- Published: Wednesday, 27 January 2016 11:53
The Psychological Effects of Paperwork and Clutter
Piles of paperwork and cluttered workspaces can leave you feeling overwhelmed and stressed – and you’re not alone. Clutter isn’t just a physical problem, as it can have a mental impact too, at home or at work. The difference is at work you’re meant to be productive and gets tasks done – which can seem physically and mentally impossible with a desk of stuff.
While piles of paperwork are obviously hindering work processes and hampering efficiency, many workers just can’t get away from their mounting masses of sheets. So much time is wasted looking through files, folders and loose papers for the right correspondence but this isn’t the only problem with our dependence on paper.
Chaos of Clutter
Various studies have found that physical clutter negatively affects the brain in a way that prevent it from focusing and processing information. The brain views clutter as a chaotic environment and limits the brain’s ability to process information – which can obviously affect work performance. Clutter is distracting in any environment, but especially in a work environment and smaller spaces.
Think about the kitchen as a functional room with clutter. People often can’t concentrate on cooking a meal if there are dirty pans and dishes all over the countertop. Now apply this to a work environment and you can understand the constant battle that workers deal with every day in the office.
Clutter can also overload the senses as everything competes for your attention. It can literally stop your ability to think creatively and make you feel stressed. The effect on the brain is similar to when you are multitasking – except this is all going on in the background while you’re trying to focus on one task.
The answer: Decluttering
The only way we can start to positively improve desks and working environments is to remove the clutter. There may be as much personal clutter on a workspace as there is work-related items. Organise your workspace by neatly putting things out of sight, in drawers or on shelves, or a desktop tidy unit. Only keep things which you need and make you feel calm.
The next step is to eliminate paper altogether. In the digital age we live in, there is no excuse for piles of paperwork and sheet scattered around the office. All files can be stored and accessed electronically, which is not only more efficient but will improve employee productivity.
Ready to embrace the paperless office? Pearl Scan can help every step of the way.