24 March, 2020
As spring turns to summer and the temperature starts to rise, it can be uncomfortable working indoors and, since many of us are now required to do exactly that, it is a great time to spring clean your office or workspace and get it prepared for the warmer weather. You really don’t want to be rooting through endless paperwork to find vital statistics when you’re close to a meltdown!
How to spring clean your office
Here are some simple steps you can take which will make you more organised and a little healthier too!
1. Clear out old paperwork and shred confidential documents.
But don’t forget that some documents need to be kept for tax purposes. HMRC says that records must be kept for at least 5 years after the 31 January submission deadline of the relevant tax year and they may also check your records to make sure you are paying the right amount of tax. I like to keep a hard copy print out of my records to be on the safe side.
2. Invest in some new files.
Even though many documents can be stored on your Google drive or in Microsoft Excel spreadsheets on your desktop, you may still need to keep hard copy documentation of items such as invoices and statements (see 1. above!).
You may as well have pretty files that you enjoy using – or at least ones strong enough to withstand regular use.
3. Improve the air quality
Believe it or not, there are actually house plants it is almost impossible to kill. I have to confess my track record isn’t exactly impressive but you can improve your indoor air quality with them.
Plants absorb some of the particulates from the air at the same time that they take in carbon dioxide which is then turned into oxygen through photosynthesis.
You could try Spider Plants, Weeping Fig or Peace Lilies to name a few.
If your tastes are more esoteric, you could try a Himalayan Salt lamp which will also cleanse and deodorize the air.
And of course, a decent desk fan will work wonders in the heat.
4. Invest in some VELUX blinds to block out the sun
Not only will decent blinds help keep you cool, but removing the glare of sunlight from your workstation will stop you squinting at the screen and getting a headache.
Giving your windows a thorough clean both inside and out will help too.
In addition, you can get an anti-glare screen for your computer which will help make reading easier.
5. Keep hydrated
Make sure you have a good supply of fresh water to hand and if you are fuelled by coffee perhaps invest in a one cup coffee maker. Try to incorporate water-rich foods into your snacks and lunches – salad, fruits and vegetables.
Thoroughly disinfect your keyboard and your phones which can harbour more germs and bacteria than the average toilet seat!
7. Use visual aids
If you are a visual person, why not include a noticeboard for planning or a whiteboard for scribbling down your flashes of inspiration.
Some like to have their vision board in front of them – a wishlist of their hopes, dreams, ambitions and goals. The theory is that by having these things in front of you, you are more likely to manifest them in real life.
8. Reduce, re-use, recycle
Make sure you have an adequate sized bin. We have 2, the second being for recyclable material (all the Amazon packaging!) and don’t forget you can recycle the shredded paper from your shredder too (great as bedding for mice and hamsters!).
Gradually the aim should be to move to a completely paperless office but most of us aren’t quite there yet.
9. Protect your health
You could also think about wrist and ankle supports if you are going to be spending a lot of time typing to avoid conditions such as Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI).
Most importantly, make sure you get regular screen breaks to rest your eyes and get up and walk about every 45 minutes or so.
My physio says he would not dream of sitting down for longer than this at a stretch if he could possibly help it.
Many doctors consider sitting to be the new smoking and recently leading doctor Sir Muir Gray caused controversy by claiming that Type 2 Diabetes is caused simply by lack of exercise.
10. Spring clean your work bag
It’s also worth carrying a mini-kit of essentials with you to help stay cool and fresh throughout the day.
Make sure your workspace meets your needs and is a pleasant place to work. After all, you will be spending the bulk of your time there and, for most of us, far longer than we spend with our families unless you are lucky enough to work from home.
Some employers frown upon personal items such as family photos so you may have to restrict your self-expression to funky stationery and a cactus that reminds you of your boss!
*collaborative post with VELUX