Office clutter can have a negative impact on your small business as a whole. A disorganized desk or conference room can prevent employees from reaching peak productivity levels and put forth a negative image of your company.

Here are six reasons why you should encourage your employees to maintain clean workspaces:

1. Increase Productivity

When your employees don't have a system in place to keep their papers organized, they can waste valuable time sifting through their mess to try to find a particular document. This time could be better spent on core business activities, such as serving customers. In certain extreme cases, an employee's cluttered work area may even cause him or her to lose an important document altogether, which could directly impact customer service and your bottom line. By establishing expectations for clean workspaces, you can help your team increase their overall productivity.

2. Reduce Workplace Stress

When your employee has a messy desk, he or she may get stressed out trying to determine the location of yesterday's invoices or last week's unsigned contracts. This disorganized atmosphere can make it increasingly difficult for an employee to plan ahead or set priorities.

3. Improve Their Professional Image

A messy, disorganized workspace may lead an employee's peers and colleagues to make negative assumptions about his or her level of professionalism. On the other hand, a clean, organized workspace may suggest that the employee has strong organizational skills, takes their work seriously and pays attention to detail.

4. Improve the Company's Image Among Business Partners and Customers

If your office is full of messy workspaces, any visiting business partners and customers may assume the worst. Perhaps they'll think that you're not fully in control of your business or they may assume that all of your employees are too overworked and stressed out to focus on keeping the surrounding area tidy. In many ways, a cluttered, disorganized office may deter customers from engaging in business with the company, which can have a negative impact on your company's bottom line.

5. Establish an Environment of Cleanliness

If you allow a few cluttered work spaces to slide through without taking any action, you can unknowingly create an environment in which this behavior is seen as acceptable, and therefore becomes increasingly commonplace. As such, it can't hurt to encourage some of the worst offenders to take a few minutes out of their day to clean up a bit.

6. Security

Clean workspaces can also help you protect your business by helping to ensure that confidential documents are not left lying around. To that end, many businesses have implemented a clean desk policy, which specifies how employees should leave their workspaces when they leave for the day. A clean desk policy usually requires employees to clear their desk of all papers (including post-it notes), USB sticks, business cards and other similar collateral and to make sure that any sensitive documents are appropriately stored in a locked cabinet.

If you decide to implement a clean desk policy at your business, be sure to put the policy in writing and clearly explain what actions employees are expected to take each day, how the policy will be monitored, and what the consequences will be for noncompliance with the policy. Have your employees acknowledge that they have reviewed, understand and acknowledge these policies.

To help your employees comply, you should provide access to secure storage, so employees have somewhere to put their papers, and develop a system for secure document disposal, such as providing access to a paper shredder. You might also consider leaving friendly reminders about the policy in common areas of the office.

When you do everything in your power to encourage your employees to establish and maintain clean workspaces, you can take an important step toward increasing productivity and security while improving your overall business image to outside parties.

Tags: Employee Well-Being Workplace Safety