It’s that time of year, when the arrival of daffodils and the first peek of sunshine make you notice just how filthy your windows are. You marvel at the amount of dust glinting around the room and that sticky patch that decides to reveal itself and won’t be ignored. But you’re not at home, you’re in the office and all of a sudden you feel gross. No? Well if I tell you that the average desktop has 400 times more bacteria than a toilet seat? Still happy to eat your lunch at your desk?
The good news is that most offices have a cleaner these days for the larger, communal and heavy tasks so your small area should only take a couple of hours (if that). If you can, arrive at work a little earlier or stay on a little later and pack a change of clothes. You will get dusty and smell of lemon anti-bac by the end!
What you will need:
- Anti-bacterial wipes
- Can of compressed air
- Dry cloth/Anti-static cloth
- Screen wipes
- Cotton wool buds
- Shampoo/small bucket/scrubbing brush (optional)
- Upholstery foam (optional)
Open a window. Even if it’s chilly, get a blast of fresh air in the room and put on an extra layer if necessary.
Sort out that in tray. No more excuses to just keep piling documents one of top of the other. Empty the lot so you have 3 empty trays. Assign one ACTION, one TO FILE and one REFERENCE. Now work through the pile assigning appropriately. Guarantee 50% of it will go in the recycle bin! Now establish some new habits. ACTION will be continually moving, but once actioned, transfer to the filing tray or bin/shred/recycle. Resolve to empty the filing tray once a week on a Friday so that your desk (and mind) is clear ready for Monday. REFERENCE is for those documents that you continually need to refer to; phone lists, login details etc… Keep them here so you can put your hand on them quickly.
Grab some antibacterial wipes and clean the whole phone surface. Pay particular attention to the buttons (did you know they were white and not cream?) ear-piece and mouth-piece. Be thorough, it is the number one germ offender in the office. If you haven’t already, you might want to take the opportunity to add/update your quick dials and answerphone message.
With your computer switched off, stand your keyboard on its side and tap gently. This should remove any large particles/crumbs from behind the keys. Next grab your can of compressed air and blast along the keys/speakers. If you’re anything like me, this will fascinate you more than gross you out. If you’ve never used one, this is probably the most fun you’ll have throughout the spring clean and it’s very addictive! Finish by wiping over the surface areas with the antibacterial wipes, again paying close attention to the keys themselves.
Just like your TV at home, you screen/monitor is a dust and fingerprint magnet. Give it a wipe all over with a dry cloth and then use the screen wipe to go to town on your screen. An anti-static cloth will give it an extra sheen and prevent smears drying.
For the mouse, grab your can of compressed air (whoop whoop) and give it a good blast. If it has removable parts, remove them and get inside. Use a cotton bud to gently clean inside the area of the LED. Wipe all surfaces and replace batteries if required. Depending on the state of your mouse mat, consider discarding and replacing.
Turn your attention to the rest of your desk. Work through the pen pot and discard any empty, chewed or broken pens and those with missing lids. Remove all those ridiculous promotional materials that seem to have worked their way on to your desk. Now lift everything off, wipe down with dry cloth to remove the dust and grab that pack of antibacterial wipes. Go to town, this doesn’t happen very often so really give it a thorough clean.
Use the dry cloth to wipe down your printer. Replace any low cartridges and call up your supplier to arrange collection of all old ones for recycling. If you work from home, check out the internet for plenty of companies offering freepost recycling bags and offers of cash or charity donations. Load up all paper trays and grab a spare ream for refills.
Do some archiving. If you don’t have a specific archive process for your office, introduce one! Be ruthless though, this isn’t just about piling all your old documents into the store cupboard, never again to see the light of day. Choose only those documents that you’re legally obliged to keep or ones that you feel you’re likely to need to reference in the future. Pile files into an archive box and clearly label with a date you believe it would be safe to destroy. Include an index of all documents and affix to the outside of the box. It doesn’t need to be sophisticated, handwritten will do, just an easy guide to what’s in the box to save you or your colleagues rifling through in the future.
Depending on the state of your chair and the time you have, it’s worth giving this a good clean. As a minimum, wipe down for dust and clean the hand bars with anti-bacterial wipes. If you have some unsightly stains that you’ve either ignored or only just noticed, a simple mix of shampoo and water scrubbed over the stain should work. For the most thorough clean, use an upholstery foam over all cushioned areas as this will deliver maximum impact in cleaning, deodorising and freshening. Clearly the latter two will require time to dry!
Put the cleaning products you’ve gathered into a plastic box with a lid and store near your desk. Resolve to keep on top of the cleaning and organising on a more regular basis, especially if you catch yourself eating your lunch regularly at your desk. As a minimum:
Once a week: wipe down your desk, phone and keyboard. Empty your TO FILE tray.
Once a month: dust and wipe your screen. Get that can of compressed air out again!
Sit back and admire how fresh your workspace feels. Treat yourself to a desk plant (ones good at cleansing the air such as Peace Lily or Rubber Plant), a few fresh cut stems or just a rewarding brew. You’re ready for spring now!
And remember, if you need any help getting organised then just get in touch and we’ll be round with a can of compressed air and an arm full of files!