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Is office clutter affecting your mood?

Alexandria Joy - Friday, June 21, 2013

Trip hazards, dust, and cosy spots for spiders are not the only things that clutter creates in the workplace. Clutter at work, and at home, has a huge impact on your psyche. 

Cluttered workspace = cluttered mind

The chaotic assortment of waste, unused items, and important workplace tools of trade can make you feel overwhelmed, unable to cope, and resentful. More than just a mess, a cluttered workspace negatively affects worker productivity and creativity and it has been known to increase stress levels.

When the chaos reaches a certain level it’s not the mess that’s the problem, but the impact of the mess on the people living with it. Dr Olivia Wynne B Psych, PhD Psych (Science and Psychoneuroimmunology) explains research has revealed that clutter can adversely affect your mindset.“Our senses once stimulated with something familiar can trigger memories of past experiences. This includes feeling all the emotions attached to that memory,” Dr Wynne said. “If you’re office was once a neat and tidy haven, but is now a chaotic mess because your workload has increased, it’s likely you’ll always feel ‘busy’, behind and overwhelmed.”

  • Clutter makes you feel tired – a cluttered office is a physical and mental drain, hindering creativity and blocking your energy.
  • Clutter makes you feel hopeless – you’re probably too busy to file, pack up equipment, and get rid of stuff that you don’t use, and that’s why there is clutter. The problem is you’ll always feel overwhelmed and “busy” every time you step into that chaotic environment.
  • Clutter makes you feel out of control – too busy to keep a tidy workplace? A disorganised workplace reduces your productivity because it takes more time to find things or access items and equipment. When the clutter stops you from doing what you want to do, you have lost control.
  • Clutter affects your company culture – How you present (and setup) your workspace not only expresses some of your values and beliefs, but can either encourage or hinder communication and collaboration in the workplace.

On the flipside, a well organised workspace shows signs of pride and professionalism. It improves productivity and can even enhance creativity and communication.  

Not all clutter is bad however. Boost your mood by decorating your space with items you cherish such as a family photo or a trinket you bought while on holidays. Their presence, and your attachment to them, will help you to feel at home, relaxed, and inspired.

Feeling drained and uninspired? Is it time to declutter your workspace? 

What does your desk say about you?

Here at UQ Power, we visit a lot of organisations and we see a lot of desks. We can usually tell straight away what the appearance of a desk says about the desk owner and the company culture of the organisation.

In our Desk a Day Challenge we analyse the desks of our readers. We’ve seen some wide-ranging examples of office spaces – from the minimalistic look with barely a pen out of place, to the disorganised and cluttered.

We know everyone prefers to work in different ways, and that ‘having a tidy desk’ can be interpreted differently depending on your propensity for clutter. However the environment of an office is a critical factor to successfully building trust, collaboration and communication in a workplace. What does your desk say about how you and your business operates?

Send in a photo to us at UQ Power and we will analyse what is says about your company culture. 



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Comments

Mary Ellen Miller commented on 25-Jun-2013 11:59 PM
Thanks Heidi. You are so right that I feel more efficient when my office is clean. Probably would be best to schedule time weekly to do that.
Tiffany deSilva commented on 26-Jun-2013 03:24 AM
I totally agree with this. I can't concentrate with clutter around, it makes me anxious and unfocused. I definitely need a tidy space to be productive and pleasant. :-) I used to be a professional organizer and productivity coach and it really is amazing how much time the average person wastes on looking for things because of disorganization and clutter.
Carrie Greene commented on 28-Jun-2013 11:48 AM
One thing I often share with my clients is that their environment is a reflection of what's going on in their minds. LOVE the article Heidi...thank you!
Sue Painter commented on 29-Jun-2013 06:04 AM
Yeah, been doing a lot better about the clutter factor. It adds up fast, doesn't it??? I think it is a subtle energy drain.
Bill Painter commented on 29-Jun-2013 06:24 AM
I tend toward the messy side, but don't tolerate it as much as i used to.
Trudy Scott commented on 29-Jun-2013 12:05 PM
Excellent topic and so true! all that clutter is really draining and does affect our moods.

Sometimes people have clutter and mess because they are depressed or can't focus so addressing underlying issues can often help with getting the clutter cleaned up!
The Greenlight Coach commented on 30-Jun-2013 10:44 PM
I know this to be true. I have to make sure everything is neat around me before I can do anything creative.
Mira commented on 01-Jul-2013 08:49 AM
I can attest to this. We're in the middle of a move and it can get very tiring at times to sort through all of the clutter. It's like it clogs your brain cells after a certain point. I need to remember to take breaks and stay focused on the fact that ultimately I am uncluttering by doing this.
Mitch Tublin commented on 01-Jul-2013 09:16 PM
Clutter in the mind is an issue as well.
Technology and never turning it off creates clutter on the brain. We all need to turn off
all of our devices for a few days every once in awhile.

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