The Hidden Hazards of a Messy Desk
Updated: 2021-10-19
  • The_Hidden_Hazards_of_a_Messy_Desk

Your workspace is a reflection of professional self in the office, and a messy desk can make a poor impression on clients and coworkers alike. In fact, around two-thirds of UK workers claim to get annoyed when a fellow employee has a cluttered space. A messy desk can do more than just spark the ire of your coworkers, however. Tangled wires, loose papers, and old food sitting around your space can pose a danger to your very wellbeing. Here are some of the main reasons that it’s important to keep your workspace clean and tidy on a day-to-day basis.

Fire Risk

With clutter sitting around on your desk, it’s more likely that something accidentally catches on fire due to factors such as exposed wiring or concentrated sunlight. Paper, clothing, and rubbish are all flammable items commonly found in office spaces. What’s more, a disorganised space at work encourages fire to spread quickly, which can overwhelm a building’s fire safety or sprinkler system.

If a fire does break out, it’s much more difficult to navigate your way out of a clean workspace. With office clutter sitting around, you may find windows, doors, and even fire exits blocked when you need them the most. You also risk getting injured or trapped by falling items.

Mould Spores

Whether you leave old snacks on or in your desk, eventually they're likely to attract mould. Once mould starts growing on food, it releases spores into the air, which can irritate people with sensitive respiratory systems or allergies. To maintain air quality, it's vital that workers throw away or compost all food items in a timely manner.

Loss of Productivity

While a dip in productivity may not be an immediate threat to your health, there can be long-term consequences on your mental wellbeing. Clutter and disorganisation can make it difficult to accomplish even the simplest of tasks. For example, the average person wastes over four hours in a workweek just searching for papers. It can also be easy to get distracted in a messy environment, which can also affect your performance. The stress of keeping on top of your workload can lead to both physical and mental health issues later on down the line, including anxiety, depression, and even an increased risk of cardiac problems and stroke.

A messy desk can pose a health hazard to you and everyone else in your office, reducing productivity while increasing stress. More clutter increases the risk of a fire breaking out while also making evacuation more difficult, and old food leftover from snacks or lunchtime can impact air quality. It’s crucial that each worker make an effort to keep their workspace clean for the common health and wellbeing of everyone in the office.

Cassandra Willis

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