How does a Cluttered Work Environment Decrease Productivity?

Now home and office are co-existing. “97% of the remote workforce would like to continue working remotely at least some of the time for the rest of their careers.” And several big techs are planning to keep the home office model permanently. 

These changes had created new challenges. Deal with a place with several distractions. Children, pets, clutter. 

In a calm and organized environment, employees are healthier, less stressed, and are more focused on their work. But a cluttered environment causes the opposite. 

Can Affect Mental Health

“Clutter can also affect our general mental health, making us feel stressed, anxious, or depressed. Research from the United States in 2009, for instance, found the levels of the stress hormone cortisol were higher in mothers whose home environment was cluttered; elevated cortisol levels sustained over time can lead to anxiety and depression.” Libby Sander in his article for Harvard Business Review

Decrease Productivity

A Princeton University study found clutter makes it harder for people to focus on particular tasks. Specifically, the researchers discovered that the visual cortex is easily overwhelmed by task-irrelevant objects, making it difficult to allocate attention and complete set tasks efficiently. A clean and clear workspace eliminates distractions and can therefore help employees better concentrate on the task at hand. Overall productivity is boosted since employees are able to work efficiently and free from distraction. When employees are able to give their full focus to a task, they also perform better quality work.

It Cost Money

Workplace cleanliness is essential for overall business success, especially since untidy workplaces cost businesses $2.5 million a year due to lost productivity, the International Data Corporation found.

Waste Time

A lot of time can be squandered when searching for documents in a messy workspace. In cleaner, well-organized offices, paperwork can be tracked down easily and quickly.


Maintaining a clean environment keeps you healthy and limits the number of sick days. The average desk, for example, harbors over 10 million types of bacteria, making it a whopping 400 times more dirty than a toilet seat. As a result of unclean desks, two thirds of employees are at risk of falling ill.

Encouraging employees to sanitize their work environment before and after their shifts can help minimize the spread of bacteria, keep sickness at bay, and therefore maximize productivity. It’s also important to use safe and non-toxic cleaning solutions to further protect employee health. For example, avoid potentially harmful cleaning products such as, formaldehyde, ammonia, and sodium lauryl sulfate. These ingredients, although effective at cleaning, can exacerbate allergies and irritate the skin, eyes, ears, nose, and throat in particularly susceptible employees.


Employees in a clean working environment are naturally likely to be happier than those in untidy environments, and employees who are happy in their work are likely to get more done than those who dislike

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