For many of us, we may find we are spending more time at work than we do at home. Whether this is out of necessity, or because we love to bury ourselvesc in our occupation, ask yourself – How clean do I keep my office or workplace? A clean and tidy workstation speaks well of you as an employee. No employer wants to see grubby and cluttered desks, especially if their employee has contact with the public. A person who is not bothered by sitting at a dirty workstation all day is likely used to this level of cleanliness outside of the workplace; their home and their appearance or personal hygiene may be an issue. Even if this is not the case, an employer or colleague can easily make this connection. And believe me, this factors in when it comes time for select opportunities, promotions or job openings. Keeping your office clean promotes better health and productivity. It shows you take your position seriously and are concerned about your position and peers. With the above in mind, here are 8 tips to keep your office and workplace clean.

Create a system to organise your paper files. Almost any job carries some level of paperwork. Paper shuffling all day not only creates dust but leaving mounds of paper everywhere traps dust as well. By the end of the day, there should be little evidence of any work in progress. Papers should be filed away or organized into In and Out boxes.

Keep the knick-knacks to a minimum. Believe it or not, even your closest friend at work does not care to see the weekly updated pictures of your family and kids. Some workstations start to look like the game show Hollywood Squares exploded, with faces in little square frames covering every inch of real estate on the desk and wall. Same goes with overkill on the desk organisers, the little plastic cubby things with the tiny drawers, the empty Tim Horton coffee cups and water bottles, the mountain of pens and pencils, creams, hand lotions, stress balls, etc. Keep your desk in shipshape.

Stop hanging Post-its. Before Post-its, how was it ever possible to keep all of our tips and important information handy? Where would the modern office be if it wasn’t completely littered with little yellow quadrangles filled with minutiae? A lot cleaner, that’s for sure. Use a notebook or create files on your desktop to keep track of passwords or other important routine business operations. Stop putting up Post-its and sticking them around the perimeter of your computer.

Your desk is not a cafeteria. If you’ve made it a habit to eat at your desk, then on behalf of all germs and bacteria, a hearty thanks goes out. Eating at your desk leaves all sorts of remnants that will stick around and contribute to a messy workplace. The crumbs in your keyboard should be enough. If they’re not, then honorable mention goes out to the food stains on the desk, the crushed crackers and sandwich specks on the floor, the straw wrappers and piles of accumulated napkins, and the odor of the onion sandwich with extra onions.

How many pens do you need? What is it about hanging on to every pen we’ve ever used? When a pen ceases to work, don’t tell anyone I told you this, but it’s OK to toss it. Some employees love to accumulate a drawer full of worthless writing utensils and then have to rummage through a haystack of 45 pens to find one that works.

It’s what’s on the inside that counts. Have you ever told your child to clean their room and at a cursory glance, all looks completely tidy? But then on a simple inspection of the closet and under the bed, you find the cache. It’s a landfill of piled up toys and clothes. The same principle holds true for your workstations. Your drawers and cabinets should be neat and orderly as well. If you open up a drawer and find 18 sugar packets, way too many pens (see above), old magazines, paper clips running wild, and more staple refills than you will need in a lifetime, it’s time to start dumping and cleaning.

Organise the wires. This may be your employer’s responsibility, but there is no need to have a cluttered or even dangerous conglomeration of wiring running to and fro throughout your workplace. Wires from your computer, monitor, CPU, laptop, chargers, plug-in calculator, printer, fax machine and speakers, all should be out of sight or wrapped neatly and tucked away.

Routine cleaning. Some restaurants hang signs that say ‘Clean as you go.’ The same holds true for your office. Get into a habit of disinfecting your keyboard, mouse and phone on a daily basis. Run some cleaning wipes over your desk once a day or every few days. There is no need to wait until dust balls start blowing through your workstation like tumbleweeds before you decide to clean.