Your messy desk could be holding you back. Nearly 30% of employers in a CareerBuilder survey released last week said that they were less likely to promote employees who have disorganized workspaces. And if you’re the boss with the cluttered desk, you’re setting a bad example for your staff.
How bad is the problem? A third of workers identify themselves as hoarders.
I admit that I have some packrat tendencies. When co-workers need a bit of information and I’m the one who can find it, that reinforces my habit of holding on to too many files for too long.
One of my favorite rules to combat office clutter is this: The person who creates a file is responsible for maintaining it. That means everyone doesn’t have to keep their own copies. Knowing that you can access a file if you need it eliminates the biggest culprit of office clutter: keeping documents “just in case” you need them later.
Six percent of workers in the survey said that they have documents that are more than a decade old. I wonder how often they actually refer to those documents, or if they even know what is in those files.
Digital hoarding is no better. It still saps resources unnecessarily, although the cost of a few gigabytes of digital storage is much less than the cost of paper file cabinets and the space to store them. However, if your electronic files are too large, you will waste time looking for documents.
Put your digital files to this test: Can you see all the files within a folder on one screen, without scrolling? If not, you’re either saving too much or not organizing the files well.
Of course, files aren’t the only cause of office clutter. I worked for one company where employees competed to bring back the tackiest snow globe or other tchotchke from their business trips.
What’s cluttering your workspace?