Comic drawing of an office landscape with a chaotic L-shaped desk and an occasional piece of furniture with file boxes in the background. The desk is the opposite of a clean desk because it is cluttered with filing cabinets stacked on top of each other, paper, writing utensils, garbage and much more on and under the desk. A shocked cleaning lady with a cleaning trolley doesn't know where to start cleaning - SANTERGO
Christoph Hohl

Christoph Hohl

An Empty Desk Is Half the Job For A Clean Desk Policy


A clean desk is a prerequisite for 20% higher efficiency

Research by the Fraunhofer Institute shows that 10% of the average working time is spent on search activities.

No wonder that most managers have a “clean-desk policy”. This helps to save time.


However, in real-life it is often difficult to follow good plans


comic drawing of an untidy desk with lots of paper and other office utensils as well as postits on the screen, on the office chair and lots of chaos - SANTERGO


Many employees experience difficulty in keeping their desks in order.

Within a very short time, they will once again spend their time sitting behind piles of paper and office utensils – partially hidden from the world.


To a clean desk policy in 5 steps

a comic drawing of a tidy desk with a happy cleaning lady sitting on an ergonomic office chair with a broom in her hand and resting. On the office desk, apart from the screen and the keyboard and mouse, there is only an IN box, a register book, a sorting folder, neatly filed documents in an open box, two open drawers that are tidy and an empty wastepaper basket under the desk. SANTERGO


The following five steps will help you get to a more organized and tidier desk.

They were developed by the well-known German expert on efficiency, Jürgen Kurz (, under the motto “Office-Kaizen – 20% more

efficiency in the company”.

Plan to implement these five steps in your diary and allocate a few hours to do this.

You will gain tremendous benefit and increased work efficiency from this change.


Step 1

Make sure to use only one tray for all incoming materials of the day!

Drawing of an in-box for letters, documents and other paper that can be stored on a desk. The box lies in the corner on a desk and has a large sign with the inscription IN - SANTERGO

All working papers, documents, projects, and mail belong in this tray.

Remove all other trays from your work table.

Countless storage compartments and boxes on an untidy desk. Everything shown as a drawing. Lots of paper and other desk utensils are scattered on the desk surface - SANTERGO

Make an agreement with yourself to discard all irrelevant material immediately, which you have “temporarily stored”.

Important things will end up in your “inbox” (tray).


Step 2

Select a folder with dividers from 1– 31.

Drawing of a folder with the numbers 1 to 14 so that documents can be filed neatly - SANTERGO

Give each of your projects a number and place the files in the corresponding numbered section.

Now create a table of contents for all the projects and put it as the first page in your folder.

In your diary, enter the dates for the processing of each project and add the project number.

This allows you to determine when and which project is to be processed, ensures uncomplicated access to the corresponding section using the project numbers, and creates a clear instrument for the processing of all your projects.


Step 3

Use a book with several transparent sheets or make your own.

Reference book for clear organization at work A drawing of a file folder in which documents can be neatly filed. The book is open and 7 pages are visible - SANTERGO

In this book, you can store all the information needed regularly, such as telephone lists, important addresses, account numbers that you need frequently, and much more.

Note: The table of contents that you created will be inserted as the first page in your book.

Place your book on top of your file cabinet to ensure that you can access it at all times.


Step 4

All other documents such as printouts and magazines that you want to read occasionally, should be placed in a separate stack, preferably on a shelf in a cupboard.

Open office furniture with two shelves for neatly stacking documents. There is a large box on the bottom shelf. Various documents on the second shelf. There is a plant with a saucer on the furniture. Everything shown as a drawing with blue and gray paint - SANTERGO

Note: the height of this stack is limited by the next higher shelf, about 40 cm. Once this height is reached, take out the lowest 10 cm and throw them away.


Step 5

Place all small office accessories such as pens, scissors, hole punches, staplers, etc. on the desk in front of you.

Pens, scissors, adhesive tape roll, glue, pencil and other small office supplies on a desk shown as a drawing - SANTERGO

Select the items that you really use from this collection.

Think about how many ballpoint pens, glue tubes, erasers, and things you genuinely need.

Go ahead and remove the unnecessary items.

Now place everything you want in a neatly organized drawer.

Drawing of two open drawers, where the top drawer is empty and the bottom drawer is well organized and contains important desk utensils - SANTERGO

After each use, make sure that the items are consistently moved back to their original place.

This way your work table remains tidy and mostly empty. This allows you to create optimal conditions for the performance of your daily work.


Dispose of Conscientiously

If you are unsure whether you will need particular documents in the future, store them in a box in a cabinet.

Blue cardboard box in an office box on the bottom floor in blue color and shown as a drawing - SANTERGO

If you have not opened the box after one year, you can dispose of the documents in the box with a clear conscience.

Cleaning lady in blue dress sits on a blue ergonomic office chair in an office with a clean desk with only important utensils pictured and a clean drawer that is half open - SANTERGO


If the topic of ergonomics in the office or home office appeals to you and you are interested in it more deeply, I can recommend my book “Wellness in the Office”. Combined with humorous drawings, I pass on 50+1 tips to make your office a little paradise.

wellness in the office 50 + 1 tips
50+1 tips to make your office a little paradise

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Christoph Hohl

Christoph Hohl

Christoph Hohl comes from Switzerland and is an ergonomics expert. For more than 20 years he has been offering many solutions with different products and many tips to provide more quality of life and a greater sense of well-being. SANTERGO is a special piece of this mosaic.