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Employees Judged By Office Cleanliness

Messy desk piled with papers Photo by Mrbhughes for Dreamstime.com

Employees wanting to make a good impression on their peers should do some spring cleaning around the office, new research shows.

A survey by temporary staffing firm Adecco revealed that nearly 60 percent of U.S employees judgeco-workers on how clean or dirty they keep their work space. More than 40 percent have judged their colleagues more negatively if their work space is messy, while 45 percent have looked at them in a more positive light if their personal area is tidy.

And it's not just aesthetic: Nearly three-quarters of those surveyed agree employees are most productive when their desk is clean.

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While there are many reasons for a disorganized office or cubicle, 42 percent of those surveyed attribute the mess to being too busy, and a third blame it on laziness.

On the flip side, those who keep their space clean believe they should be rewarded for the effort. Nearly 40 percent of U.S. workers think their performance evaluation should be tied to their work space tidiness, while more than a quarter think employees should be given a bonus for keeping a clean office.

In honor of the first day of spring, Adecco offers employees three tips for making the office spic and span.  

  • Make an appointment with Mr. Clean:  Set a recurring calendar reminder to tidy up your work space for 15 minutes weekly.  Use that time to throw out or file old papers and organize your desk. 
  • Don’t quit your day job…disinfect it:  Buy a can of disinfecting wipes and give your desk, phone, keyboard and monitor a quick wipe once a week.  In the process, you’ll be forced to tidy up loose papers and food wrappers lingering around your desk.
  • The devil is in the details: Avoid that common cleanliness confusion by finding or creating space for your papers, books and files. And don't forget about what’s hanging on your walls. Crooked pictures and corkboards cluttered with papers give the appearance of a messy office even if your desk is spotless.

The study was based on surveys of more than 1,000 U.S. employees.

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based freelance business and technology writer who has worked in public relations and spent 10 years as a newspaper reporter. You can reach him at chadgbrooks@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter @cbrooks76.

Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based writer and editor with nearly 20 years in media. A 1998 journalism graduate of Indiana University, Chad began his career with Business News Daily in 2011 as a freelance writer. In 2014, he joined the staff full time as a senior writer. Before Business News Daily, Chad spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Chad has also worked on the other side of the media industry, promoting small businesses throughout the United States for two years in a public relations role. His first book, How to Start a Home-Based App Development Business, was published in 2014. He lives with his wife and daughter in the Chicago suburbs.