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How to organize your office

In order to increase productivity and accuracy, your workspace needs to be well organized. Your environment affects how you work. A cluttered, messy, dirty, disorganized office will affect your work in a negative way. Even though you may spend the majority of your time in front of a computer, in order to have the maximum productivity your office should be arranged and organized for efficiency. There are many benefits which include the following:

A feeling of competence and control

Elimination of distractions

Efficient work flow

Sense of professionalism

There are several things you can do in order to create a more productive workplace for you and your co-workers. Many of these ideas can also work at home. You have to first believe in the advantages of better organization and commit to taking action to result in positive change.

1. Purge unneeded, unnecessary “stuff” — This can take several hours or days, depending on the extent of the things accumulated in your office. Everyone sharing the office space needs to sign on to the process.

2.  Revamp the “inbox” — A tremendous amount of “junk” is received in all offices. It ranges from junk mail to the really important documents. Everything should have a place to “land”. Have someone designated to sort through incoming mail and other material on a daily basis and understand the proper distribution process.

3.  Keep your desktop clear of clutter — There is much disagreement in this matter, as many people seem to work better in a disorderly setting. However, most people can be more productive with a clean, clutter free desk. Try an experiment of placing a mark on a document when you receive it.  Place another mark on the paper every time you pick it up again. Look at it at the end of the day to see how many times your handled the same piece of paper and didn’t take action on it. You will then realize how many times you handled the same piece of paper unnecessarily without taking action.

4.  Make a to-do list — This is a simple, easy way to get more organized and have a list of daily goals. Check off things when they are completed. Prioritize the more important duties to be done first.

5.  Use trays or drawers to place items used daily — Supplies are necessary for productive work. Staplers, rulers, paper clips, rubber bands, sticky pads, chargers, etc. are all the staples of an office. Have a place for these items to be kept rather than on top of your desk.

6.  Maintain properly labeled files — If your files are correctly labeled it will save time in the filing of documents.Have them arranged in alphabetical order, arranged by projects, divided by current and dormant, etc., for whatever works best for your type of business.

7.  Set aside a file or place for confidential materials — Pre-arranging a place for confidential information will save time when you are ready to set is aside. It will also enhance finding your most important documents when needed.

8.  Make sure your wastebasket is large enough — Ensure you have enough room in your wastebasket to dispose of all the discarded materials that are routed your way. Be careful not to place items in the trash that contain account numbers, customer information and other confidential information. Make sure it is dumped daily.

9.  Use a shredder — Have a personal shredder in your office or use a shred bin for the entire office/department where material is locked inside to be picked up and shredded.

10.  Use a calendar or scheduler — Being on time to meetings, finishing projects by deadlines, completing daily tasks, returning phone calls/ messages, ordering jobs or materials from other internal or external sources, etc. should be plugged into your calendar when the job needs to be done. Refer to your calendar/scheduler when setting up meetings or projects, making assignments, etc. to avoid conflicts and stay on target.

It may not be your nature to take the steps to accomplish all the above but it is necessary to create a functional, organized environment. Once it is done, don’t fall back into bad habits that build up clutter again. Whatever your system of productivity or method of organization, stick with it. Don’t delay taking the steps to organize your work space. The longer you wait the worse it will get. You may say you don’t have time to get better organized but the truth is you don’t have time NOT to do it. Stay late after regular office hours if necessary. Once completed you will feel good about your accomplishment and be set up for less wasted time and a higher level of productivity. You will simply be able to get more done in less time and set an example for others to do the same. Take control of your desk, cubicle or office, adapt it to your work style and needs, make adjustments as needed and make it more conducive to a higher level of productivity. It will help you be more successful and happy in your work environment.