The virtues of a tidy, clean and inviting office space are palpable, yet, as is often the case, there are plenty of workplaces that are anything but.

Spring clean your office

The virtues of a tidy, clean and inviting office space are palpable, yet, as is often the case, there are plenty of workplaces that are anything but. They can feel and look functional - drab as well - but that’s normal, expected even. “It is what it is” and, well, we’re all too busy to fully appreciate how lacklustre things are.

There’s an irony to this status, given the fact we tend to spend most of our time here. And so it is, that offices become repositories for all sorts of clutter, some of it visible, some of it not. Desks take on piles of paper, dust gathers on forgotten furnishings and all sorts of detritus finds it way into various nooks and crannies.

It’s a wonder this is even possible because, it’s fair to say, aesthetics matter, and not just in a superficial way. A warm, welcoming environment, that is organised and free of mess, boosts morale, amplifies productivity and makes the workplace an all round better place to be.

You really can’t underestimate how important a smart, efficient and engaging office - fun as well - can be for all stakeholders. As a case in point, consider PwC’s 2011 relocation of its headquarters in London.

The layout of the space was conceived with sustainability and future working at the heart of it, which is to say environmentally-friendly and conducive to innovative ways of operating. As Anne Muirhead, head of PwC’s future working team, said at the time in an interview with HR Magazine:

“Our mission is to understand the future of work as sequence of events: what type of people we will need in the future; what sort of work they will do, and how the space they will work in can best suit this."

The result is something quite astonishing. It possesses the ability to produce 25 per cent of its own energy through solar panels; a zero-tolerance approach to desk-side storage; dedicated spaces for creative thinking; and a feeling of openness (no closed offices).

Now, of course, that’s one end of the spectrum and it’s a given that many businesses will not yet have the finances to facilitate such a transformation. That doesn’t mean you can’t achieve dramatic results in a cost-effective way - at the other end of the spectrum are a plethora of solutions that will have your office looking and feeling brand new.

For example, this being the 21st century - tech heavy and digital - you can immediately change working processes by adopting a paperless way of working. This not only frees up space and has your office looking purposeful and in shipshape condition, but also evolves how you operate - an electronic system offers you the kind of speed and transparency that is otherwise impossible.

Furniture, equally, can be sourced from vintage shops or through website like eBay. Gone are the days of rectangular, one person to a desk office layouts. These days many enterprising startups and multinationals have all sorts of arrangements in place. From park benches to patches of grass and chill out corners to games rooms, a lot can be achieved on even the tightest of budgets.

The key is to start small and actually approach a total revamp in a strategic and piecemeal manner. Send out an email discussing your plans, ask your staff to begin decluttering their desks and organise a team meeting to explain how you’d like to consult them on their ideas for how they want their office to be. That sense of ownership is invaluable.

This year’s spring clean could be the start of something special.

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