Desk organisation and cable management tips: working from home

When working from home, it can be easy to forget the importance of having an organised workspace. We often associate clutter with mild irritation – a sign of just how busy we are. However, we are risking our productivity and wellbeing by working at a messy desk. Back, neck and shoulder pain are common symptoms of poor posture caused by an unorganised workspace. More severe conditions, such as repetitive strain injury can render people unable to work.

Looking after our wellbeing and productivity is particularly important when we are working from home and are out of our usual working environment. This page will discuss why desk clutter and an unorganised desk can impact our physical and mental health, explaining how cable and desk space management can help.

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Read why desk clutter can have a negative impact on our physical and mental health.

Tips on reducing desk and cable clutter, including guidance on the following:

Read our advice on cable management at home, including recommended solutions such as cable trays.

Read tips and product suggestions for making the most of your desk space, including do’s and don’ts for home working.

Why can desk clutter be a problem?

The impact on productivity and wellbeing

A cluttered work environment can have a significant impact on our productivity. The Princeton Neuroscience Institute conducted a study that showed that the more things in view on your desk, the more things that are competing for your attention. This leaves us unable to focus and complete one specific task. When working from home, it is especially important to look after our mindset, as we are often working in environments where it can be harder to concentrate. This is particularly true for people working in a household with children and other demands.

Our brains also naturally prefer order over clutter, to the point we don’t function well around constant clutter (source). Cognitive function can be impacted through excess clutter, affecting our wellbeing as we feel less relaxed and unable to make a decision.

stressed at a desk

The Harvard Business Review explains that clutter can increase stress and negatively impact our wellbeing. Cortisol is a by-product of adrenaline production in our bodies that is caused by stress. It helps to manage inflammation, controls sleep and regulates blood pressure. However, prolonged exposure to cortisol can lead to some unwanted side effects in daily life. These include anxiety, depression, poor sleep, memory problems and weight gain.

The risk of physical injury
A cluttered desk can also increase the risk of physical injuries, as we have to stretch further and ultimately end up in awkward angles. This can cause repetitive strain injury, which refers to pain felt in muscles, nerves and tendons caused by repetitive movement and overuse. It can also increase the risk of carpal tunnel syndrome, which is pressure on a nerve in your wrist. This causes tingling, numbness and pain in your hand and fingers. We are also more likely to lean forward and slouch to see our computer, increasing the risk of back and neck pain. Working while being in pain can drastically impact our mindset and make us less motivated.

Injury is more likely if your desk chair isn’t ergonomic. You can read about how to ensure your home office chair is ergonomic here.

How to reduce desk clutter

Firstly, you can improve desk organisation by clearing anything on top of your work desk that is not used often. Put everything else into a desk drawer, cubicles or containers that are easily accessible. Your efficiency will double, and your fatigue will decrease (source).

Through relatively simple adjustments, we can reduce stress and prevent common injuries.

Here are some simple ideas for adjusting your workspace:

Cable Management

Poor cable management is a mistake a lot of people tend to make, and we all often end up trailing wires around the desk and on the floor. Wires cause frustration, get tangled and can knock things over, so it makes sense to reduce cord clutter as much as we can. The appearance of messy wires can also make us feel less organised and ready to work, ultimately impacting productivity.

plug adapter

Consider Cable Trays

Under-desk cable trays are a great way to remove your power and peripheral device wires from view. They sit neatly under the desk and grab all the trailing cables neatly and keep them out of your way.

Suggested product:

Fusion Cable Basket

fusion cable basket

Fusion is a high-capacity polypropylene coated wire cable management system that features a sloping side for easy access to cables and specially designed hook brackets for connecting to your home desk.

Cable Spines

Cable trays only solve half the problem; however – you complement them with a cable spine to hide multiple cables needed to reach your power source. They look smart and can help to professionalise your home office.

Suggested product:

Fusion Cable Spine

cable spine

This cable spine is a desk to floor cable management solution that offers quick and easy installation, plus a large cable carrying capacity.

Cable Clips

Cable clips are easy to find solutions online, and they can help tidy up messy cables that ultimately need to be on the desk. This will help create a calming environment for home working.

Switch to Wireless

Wireless peripheral devices (mouse/keyboard) can immediately reduce clutter. If you prefer to go with this option, there are plenty of budget wireless devices that can be bought online. You might also go for a mobile phone charging station which not only looks good but reduces unnecessary wires.

Desk Space Management Tips

The average executive loses an hour of productivity every single day searching for missing information (source).

Not being able to see your office desk for clutter can significantly reduce productivity. Reduced desk space can lead to piles of paperwork, lost pens and things you need to get on with your day.

The following tips can help you manage and organise your desk space:

Make Tidying your Desk a Routine

While we are working from home, it can be easy to break our normal schedule. Getting into a regular routine to tidy your desk will pay dividends in productivity, making us feel ready to work. It can be effective to make the last job of the day to tidy and re-organise your working setup, so you aren’t leaving it until the next morning. Clearing clutter from the desk can help us feel as though we have a new, fresh start for the next day. This can motivate us to stick to our usual work schedule, even when we are at home.

Use Monitor Arms

The average monitor sits on a rectangular plastic base that often is supplied with an adjustable neck. This in itself is ok, but often the adjustable neck doesn’t adjust too much, and the base itself takes up a fair amount of space.

On this basis, we recommend using a monitor arm, as it lifts the monitor off the desk and can be angled. This provides a better ergonomic position as well as increasing desk space.

Available in black, silver or white, CMD monitor arms come with in-built desk cable management for necessary power cables.

Are you working on a laptop at home? Read our guide to working from a laptop ergonomically.

Suggested product:

Reach Spring Assisted Monitor Arm

monitor arm

Reach is arguably one of the most stylish and slimmest monitor arms of its type on the market today, yet maintains all the essential eatures required for a modern office.

Monitor & Laptop Arms

Monitor and laptop arms kill two birds with one stone. A central pillar allows both the laptop and monitor to be lifted off the desktop. This means increased desk space and adjustable working setups. The design also allows a full 360 degrees of swivel movement with full head tilt to be positioned at the optimum eye level.

Suggested product:

Vision Pole Monitor & Laptop Arm

vision pole monitor

The Vision arm can support monitors up to 5kg. It features a height adjustment lever, and cable management clips that can be attached as required.

Desk Power Management

If you are looking at specific power options, then CMD offers a range of power modules that will provide advanced solutions for desk power.

Desk setup organisation: do’s and don’ts
Do ✅Don’t ✗
Clear away anything that you don’t use frequentlyClutter your desk with unnecessary equipment
Raise your laptop anywhere from 12 to 25 cm to provide the proper heightHunch over your laptop
Raise your laptop anywhere from 12 to 25 cm to provide the proper heightHunch over your laptop
Reduce cord clutter and consider cable management productsNeglect your wires and allow for messy cables
Research organisation ideas for extra space such as drawers and folders to store paperworkStore all of your paperwork on your desk

home video call

Are you worried your office desk isn’t ergonomic? Read our guide to ensuring your work desk is ergonomic here.