How tidy do you keep your workspace or desk? Do you keep everything organised in its assigned place, or do you prefer a more casual approach? As HR Consultants in Cheshire, we thought it would be interesting to understand the pluses and minuses associated with your personal working space. What does your desk say about you and is your tidiness affecting your productivity?

Comfort & Identity:

We believe that a work desk should be a very personal place, due to the amount of time spent there. It makes sense to personalise the space to specific preferences. Photographs of family or friends are reminders of memories outside of work; enforcing a good work/life balance; whilst personal items can boost mental health. Although we do appreciate that this can be more difficult if you operate a ‘hot desk’ arrangement.

Whilst employees must maintain a level of cleanliness and professionalism; we believe it is important to try not to overly control your employees’ work area. As HR Consultants, we strongly enforce acceptance in the workplace; and discrimination against someone due to how they keep their personal workspace can be comparable to judging someone based on their looks or interests.

Triple Three Solutions suggests keeping a basic guideline for workplace tidiness, to ensure professionalism whilst allowing your employees freedom of expression.

Productivity:

It is often said that a tidy home makes for a tidy mind; but can the same be said for your place of work? Does a cluttered desk really have a negative effect on productivity and does an organised desk equal an organised employee?

On the contrary, Tim Hartford, author of ‘Messy – How to be creative and resilient in a tidy-minded world’, believes that those with unorganised desks may be the most productive.

“There are two strategies: piling up pieces of paper or filing everything away,” he told Business Insider. “You might think that filers are going to be more productive than pilers, but pilers actually tend to get more done.”

Harford said that some people might file stuff away prematurely because they “feel obliged to tidy up” their desk. “On the other hand, when everything is on the desk it is perfectly comprehensible and in easy reach.” businessinsider.com

This demonstrates that over-tidying could disrupt the working day. It is best to keep everything you need as close to you as possible. Whether this means strung across your desk or kept neatly in draws; whatever works best for each specific person.

Desk Feng Shui:

In favour of the argument that a desk or workspace really does affect your staff’s productivity and state of mind; as HR Consultants we would like to explore the idea of desk Feng Shui.

Feng Shui is the ancient Chinese philosophy that the environment directly affects those nearby; emotionally or otherwise. Nowadays, many adopt this theory to organise their desks at work. Aspects such as colour, shape and position all play a part in desk Feng Shui, however, it is what is sitting on your desk that we here at Triple Three Solutions want to take a closer look at.

Whilst perhaps not for everyone, this approach may be a way to keep more cluttered workspaces personalised yet promoting productivity and good mental health. Even small aspects of this could be adapted to your employee’s workspace – so why not teach them about it?

‘It goes without saying that a constantly cluttered desk is really bad Feng Shui. Of course, it all depends on your definition of clutter!’ thespruce.com

Bagua Map:

According to the Feng Shui Bagua map taken from greatist.com, there are nine main categories to bear in mind if applying Feng Shui to your desk;

  • Prosperity – Top Left: This is the perfect place for a plant or a valuable item such as your computer.
  • Reputation – Top Centre: Something that motivates you should go here, perhaps an award you have received or your business cards.
  • Love – Top Right: Photographs of loved ones or something you cherish would be ideal.
  • Family – Middle Left: The perfect place for your family photograph.
  • Health – Middle Centre: This area represents health, it is best to keep this space as clear and clean as possible.
  • Creativity – Middle Right: Something to inspire and boost your creativity such as artwork that you love.
  • Wisdom – Bottom Left: Reference books or journals are kept close to hand in this area.
  • Career – Bottom Centre: Another space to keep clean and as free of clutter as possible – this is your main working area.
  • Travel – Bottom Right: We all need a holiday once in a while, so why not use this space for a photo of your dream holiday destination? The perfect motivation to work hard.

What does Triple Three Solutions think?

Overall, it is difficult to derive what the true effect of tidiness has on staff productivity. Whilst desk space is a part of the work environment and must maintain a certain professional standard, it is also an incredibly personal space that may affect different people in different ways.

Our HR Consultants in Cheshire believe in finding balance in business needs and personal preference. We can help your company to create an environment that promotes productivity and that your staff spending time in.

To learn more about staff productivity in relation to their environment and how Triple Three Solutions can help; contact us on 0333 050 3330 or via email at lisa@triplethreesolutions.co.uk.