By Penketh Group Insights Team
25th June 2018
Earlier this year, we shared our advice on how to reduce clutter in the workplace. We suggested everything from streamlining your desk systems to elevating desktop screens to create the illusion of more space. All of those pieces of advice still very much apply and we will be touching upon some of them throughout the course of this blog post but this time, we want to take a more specific approach and focus on the open plan office.
Open workspaces are incredibly popular across a diverse array of sectors at the moment and many businesses are now making the transition into an open plan office. While open plan work environments come with many benefits, as with most things, it also has its downfalls. One of biggest issues highlighted by those who aren’t so enamoured with open settings is the rise in noise levels. This can, of course, be easily combated by implementing some simple office acoustic solutions but one bugbear with open plan workspaces that isn’t so easily controlled is tidiness and volume of clutter.
How to keep an open plan office tidy:
By their very nature, open plan offices lack personal space and spatial boundaries. You’ve no doubt stumbled across the sleek, sophisticated interior shots on Pinterest of minimal, open plan workspaces cluttered by nothing much more than some indoor plants and a chalkboard. They aren’t a true reflection of real life though; the reality is a busy workforce with lots to do and not much spare time left for tidying their workspace.
We’ve put together a handful of useful tips which will limit clutter in an open plan office and help staff stay on top of workspace organisation so they can think more clearly and perform as productively as possible. Research carried out recently by Cleaning Services Group found that those sitting in a clutter-free workspace were able to work for 7.5 minutes longer than those operating in a messy space so if you want to work smarter, it’s time you cleaned your act up!
Incorporate a WorkCafe in workspace design – Implementing a No Eating at the Desk Policy is a great way to ensure the office stays spick-and-span and will encourage people to step away from their desks to eat. Providing an appealing place for staff to go and eat their lunch, have a hot drink or simply rejuvenate for half an hour will further bolster these efforts.
Use a cable management system – Messy cables are one of the top culprits of office clutter and Spaghetti Junction has never been more noticeable than in an open plan workspace. Cable management accessories come as an addition on many office desks so we’d recommend these are added when it’s time to update your furniture. In the meantime, invest in some cable tidies to help keep wires in one place.
Consider a Managed Print Service – Although many businesses are now making moves towards becoming paper-free, paper clutter is still a big issue in many workspaces. A managed print solution will help turn paper-based processes into automated, digital systems and alleviate mess created by the storage of paper.
Make waste disposal easy – Even with a managed print solution in place, there will still be paper and packaging that takes up valuable space if not disposed of properly. Ensuring there are enough bins and recycling facilities around the workspace will encourage staff to stay tidy and help the business operate more eco-consciously in the process.
Provide staff with sufficient storage space – Quite often with open plan workspaces, it can be tempting to sacrifice sufficient storage for that trendy minimal aesthetic. However, staff do have personal belongings and they will need somewhere to put them during the day. Lockers are a great way to provide storage for staff without having to clutter desks and workspaces and will be particularly effective should you decide to implement a Clean Desk Policy in which desktops need to be cleared at the end of every working day.
Once you’ve got the workspace organised, it’s time to think about having a digital detox…
What is a digital detox?
All of the tips above are great ways of making your workspace look and feel much more organised which will in turn, contribute to a less cluttered open plan office. What you may not have considered yet though is the impact a digital detox can have on productivity levels and workplace wellbeing.
The phrase ‘digital detox’ is sometimes referred to as taking a break from social media and digital activity in order to boost mood and cognitive function. In this instance though, we’re talking about giving your computer desktop, email inbox and the number of apps on your smartphone a clear out in order to help you think more clearly and perform more efficiently at work.
Decluttering your desktop, organising your emails, deleting any unwanted subscriptions and getting rid of any redundant apps will reduce distraction and encourage a more coordinated and orderly mentality. By encouraging workers to take this attitude towards their own personal accounts, devices and workspace will hopefully inspire more pride and organisation in their wider surroundings, and result in a clutter-free office.