A well-organized office saves time and makes for a happier you — and happier co-workers.
Having to struggle through stacks of papers, jumbled drawers, tangled wires and boxes of stuff sitting around, may not seem like a big deal, but it’s a real physical burden when you consider the time spent hunting for things that should be easy to find, but aren’t.
Disorganized spaces can cause confusion and mental burden. Whether you consciously realize it or not, clutter may stress everyone out.
Here are many ways to organize your work spaces.
Get It Off the Floor
Go vertical with bookcases and shelving units. Vertical storage makes more efficient use of space and puts more at eye level.
Create “Activity Centers”
Put everything you need to complete an activity in one area, especially if you do an activity regularly. You will avoid wasting time looking for, and assembling, what you need.
File It, Scan It, Shred It
Don’t use your desktop as your inbox. Scan and file digitally as much as possible all the important documents. Shred and discard or recycle the paper.
A Folder for Everything
Documents that must be kept as hard-copies must be file in labeled folders. Have a folder for all paper documents. Pendaflex hanging folders, along with manila inner folders, are the inexpensive solution.
Wrap Computer Cords
Special twist ties and cord covers can keep things neat. Label your cords, so you can find the right one when you have to disconnect or move something.
Use Corkboards to Keep “Top of Mind” Items in Front of You
If you need to refer to a checklist for a task, or some kind of reminder, pin it to a corkboard right near your desk.
Store all Manuals in One Place
Ever need to refer to the operation manual for your printer? If you place all manuals in a dedicated drawer, plastic crate, or folder – you won’t have to hunt for them.
Create Divided Drawers
If your drawers don’t have built-in dividers, buy inexpensive metal or wooden dividers — or better yet, recycled plastic. Not only does an organized drawer save time, you’ll feel less stressed if you don’t have to dive into a jumbled mess several times a day.
Use a Labeler to Keep Shelves Organized
It’s not just files that need labels. Shelves and drawers can benefit from labeling them. That way everyone in the office knows the right place to return things.
Keep a “To Do” List
Mental clutter is as much an issue as physical clutter. Get items out of your head and onto paper (or an electronic list) so you can focus on the task at hand.
Do Weekly Maintenance and Clean Up
At the end of each workweek, put things used during the week back in their places. Shred or file paper stacks. If you don’t let clutter accumulate too long, it’s easier to stay organized.
Use a Central Cloud Location for Company Documents
A fantastic way to save time and avoid the need for everyone to set up their own “virtual filing” system is to use one central cloud location for company documents. Options such as Google Drive or OneDrive let you set up central folders by topic or client, to share documents.
Use Project Management or Task Manager Software
A project management system keeps employees on track with projects. More importantly, it eliminates paper to-do lists and email instructions, and confusion that arises from them. If you are not “tech savvy” use an excel system to manage projects among team members.
Scan Receipts and Store in the Cloud
Then you can discard paper receipts. With newer mobile apps you don’t even need a scanner – you just take a photo. With advanced apps you can sync up receipts with your accounting records or credit card records automatically (avoiding manual keying).
Use Browser Bookmarks for Quick Reference
Bookmark recurring reference sites or login screens and organize bookmarks into folders, so you can get to them in a couple of clicks.
Save Favorites Lists for Recurring Orders
Another time saver is to save favorites lists at online retailers you use regularly. That way you don’t have to look up the same supplies every time you buy. Sites like Amazon, and Staples.com let you save favorites lists, and it’s super convenient.
Archive Old Files
If you haven’t used computer files (especially emails!) in the past year or so, archive them. You’ll still have them, but you won’t have to wade through them to find current items. Consider setting a policy to delete archived files after a certain time, too.
Have Adequate Anti-Virus and Anti-Malware Software
Few things can cause more disruption and confusion than lost files, or lost time, due to computer viruses and malware attacks.
Use a Note Organizing App
Note apps like Evernote, Microsoft’s OneNote and SimpleNote can help you organize and store Web research and electronic notes.
Truly “Smart” Phones Are Time Savers
Smart phones used wisely save time and can make us happier. We may be able to escape the office for a family event without guilt, because we’re still in touch in case anything critical comes up. Have powerful smartphones with enough internal memory to run needed apps.
Automatic Sync for All Devices
Business owners and employees alike are using multiple devices — perhaps a desktop computer, tablet and smartphone per person, all in the same day. Cloud file storage or at least the ability to automatically sync files is essential to save time and avoid confusion from not having the most recent file.
Upgrade Computers for Memory and Speed
You may not even realize how much time is wasted when everything you do takes longer, or worse, freezes or crashes regularly. Last years’ memory capacity may be outdated now. So upgrade!
Those are some of my office storage and organization ideas. What are your best tips for organizing your office and taming the disorganization and clutter beast? Send me your ideas and I will post them in my website. [email protected]. Call me to discuss your organizing, janitorial and / or relocation needs.