Clean Desk, Clean Data, Clean CRM!

15 Jan 2024

It’s that time of year again! We just had national clean desk day on the 8th of Jan. You very likely took down your Christmas decorations and at the same time thought ‘I’ll just give the house a quick clean’. If you’re as disorganized as I am, you probably have a living room filled with items gifted to you over Xmas. Gifts you’re looking for new homes for… What I’m getting at is, it’s a cleaning time of year! Let’s apply that mindset to achieve clean data and a clean CRM!

So, don’t put that fluffy duster away just yet…

In this article, we are going to take a look at some of the problems you might face when you don’t regularly clean your data and CRM system. We’ll also give you some tips and tricks on how to stay on top of it all. And what OpenCRM can do for you to help!

First, let’s take a look at your desk!

We all know that being organized at work leads to a much easier life. How often have you been to talk to a colleague and ask for a specific piece of info, only for them to have to dig through mountains of sticky notes, loose bits of paper and general work debris? If you’ve not noticed this before, it’s very likely that person is you. So, let’s briefly talk about some of the hidden advantages of having a clean and organised workspace! (besides just being able to find stuff!)


Did you know, for example, that the level of clutter and mess on your desk can be directly linked to the level of stress you may be experiencing? And it follows that the more stressed you are at work, the less effective you might be when completing day to day tasks.

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And let’s be clear on this point. I’m not saying that having some organisation around your workspace will lead to net-zero when we talk about stress. We all know that stress at work is mostly inevitable. The point I am trying to make here is – don’t invite unnecessary stress into your workday! If you can start to minimize the things that stress you out and, therefore, impact your work, you can free your psyche to be able to focus more on the tasks that need to be completed.

And that leads us nicely onto the next advantage – FOCUS!


Studies have found that with a clean and organised workspace you are able to hold focus for as long as 7 and a half minutes more than our messy counterparts! If we add all of those extra 7 minutes of focus time up, that equates to a heck of a lot more work Mr clean is getting done over Mr Messy!

This goes hand in hand with another statistic. Those with disorganised desks can take, on average, 4 hours a week to find things they need within all that paper clutter! 4 HOURS A WEEK! So whilst Mr Clean is able to focus for longer, Mr Messy is scrabbling around to find those important reports or that customers phone number. Can you see a little better now how this can impact stress levels? I’m stressed out just thinking about Mr Messy’s desk hunting!

And whilst we’re talking about focus, it’s much easier to focus on your work if your workspace is conducive to just that…work! It’s okay to add a personal touch to your desk. We have plenty of folk here at OpenCRM with a picture of their family on their desk. Or the odd Funko Pop here and there. But if you arrive at your desk surrounded by all those enticing distractions you have at home, this isn’t going to be conducive to your mental attitude towards work.


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A hangover from the Pandemic, but, we spend a decent amount of time on a daily basis using hand sanitiser, washing our hands and ultimately trying to avoid bugs and germs. But how many reading this have thought about what an untidy workspace could be hiding? Well, I can tell you that studies have shown that office keyboards can have up to 7,500 bacteria!

A study funded by The Clorox Company found that dirty keyboards and office desks have more germs than most toilet seats. Catching COVID from your keyboard is going to be highly unlikely! But knowing you could catch a cold or the flu from that mucky, years-old keyboard and mouse mat should have you running to grab a disinfectant wipe.

As a company director or manager, those team members who take fewer days off are always going to be in a better position when a promotion comes around. In a managerial role, you would very likely assume a team member with a tidy workspace to be more reliable, more focused and more work-orientated. And from the information we have just covered, you would largely be correct!

For more facts and stats about having a clean workspace, click here and here

But how does that translate to Clean Data?

Now that we have covered some of the advantages of having a clean and tidy workspace, let’s see if any of that applies to your company data!

Data Stress

As we said above, we all dread having to go and talk to Mr Messy. That wait standing next to his desk whilst he picks through the paper mountain is painful. We can all agree that this person needs to keep themselves more organised. But what if the same was true for your data?


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We speak to a whole heap of companies looking to get more organised. That’s what a CRM system is for after all. It would shock you the number of times we hear complaints from those companies about how difficult it is to find the information they need. It might be as simple as a phone number for a callback. Suddenly, those team members are thrust into a stressful situation and a headache. They metaphorically have to stand next to Mr Messy’s desk and wait for him to find that phone number.

In reality, metaphors aside, they are combing through spreadsheets or diving into disorganised and antiquated systems. Or even sticking their heads into an old-school filing cabinet to find what they need! We also regularly encounter businesses that already have a CRM system in place. BUT it’s rammed full of duplicate records, test data that was forgotten about and useless bloat! This is data stress! And it’s 100% avoidable.

What’s the answer?

Clean that data! And make sure to stay on top of it! Unlike your house, your data needs to be kept clean at all times. Also unlike your house, it’s not a whole lot of use to have a once-yearly spring clean. Although this is going to be helpful, once a year is just not often enough. You need to make sure that your data is clean at the point of entry!

This can be achieved in several ways. One of the obvious ways to get this done is through staff training. Making sure your staff know what to do with your data means your whole team should be inputting things correctly. It also means you can minimize how much data cleansing you need to do once that information has been input.

Of course, I will now extol the virtues of a good CRM system. With a product such as OpenCRM you can quickly and easily clean that data if you need to. With tools like a duplicate checker and remover, automated workflow rules and the correct user permissions OpenCRM can really help to keep your important company information spick and span!

The answer to minimizing data stress as much as possible could be as simple as implementing an awesome CRM system (like OpenCRM ?)


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What about focus?

Before we talked about cognitive focus. Your ability to keep your head within the task at hand. But issues with focus can just as easily be attributed to an untidy CRM system or unclean data! We stated before that a clean desk means less distraction and a better ability to knuckle down. Well, your CRM system is exactly the same!

Imagine the scenario where you need to find correspondence from a client within your system. You head to that client’s records to view all associated email communication. But when you get there, you realise that client has 2 records. With half of their emails stored against record 1 and half against record 2. Not only will this be a pain to dive into, but you will also notice that emails associated with record 1 also include correspondence with a different member of that business. You start the mammoth task of searching and come across something that should have been attended to a week ago. Suddenly, you’re not focused on the task at hand. You’re thinking about how this could have happened, how it can be fixed and most importantly, dealing with that overdue task! As you can see, your focus is out of the window!

This kind of example shows exactly what a nightmare dodgy data can cause! Avoiding this kind of situation can be super easy!

Focus on the right things!

One of the big advantages of using OpenCRM as your business hub is its customisable and flexible nature. Training staff to use a CRM can be tough. Particularly when you’re saying every other sentence, ‘Oh, we don’t use that field, so just ignore it’. With OpenCRM you can customise your system only to show your users the fields they need. Gone are the days of constantly reminding staff to scroll past the useless stuff. Simply turn off anything that doesn’t relate to your business and reduce screen bloat. This, in turn, will mean that your team know all they have to do is work from field 1 through to field 10 and hit save. Rather than starting at field 1, then jumping to field 12, then on to field 22 and so on.

And with the ability to assign mandatory fields you can lock that data entry down even further. If there is a piece of information vital to EVERY record you hold, set it as mandatory. Your team can’t save and leave the page without entering it! They won’t be able to accidentally forget to scroll down and enter information into block 3. Because you have set up those mandatory fields!

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All of this is going to contribute to the ease of use of your OpenCRM system. It’ll improve focus, remove distractions and vastly improve what that data is worth to you as a company.

And the same goes for reporting! A huge advantage to a management team when using a CRM system is being able to report against the data you hold. Sales won/lost. Time since last correspondence. Even the number of sick days taken by a team member. All of those incredibly helpful analyses are ruined by dirty data.

By making sure you implement some data cleansing strategies (both when inputting and storing that data), you can accurately assess what is going on within your business. In short, it means your data is reliable and, therefore, incredibly valuable!

Data Hygiene

The last thing I will discuss today relates to the issue we raised above about those dirty keyboards. Don’t panic, you’re not going to catch the flu from your CRM system if your data isn’t clean…well not IRL!

Have you thought about your data procedures, though? Is your data security policy up to date? Are you importing huge attachments from emails into your CRM system? Do you really know what those attachments are? If you answered no to any of those questions, then thinking about data hygiene is a must for your business.

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What would happen if your business used a local CRM system. Rather than a cloud-based one. And one day, you realise your system is infected! It’s very likely this could cause hours, if not days of problems for you to have to sort out. You haven’t caught the flu from your dirty data IRL, but your local network is now coughing and sneezing everywhere! Your business has the flu!

The same could be said for data breaches. You can avoid this potentially toxic situation by simply educating your team on the importance of clean data and data security. And all you need to do is educate! Take a look at our blog all about data security here.

The ‘Take Away’

As you can now see, having a clean desk, clean data and a clean CRM system can really improve your business and life! The former is helping on a personal level to make your life easier. The latter is helping on a business-wide level, but the outcome is the same: to make your life easier. And who doesn’t want that?

If you’re reading this thinking ‘oh gosh, our data is still in paper format, it’s a nightmare’ you should reach out to us today! We can help. If you’re using a CRM product already that has not been properly maintained, again, give us a call! We wouldn’t be able to help you to clean up that data within your current CRM system. But if you fancy a change, we can certainly assist with that! Your data will be cleaned when we migrate you across to an OpenCRM system. And from there, you could implement some of the automated rules and helpful tools I mentioned above. We can make sure your new CRM system stays clean and stress-free!

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