Our Guest Post author today is Helen Bradford.

Although some may argue that chaos gets their creative juices flowing, research has shown quite the opposite result. Several studies have been conducted on the impact of clutter or a messy desk on workers’ productivity levels. The results are very similar across the board. A messy space reduces focus, impairs creativity and generally makes people anxious and stressed.

The same way that noise can make it hard for you to concentrate on writing an email, for example, clutter can draw your eye and attention away from the task at hand. You can get carried away looking at a busy workspace. Meanwhile, your brain needs a calm and orderly environment so that it is able to concentrate on thinking creatively.

When you think about it, the majority of your day is spent sitting at your desk, looking into your computer screen or what is around you in the office. This space should be clean, healthy, safe and tidy. If you have an open or shared office space, you may need to draw a fellow employee’s attention to the fact that their mess is a distraction to others. Put some guidelines in place to ensure that everyone is tidying up after themselves. The office should look respectable before everyone packs up to go home. This will make for a more pleasant environment in the morning.

Why do people choose to keep things which they no longer need or use? As human beings, we form sentimental attachments to objects. The degree of attachment depends on a variety of things such as how expensive the object was or how long we have had it in our possession. Parting with an item triggers an emotional response, similar to physical pain.

The solution to this problem is to clean house. This doesn’t just mean throwing old sticky notes or paper into the bin. Get rid of extra cables, monitors, desks, chairs, filing cabinets. Anything that is not essential in your workspace will not only improve your concentration but trying to get around piles of stuff and obstacles can be a hazard for employees as well. An easy way to reduce the clutter is to purchase some new binders, paper trays, trash bins or pencil holders. New desk accessories can be cheap but effective and chic! Don’t forget to clean out your computer as well. A messy desktop screen, unorganized folders or old emails can be equally distracting.

Get all of your employees involved, you don’t want to pack up or throw away anything that is truly needed, and you also don’t want to be cleaning up someone else’s mess. Do yourself and your colleagues a huge favor and give purging your office space a try. If you make it a group effort, depending on the state of the desk or office, it shouldn’t take long.

Business activity and the space that you occupy can also play a crucial role. Your office may not be big enough.  Look into renting a storage space to put away boxes of merchandise or extra office supplies and furniture. Your office should never double as a warehouse! Affordable self-storage units can solve this problem and help keep your workspace looking shipshape and more importantly, professional.

Think of the space you work in as your very own little island, decorate and organize it how you like, but remember it is a reflection of you and your business. A well thought-out office is directly linked not only to the workers’ productivity but to the customers’ response as well. Would you trust a business that looks like a broom closet to handle your affairs in a timely and professional manner?