The new year is an ideal time to embrace fresh starts and clean slates. So why not take that approach to the office, too—specifically to your desk? Not only can the span of a year build up clutter at your desk, it may also bring along plenty of germs. In fact, one study found that desk surfaces average a whopping 100 times more bacteria than a kitchen table and 400 times more bacteria than a toilet seat. Now that’s scary.
Set yourself up for success in the new year by getting your workstation spick and span. These cleaning tips and organization tactics can help.
Use this general rule of thumb: If you haven’t used something for a year, it’s time to pitch it (or donate it). That means say goodbye to the miscellaneous brochures and knickknacks you compiled from conferences throughout the year. Don’t worry, a less cluttered desk can actually lead to a more motivating and productive day.
Wipe down your workstation—computer screen, keyboard, and mouse included!—using a disinfecting handy wipe. Keep the container nearby so you can quickly clean future messes. And remember, the best way to avoid crumbs at your workstation is to avoid eating at your desk. You’ll keep your area clean while bonding with your coworkers and sneaking in some recharge time while you’re at it.
Then, stock up on the essentials.
- Tissues: For those days when a runny nose or other nuisance gets in the way. They’ll come in handy in more ways than you think, especially during flu season.
- Hand sanitizer: Between visits to the bathroom, conference rooms, and other communal spaces, hand sanitizer is the perfect tool to prevent spreading germs. In fact, one study found that waterless hand sanitizer was significantly better than handwashing in reducing levels of fecal bacteria.
- Notebook: Keep a pad of paper within reach so you’re always prepared to jot something down when inspiration strikes.
- Pen holder: Use a fun mug, bowl, or other container to keep various desk essentials—pens, pencils, scissors—organized and within reach.
- Plants: Bring some life to your desk by adding a touch of greenery, like a succulent, orchid, or other low-maintenance plant. Research shows that indoor plants can improve concentration, productivity, stress levels, and even your mood.
- Pictures: Meaningful photographs—whether in frames or on a bulletin board—can liven up your workspace and make you smile throughout the day.
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This article is not intended to substitute for informed medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.