Untidiness - The Main Contributor To Unproductivity In The Workplace

A motivated workforce — as all employers are aware — is the key to a successful business, as engaged, proactive staff are also far more likely to be productive staff.

Most companies are familiar with implementing regular motivational initiatives, from bonus schemes, to team building days, to the classic ‘quick fix’ crowd pleaser — an unlimited bar tab at the local pub. However, while a significant amount of time is spent devising new ways to boost productivity in the workplace, very little thought is given to what actually causes employees to be unproductive in the first place.

Also read: Different Ways Hobbies Can Help Employees Be More Productive at Work

With this in mind, office power and ergonomic supplier CMD carried out an independent survey amongst 786 members of the UK public to determine what factors negatively affect their performance at work. Here’s what the survey revealed:

Factors that affect your performance at work negatively

Insufficient lighting34.7%
Untidy workstation29.4%44.5%
Visual untidiness (trailing wires etc.)15.1%
Lack of available plug sockets near desk11.5%
Lack of phone charging options near desk7.4%

Mess and Clutter

Responses relating to mess and clutter — be that an untidy workstation or visual untidiness created by trailing wires — received the highest number of votes, with a combined total of 44.5%.

In line with the survey results, it is commonly believed that a messy workstation can distract workers, making it harder to focus on the task in hand.

The problem is, mess usually accumulates over time, meaning that it isn’t always addressed until there is a significant build-up of unnecessary clutter lying around. Papers and files are common culprits, and — as the survey highlights — so are trailing wires and cables.

Also read: Workplace Design Trends – 5 Ways to Increase Productivity at Work

Charging cables for portable devices such as mobile phones, lap tops and tablets are generally responsible for creating an eyesore, mainly because these devices are often plugged into any available socket. Their temporary use also reduces the need for employees to consider how tidily — or safely — they stow the wires.

The solution

Attaching easily accessible cable tidies beneath desks to conceal trailing wires will make an instant improvement to the visual tidiness of an office, as will investing in filing systems and possibly even enlisting a shredding service.

Lack of accessible power

Lack of available plug sockets and phone charging options also provided a distraction for staff, bringing in 11.5% and 7.4% of the votes respectively.

With many offices embracing hot-desking as a way of life, it is commonplace for workers to ‘turn up and power up’ at any available workstation. While this is a great way to keep office dynamics fresh, there are certain practicalities that are often overlooked when creating a hot-desking environment — namely availability of plug sockets.

As a minimum requirement, workers will generally need to power a laptop and charge a mobile phone on a daily basis. Factor in an additional tablet and maybe even a personal device such as an ecigarette and that’s four plug or USB sockets per staff member. Haggling over a limited number of sockets can create tension amongst team members and the sight of a depleting phone battery can even become quite stressful. Clearly tension and stress are not going to be conducive to a productive work environment.

The solution

As with office clutter, this is not a difficult problem to rectify and additional power sockets and charging ports can easily be implemented into the office environment. Advancements in technology no longer restrict power access to a handful of wall sockets. It is now possible to have power modules positioned upon or integrated into desk surfaces, offering the user multiple configurations of easily accessible standard, USB or wireless power.

Poor lighting

Insufficient lighting received the highest amount of votes as an individual category, with more than a third of respondents admitting that poor lighting would negatively affect their performance at work. A lack of natural lighting can make workers feel lacklustre and fatigued, especially if it is replaced with glaring strip lights, which is often the case in offices.

The solution

It can be difficult to create the perfect lighting levels to suit all employees, however wireless lighting can provide the perfect solution as brightness and temperature can be adjusted on a light-by-light basis. This also allows lighting to be adjusted to suit specific tasks throughout the work space, for example employees who are carrying out detailed precision jobs will require bright task lighting, whereas those in creative roles are more likely to benefit from lower level mood lighting.

Also read: How Decluttering Your Workspace Can Make You A Better Employee

Small changes make a big difference

These small, yet effective changes highlight how simple measures can be made to instantly improve productivity in the work place. So, before investing the Christmas bonus pot into an off-site team building day for fifty reluctant workers, take a look around the office itself and take note of the small changes that could possibly make a huge difference to staff motivation and productivity.

Download the eBook and learn how to use neuroscience to attract the right talent, retain high-performing employees and foster collaborative teams.

Image licensed from Depositphotos.com