Why Clutter Is Bad For Productivity.......#productivity #startup

By: Monica Aguilar

Why is clutter bad for productivity?

Take a moment and look around your office. What does it look like? Is it clean, neat and organized? Or, does it look a little like someone has been sorting through your belongings? Are there stacks of paper, pens strewn across the desk, and an empty mug (or two)? If so, you might want to consider de-cluttering your space.

A study published by the Princeton University Neuroscience Institute used fMRI (functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging) and other tools to measure the physiological responses of clutter to the subject’s brain. The study documented that,

“Multiple stimuli present in the visual field at the same time compete for neural representation by mutually suppressing their evoked activity throughout visual cortex, providing a neural correlate for the limited processing capacity of the visual system.”

To simplify that statement, clutter overloads your senses and decreases your ability to focus. Essentially, clutter competes for your attention. Ever tried working with a group of toddlers running around the house at full-tilt? Doesn’t work so well, does it? Try thinking of all the clutter in your office like a group of five year olds' running around the house while yelling at the same time. The study concluded that in order to be focused and productive, the environment had to be free and clear of clutter.

By cleaning up your work-space, you create an environment that is conducive for clear and focused thinking. When you are working to meet a deadline and you cannot find a pen with ink because your space is a mess, guess what? It creates a stress response in your nervous system. Imagine how all of that stress can be avoided simply by keeping your space free of clutter. According to another study, the average worker loses approximately a week searching for ‘lost’ items. A week to find something you’re missing is the equivalent to a week of lost wages! Over time those ‘lost’ weeks can surely add, more like subtract, from your company’s bottom line.

Another impact that clutter has on a work-space is more psychological. Respondents to a survey revealed that they hold negative opinions “toward those with a disorganized work-space…and is considered unprofessional”. If one of your staff members is constantly asking, “Have you seen…” or is having trouble working with others because they’re disorganized, think about how unproductive that is!


Is your office space cluttered?

How would cleaning and clearing up your work-space impact your productivity?

What would happen if you asked all of your employees to maintain clean work spaces?

Think about the long-term positive effect it could have on your company’s bottom line. Let us know in the comments below how you keep your work space neat, organized and clutter free!

Reginald Swift