In the past year, thousands of Ontarians have turned their spare bedrooms, living rooms and random basement corners into home “offices”. With on again, off again lockdowns and some organizations transitioning into permanent remote work, those workers at home are finding permanent solutions to their home office. We wanted to help with the transformation with tips to organize your home office.
THE EFFECTS OF A MESSY OFFICE
Researchers have proven that a messy office, especially your desk leads to a messy mind. Our ability to focus and process information decreases as the clutter around us increases. An untidy desk also causes anxiety, guilt and raises stress levels. It’s officially time to declutter!
MAKE YOUR DESK WORK FOR YOU
Remember, your desk is the heart of your home office. Anything on or inside should be deserving of the space it’s taking up. Start with a purge. If you’re like me and have a rainbow of sticky notes, reminders, and other papers on your desk, file or trash them.
Think about raising your computer monitor. This will make working at the computer easier on your neck by having the screen at eye level, but it also gives you extra surface space on your desk.
Don’t forget about space under your desk. If you don’t have much room for storage, filing systems, or office supplies can be stored underneath. While you’re down there, take the time to control your cables. There are a variety of cable trays and holders that make it easy to find something to match your set up.
You may find it easier to organize and control clutter if you maintain designated stations. A mail station for example will help you manage incoming and outgoing mail and separate your household bills and files from your work mail. A printing station can house ink, paper, staplers and more.
Our eyes are quick to focus on colours we’re looking for. Create an organizational system using colour coded folders, project jackets and legal sized envelopes. This can be taken a step further by using matching coloured pens on calendars and white boards.
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF WALL SPACE
By building up, you’re maximizing your storage space while keeping files and office supplies tidy. Choose an attractive and sturdy shelf such as this bookcase with a cinnamon cherry finish. Store your most used supplies in the middle so they’re easy to reach. Bulletin boards are also a great place for current notes or reminders.
Digitizing your files can be a big project but it will help eliminate a lot of paper and clutter. Plus, when the project is done you’ve created a system to continue digitizing, to help prevent clutter and old files from piling up again.
NIP CLUTTER IN THE BUD
Evaluating your desk and office space at the end of every week will help save you from having to take on large organizational projects again. It might help to motivate you if you keep in mind that organizing your home office isn’t just how your workspace appears to house guests, colleagues, or clients. It’s also about how your office makes you feel. Your increased productivity and mental clarity will help confirm your efforts weren’t wasted.
The effort you put into building a tidy workspace will pay off in a big way. The key is to nip clutter in the bud. Evaluating your desk once or twice a week to see what can go, will mean you don’t need to take on any big organizational tasks again, anytime soon.