Do you have piles of papers on your desk at work? How do you think this mess is impacting your career? In a recent CareerBuilder study about office hoarding, 2,662 hiring managers and 4,912 workers were surveyed. The study revealed the following reasons to organize your workstation:
- Your stuff could be weighing down your productivity. One-third of workers said they tend to be hoarders. Thirty-eight percent of workers say that between 50 and 100 percent of their desk is covered with work and other materials, while 16 percent of workers said 75 percent or more of their desk is covered. Do you think these messy desks are helping or hurting their productivity in the office?
- You’re less likely to receive a promotion. Twenty-eight percent of employers say they are less likely to promote someone who has a disorganized or messy workspace.
- An employer’s perception of you could be affected. Nearly two in five employers say piles of paper covering a desk negatively impacted their perception of that person. Twenty-seven percent feel that person is disorganized; 17 percent sense he is just messy.
If you think you might be an office hoarder, or just need some help organizing at the office, here are a few ways to organize your workstation:
Create a filing system. Whether you have paper or computer documents, a good filing system can help avoid a cluttered desk or desktop. First, create separate folders for different needs. For example, if you work with clients, give each one his own folder. That way, when you go to look for important documents, you know exactly where they should be.
Get rid of things you no longer need. Recycle old papers, throw away trash, and put everything away in its proper place. If you only need one or two pens for everyday use, donate the rest to your office supply room or to a co-worker.
Focus on one thing at a time. When you’re multitasking, it’s easy to let things get out of hand and neglect cleaning your workspace. To avoid this, set aside blocks of time for each project and focus on the task at hand. If you don’t finish with it, put away the documents in their proper place and come back to the task later.
Keep things you use every day within reach. You might jot down notes on a notepad, have a special pen you always use, or something similar—but make sure it’s not tucked away in a bottom drawer that you have to dig through to find it.
What other tips do you have for staying organized at work?
Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing consultancy for organizations with products that target job seekers and employers. She is also the author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships (2011) and #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010) and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.