If you’ve never had an office before, and you’ve been working out of your home, figuring out how to create an office from scratch and have it say all the right thinks about your business can be a challenge. But for businesses who have been in their office space longer, and are not starting from scratch, have an even bigger challenge when it comes to creating a clean and productive space, and breaking all the bad habits they have accumulated over the years.
So how do you make the most of your office space (old or new), without spending too much money and valuable time fixing up the space to suit your needs?
Office Space Layout
When it comes to layout and furniture, less is more. Take measurements of your office space and be aware that even though the measurements may say that the desk or file cabinet will physically fit in the space provided, that doesn’t mean that it should fit. A clutter problem in the office can often be because of too much bulky furniture. So instead of bulk, look for functional, more streamlined furniture.
Stores like IKEA, or other furniture providers, offer desks and pieces of furniture that can be mixed and matched for individual needs in different spaces so that you can ensure your making the most of your office space. And keep in mind that while your business may be small now, as you add employees you may need to get more office furniture into a smaller space.
Once you have your desks picked out and arranged to make the most of your space, it is important to determine how to utilize your actual desk space for maximum productivity, and keep it looking nice and professional just in case a client happens to drop by unannounced.
Here are 4 simple steps to a cleaner desktop:
1. Be Minimal
The less you have on your desk, the easier it is to look professional. Choose to only have a few key items like your monitor, keyboard, mouse, and a few personal touches, like special trinkets from trips or family photos, that make the space look lived in and inviting. Minimal is trendy, you know.
2. Have a Hidden Space
But what about all those unruly notepads, pens, and paperwork? That’s why you need a drawer or cubby of some sort that is designated to things you use daily, or paperwork that is related to your current projects. This allows you to have a go-to spot that is out of sight for necessary items, without cluttering the top of your desk.
Bonus Tip: Out of sight often equals out of mind for the more forgetful of us. Designate a day every week (Friday’s are usually best) to clean out any clutter in that designated hidden spot, and file away paperwork. This allows you to start Monday’s (or whatever the next day is you come into the office) with everything clean, in its place, and ready to go.
3. Be Virtual
If you travel often or like to work from home sometimes, having everything on the cloud is essential to running your business smoothly and having access to everything you need on a daily basis. This also keeps your work space clean, because it means all your important information needs to be stored virtually.
This means you should:
- Scan Everything - Purchase a scanner/copier to scan in hard copies into your computer, and stress doing everything virtually as much as possible. If you must have a hard copy, have a well marked and organized file cabinet that contains any essential paperwork that you need.
- Input Business Cards - If you’re always receiving business cards from meetings and networking events, it is important that you input this data into some sort of software program that will allow you to keep track of your contacts in a more organized manner. That way you don't end up with stacks upon stacks of business cards.
- Take Notes Electronically - Love Post-It Notes? I do too, but that doesn’t mean I need to litter my entire desk with them. Instead, use your computer's built in desktop note taking feature or another note taking application to keep up with any notes you need. This saves the environment and saves you the clutter.
4. Designate Cleaning Time
At the end of every day, designate five minutes (or whatever it takes) to clean up your desk space and remove all your unnecessary items and put them back into place. This includes returning or throwing away coffee cups, dusting, and shutting down your computer. Making time every evening will mean you waste less time cleaning at the last minute or being embarrassed when you have a client meeting in the office.
While this may seem simple to some, keeping your desk space clean can definitely be a challenge for many personalities. Follow these steps and your well on your way to a better organized space.