Stuck at Work? 6 Things You Need to Do This Week

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Robert Galbraith / Reuters

Since a lot of people take the week between Christmas and New Year’s off, if you are working over the holidays, chances are it will be slow. Experts say this is what you should do with that time instead of playing Candy Crush:
Clean your desk. Office desks carry more bacteria than toilet seats. Take everything off the top of your desk and put it in a box. Dust and sanitize the surface once it’s clear — and don’t forget to de-germ your keyboard and phone, says Scott Roewer, who owns organizing company Solutions by Scott & Company. Put back only what you immediately need on your clean desk and keep the other stuff in the box, he says. “If you need something, get it out of the box and find a home for it in the desk. After a few weeks, you’ll find the items that remain in the box are rarely needed,” he says. Chuck, recycle or re-home it.

Throw stuff out. “It’s a good time to clean your files and get rid of things you don’t need,” says Dale Winston, chairwoman and CEO of Battalia Winston. She says a good rule of thumb is to chuck anything you haven’t looked at in the past year, with the exception of tax paperwork.

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Shelve it. You’re probably not making the most effective use of any shelving space you have, Roewer says. “Deeper, reinforced shelves work well for boxes of files, cases of paper, or larger supplies,” he says. “Use smaller shelves that are not as deep for office supplies such as pens, staples, post-it notes, etc.” If you have lots of vertical space, use bins you can slide out to corral what you’re keeping there. Label containers so you can keep track of where everything is (which also comes in handy if you need to tell a colleague where to find something.)

De-clutter junk drawers. “Throw out the accumulation of marketing trinkets you’ve collected through the year,” says George Boué, an expert panelist with the Society for Human Resource Management and vice president of Stiles Corporation. With the junk gone, you’ll be able to use dividers or small containers to corral the office supplies and other things you need to keep.

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Reconnect with people. Yes, a lot of people will be out of the office, but you should reach out anyway, Winston says. “It happens to be a good time to reach people. If they are around, they, too, have nothing better to do,” which means you’ll be on the top of their priority list. And it’s not too late to email holiday greetings to anyone who slipped your mind until now, Boué says.

Tackle the stuff you keep putting off. “There is also always busy work — specifically, those projects that get put on the back burner because of too much daily work.” says Margaret Spence, a SHRM panelist and president and CEO of Douglas Claims & Risk. A low-key week is the perfect time to plow through some of those tasks, getting them literally and figuratively off your desk.