Let’s face it…work is work. Whether you work at home or away, there is the need for efficiency so you can get the work done as quickly and painlessly as possible. Each scenario has its benefits and drawbacks and, however you choose to work, effective office organization will definitely help you get the job done better and leave more time for the fun things in life!
A recent survey revealed that 25 million Americans work from home at least one day a week. If your workweek spans home and away, being organized is even more important so things don’t get lost between the two offices! Of course computers, laptops, flash drives, the Cloud—all these technologies help to keep work on track, but there is more to an efficient work space than what’s online.
Tailored Living® designers are experts with custom home office design for maximizing storage, functional organization, comfort and utility. Here are ten organization ideas that will help streamline and improve your work life.
1. Have dedicated workspace
Having a dedicated workspace at home makes it easy to focus on the work at hand. Setting up temporary quarters at the dining room table isn’t conducive to uninterrupted, productive time. Even a small nook in the corner of a bedroom, in the basement, or under the stairs can host a built-in home office that is dedicated to helping you get the job done. Realize that you may have to share this space with other family members (like with the kids for homework), but when you’re there, make it yours. Tailored Living can help design a multi-user home office that fulfills everyone’s needs.
2. Comfort fuels concentration
Have you ever been in a chair where you keep shifting and squirming, trying to get comfortable? No one can work like that. Ergonomics is the study of the relationship between workers and their environment, especially for comfort and functional design. Make sure that your desk is the right height for you and that your chair gives proper support. Otherwise, you’ll be thinking about discomfort instead of what you have to do. You can work longer and more efficiently in comfortable surroundings that cater to all your senses: proper lighting, moderate temperature, quiet atmosphere, and pleasant air quality.
3. Keep an all-inclusive calendar
The best way not to forget something is to write it down. Home and work lives intertwine, so one calendar that holds all appointments (doctors, kid’s school, client meetings, date night) will keep you totally organized. Whether you use a traditional Day-Timer or keep your calendar online, have ALL scheduled appointments consolidated so you don’t end up double-booking yourself and missing out on something important or fun. And then, don’t forget to look at that calendar every day!
4. Tidiness improves efficiency
When you can find what you need, completing a task goes much faster. This includes your physical desk top as well as on your computer. Just as a filing system will keep hardcopy files organized, use digital assets like online organizers to maintain information so that it is readily available and easy to retrieve. Reduce stress and keep your workspace free of clutter by using drawers or cabinets for paper, pens, Post-it Notes, paperclips, files, etc. With custom-designed home office space, you can even have printers, scanners, shredders and other equipment behind closed doors until you need them so work surfaces stay clear.
5. Purge non-essentials
Only keep what you need to keep. This is the clarion call of professional organizers everywhere. Don’t wait for tax time to get rid of old or unnecessary documents, purge as you go so files and storage doesn’t get out of hand. When a project is completed, organize and store the components you have to keep and discard the rest. If you purge as you go, there is less opportunity for clutter to accumulate, both for home records and business records. Use a shredder to prevent identity theft and to destroy any sensitive information. For the IRS guidelines on records retention, click here. You may be surprised at what you can get rid of today.
6. Use locking cabinets, files and drawers
Security is important in many types of business, requiring locking storage for sensitive information. Especially if you have shared space, being able to lock up proprietary documents eliminates the need to carry things back and forth, reducing the risk of losing crucial information. Custom office design for home or a commercial setting will allow you to incorporate sufficient security into your design, including safes and locking cabinets, drawers and filing cabinets.
7. Have tools of the trade handy
A functional office will have readily available everything that you need to get your job done. This includes copy paper, ink cartridges, telephone, pens, stapler, scissors, tape, highlighters, paperclips, tape measure, camera, scanner, fax machine, postage scale and more. You want to avoid getting up and down constantly to search out what you need. Breaks are nice and necessary, but they should be planned breaks for refreshment, not interruptions that disrupt your workflow.
8. Create a space you like to work in
Personalize your space with things you enjoy and that make you happy. A favorite coffee cup, specialty coffees and teas, family pictures, or framed art that transports you (momentarily) to Greece or Hawaii help to make your office a nice place to be. In The Sound of Music, Julie Andrews sang,” I simply remember my favorite things and then I don’t feel so bad!” Having things you love in your workspace will make the time you spend there more enjoyable and productive. A comfy side chair, lush green plants and a plush rug can make any office seem elegant.
9. Let there be light
Natural light is the Holy Grail of workspace, so you should incorporate it into your office design as much as possible. Position the desk so you get proper light from a window, and use window coverings that give complete light and privacy control. For example, solar shades let in natural light but block the glare, and blinds and shutters with adjustable louvers let you control the amount of light. Mirrors will enhance lighting and you can add desk task lights and stylish lamps where you need more illumination.
10. Monitor your supplies
Just as you stock a home pantry with essentials so you don’t run out, be sure you have the supplies you need for work, such as extra ink cartridges for your printer, batteries for any electronics, copy paper and presentation folders. Anything that would stop the workflow if it runs out in the middle of a project should have a backup supply available. This even means quarters for parking meters, postage stamps, and protein bars for when there’s no time for lunch.
Take control of your work life, don’t let it control you!
A little organization can go a long way toward making your job easier, whether in a custom home office or a high-rise building. Tailored Living can help with custom storage and organization solutions for both residential and commercial environments. Call 866-675-8819 (US) or 866-257-7231 (CAN) today to schedule a FREE, in-home consultation or go online to www.tailoredliving.com to find a designer near you. They can help with work needs as well as custom closets, pantries, laundry room design, garage storage cabinets, garage flooring and more throughout your home. Maximizing your home’s storage and organization with innovative solutions is what we do best!