Clean space, clear mind

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Mark Littlejohns and Chloe Peachey of Capital’s Safety, Health, Environment & Fire team explore the link between a clear workspace and improved mental & physical wellbeing.

As the UK welcomes the transition from winter to spring, many individuals will use the period to refresh their homes. Every March, more than 93% of British households participate in ‘spring cleaning’ activities.

As hybrid working arrangements have become increasingly prevalent since the COVID-19 pandemic, should we seek to extend the practice of spring cleaning, to our workspaces?

Clean space – the importance for individuals

Clearing your workspace can act as a landmark of transition, signalling a fresh start and relief from Seasonal Affective Disorder, as a new phase of the year is entered.

For many, decluttering can benefit productivity levels, and provide improvements to mental and physical health. The benefits of decluttering include:

  • Better focus and productivity. Clutter and messy surroundings can overstimulate our senses, making us feel irritable and overwhelmed which can negatively impact productivity and focus levels.
  • Reduced stress. Promoting a calm and clean environment can help to eliminate feelings of stress and anxiety.
  • Increases efficiency. Knowing where important things are in your workspace and everything having a designated place minimises time searching.
  • Higher self-esteem. When you have trouble staying organized, you may feel out of control. Improving your workspace can restore feelings of competency and pride.

Clean space – the importance for employers

Employers should also encourage a clean workspace as clutter can be prove a safety hazard. Wires or items on the floor present a risk for trips, slips and falls.

In the event of a fire, clutter can increase risk by creating obstacles, blocking pathways, or blocking exits – making it more difficult to get help.

Piles of unused possessions also act as magnets for dust and bacteria, which can negatively impact the health of your workers. Regularly cleaning desks and workstations prevents the spread of germs and infectious diseases amongst colleagues.

Overall, encouraging a clean, clutter-free workspace promotes safe practice, and a positive attitude towards the mental and physical health of employees.

If your company requires guidance or assistance on health & safety within the workplace, please get in touch with our team of expert consultants.