Spring Cleaning For The Office

“Happy Chairs.” Photograph by Lars Plougmann. From the Flickr Creative Commons.

If you are employed full-time outside of the home, your workplace may be more of a home to you than your house. While it is pretty standard that each spring we realize that our home life could use a little freshening up, rarely do we think about doing the same thing for our work life.

Sometimes, even when an employee wants to do a little “spring cleaning,” there simply isn’t time. Work responsibilities can be so overwhelming that it is hard to find time to eat lunch or use the restroom! If you manage to find time, you might bump up against office politics with your ideas for change or lack funding approval to make the changes you want.

A small change, however, can do a lot to boost your energy at work and stimulate your productivity and morale. What are some small, quick “spring cleaning” changes you might try at the office?

  1. Bring a bottle of disinfecting solution (Lysol, bleach spray, etc.) or sanitizing wipes and wipe down your phone, keyboard, mouse, laptop, cell phone, door knob, drawer pulls, and other surfaces you are touching all the time. It will make the surfaces look “new” and feel like a small treat, plus it protects you from pesky springtime viruses.
  2. An incredible amount of dust tends to accumulate in offices, particularly if you push a lot of paper. Dusting your desk is a really nice treat. If your desk is buried in paper, either dust around the piles or move them temporarily and put them back. If you are super-motivated, dust the other flat surfaces like the tops of bookcases, door frames and window sills.
  3. Move some aspect of your office furniture or technology for a fresh change of perspective. You will be amazed at how something as simple as moving a computer monitor or telephone from one side of a desk to the other makes you react to your office a little differently and perks you up a bit.
  4. Update personal photographs on your desk, walls or desktop image. I attended a book signing a few years back given by Cynthia Rowley and Ilene Rosenzweig for their “Swell” lifestyle books and one great tip they gave was to make sure that your office always had reminders in it of why you are working so hard.
  5. Try to purge at least one recurring task from your to do list by thinking of someone else in your office who you could train to do it, a technological solution that lessens the amount of time needed for that task or a process change that eliminates the need for that task.
  6. Experiment with a new time management or organizational technique. You might try Julie Morgenstern’s “Never Check E-mail in the Morning” approach and choose to work your first hour on pending projects or some of her other tips on to-do lists.   If you work with a lot of deadlines, you might set up a tickler file system.  You might download an iPhone app appropriate for your industry or set up Google Reader to track blogs you read regularly.
  7. Stage an office yard sale/freecycle event encouraging people to declutter their offices. Collect donations and host a lunch party to let people “shop” from the collection. Donate or trash any unclaimed items.

For fun, below are great examples of real cubicles showing the amount of work and “stuff” the average office worker contends with.  I love how some of the occupants match creativity with business.

“One of the most fun cubicles I have ever seen. Even puts mine to sh ame.” Photo by jenny8lee. From the Flickr Creative Commons.

Have a great weekend!