Why Should Freelancers Maintain a Clean Workspace?

While freelancing presents several career advantages, many need help attaining a smooth workflow and enhanced productivity for success.

However, the latest apps, devices and techniques are not the only tools freelancers can deploy to make headway — they should also maintain a clean workspace.

Why Should Freelancers Maintain a Clean Workspace?

A messy desk can be detrimental to your work, increasing your stress levels and impacting your focus.

You might lose vital information in a mountainous pile of paperwork or miss essential correspondences with clients in a disorganized inbox.

Here is why maintaining a clean working environment is crucial for your well-being and career, plus several approaches and productivity hacks to keep your home office neat and efficient.

5 Benefits of a Clean Work Environment for Freelancers

The benefits of a clean workspace should be apparent to most freelancers, from fostering an extraordinary work ethic to lowering anxiety.

Here are five reasons to maintain a tidy area for delivering superior freelance work.

1. Higher Productivity

According to one study, workers who are satisfied with their office environment are 10% more likely to strive for success and 8% more committed to their roles overall.

Your work environment should reflect the type of worker you are or want to become — someone who is creative, ambitious, reliable and detail-oriented.

Freelancers will find they are more empowered to work harder, remain self-disciplined and produce positive results in an inspired space.

2. Improved Health

Various studies show a cluttered remote workspace could lead to poor physical and mental health.

Although you’ll be exposed to fewer germs than at a traditional commercial office, you can reduce your chances of catching a cold or flu by 80% when cleaning your work surfaces.

Likewise, having minimal belongings around you will significantly reduce your stress levels and allow you to concentrate more intently on your tasks.

3. Better Work-Life Balance

According to a survey from, 60.1% of freelancers choose a more independent work style for greater flexibility, while 54.9% seek more autonomy.

However, most freelancers work longer hours than full-time employees at a company.

A designated, clean workspace — separate from the rest of the house — empowers you to step back from your job and concentrate on other, more important matters.

Commit to a workday end-time and shut down your devices for the evening.

This practice allows you to spend more time with loved ones, practice self-care, and lean further into your passions and hobbies.

4. Greater Professionalism

The COVID-19 pandemic may have quieted since global lockdowns kept workers at home, but employees reported sitting in on 60% more virtual meetings in 2022 than in 2020 — averaging five to eight weekly.

As a freelancer, you might jump on videoconference calls more frequently than other remote employees.

Imagine your client’s perspective of signing onto a video call to discuss an assignment and staring at a cluttered, messy bookcase in the background.

Maintaining a clean workspace is best for appearing more professional and reducing distractions for yourself and others.

Visualize how you would keep your desk neat and clean at a regular office and strive for a similar aesthetic at home.

5. Stay Organized

You must stay organized to succeed as a freelance professional. Ensure everything in your home office — from your devices to your pens and paper clips — has a place.

When you clean your workspace for better organization, you’ll prevent losing important information or work you’ve conducted for clientele.

Likewise, you should maintain an organized desktop and inbox with appropriate folders and file names to search for digital items more quickly.

Tips for Cleaning Your At-Home Workspace

Understanding why a clean workspace is crucial for freelancers is one thing, but implementing organization strategies is another. These three essential tips for cleaning your at-home workspace will allow you to achieve structure and success.

1. Create a Schedule

You touch a lot of items throughout the day working from home.

As such, you’ll want to make cleaning part of your workflow. Spend a few minutes at the end of each day putting things away in their respective places.

You might also schedule a particular day once weekly or monthly to deep clean and declutter your office. One idea is to keep a paper tray on your desk for miscellaneous paperwork.

Come Friday, organize the pile into the appropriate cabinets and folders.

2. Declutter the Space

You should declutter the space regularly, throwing away anything that no longer serves a purpose.

This could include old paperwork, writing utensils, and items obstructing your workflow and desk area.

Invest in a paper shredding machine to dispose of sensitive documents and protect your and your client’s information.

Likewise, strategically put items away so they’re easy to find.

3. Practice Minimalism

Embrace a minimalist mindset as a freelance worker to keep your workspace tidy and breathable. Consider the essentials of a comfortable home office.

For instance, freelancers will want an ergonomic desk chair to reduce back pain and improve posture during long workdays.

Other must-haves include a wireless keyboard and mouse for easy transport, dual monitors, a notebook, pens and Post-its. Limiting decor and utilizing multifunctional furniture are additional ways to maintain a clean work environment.

Productivity Hacks for Freelancers

Freelancers can always benefit from boosting productivity in a tidy workspace. Other organization-related hacks to increase performance as a freelancer include the following:

  • Tackling two-minute tasks immediately to clear items from your daily checklist — 48% of freelancers are highly confident in their planning and time management abilities.
  • Grouping like-minded tasks, such as calls and emails.
  • Investing in innovative storage solutions — like drawer organizers, file cabinets and bins — for your desk area.
  • Utilizing vertical storage space, such as bookshelves, open shelves and bulletin boards.
  • Writing checklists for your scheduled cleaning days.
  • Hanging a “do not disturb” sign on your home office door.

It takes a skillful professional and careful consideration to pursue freelancing instead of working full-time at a company. However, maintaining an organized, clean workspace lets you implement these productivity strategies easily.

Adopt a Clean Work Environment as a Freelance Professional

Take pride in your workspace and freelance career by keeping your work environment neat.

When your workspace empowers you to work smarter and more creatively, you’ll have a much easier time impressing clients with your abilities.

Cora Gold is a freelance writer and Editor-in-Chief of women's lifestyle magazine, Revivalist. She has been featured on sites including Mediabistro, Wrkfrce and Remote Tribe, covering productivity, mental health and organizational tips for freelancers.

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