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I normally like starting the week with a tidy desk and a new to-do-list. But this morning when I sat down in an attempt to step back into the real world an array of messiness greeted me with a wicked grin.

Somehow putting Christmas back into the box took much longer than anticipated and I completely forgot to sit down and take an hour to organise the space I spend so much time in. The clutter this morning made my smile fade into a sigh and now I have to spend a hour or so digging through paperwork, unopened letters and creating a list to guide me through the week.

I have always known that a messy desk delays my thoughts but what I didn’t know is that there is actually a name for this “Irritable Desk Syndrome” (IDS). A study done by the corporation NEC-Mitsubishi shows that 67% of office workers spend more and more time at their desks every day and 40% hate the clutter that surrounds them, leaving them unmotivated and frustrated, but “can’t be bothered to do anything about it”.

It’s not surprising that in an open-plan office most also feel affected by the messiness on co-workers desk or that many bosses are influenced by how an employees desk looks. It seems, like on dates, appearances matters.

But the disorganisation of your desk is the cause of three other big issues: it can cause back and neck pain due to bad posture, it can lose you or your company money as things get lost in the piles that can cause delay and replacement fees, but the biggest issue by far is that it is  a breeding site for bacteria.

As a messy desk is rarely cleaned, wiped down and disinfected it can be the home to up to 400 times as many bacteria as a kitchen table. The main hazard sources seem to be the telephone (no surprise there) and the keyboard. The scary fact is that if they are not regularly wiped down the bacteria living on the surfaces multiply at a merry rate of 19-30%  a day.

So with all that in mind and a shuddering look at my own disorganised desk I think I’ll just log out for a while and file, clean and trow out excess paperwork, I’ll even put on a  CD and have a desk disco to start of the week.