Working from home? Here are our top tips on how to organize a home office so work can be done productively. A decluttered and organized home office helps keep a healthy business outlook.
As more people work from home – freelancers or telecommuters – setting up an organized home office can be a challenge, along with keeping up the business itself. Also, there are the family and work space area concerns to reckon with.
Whether work is done in a dining room corner, in the garage, or a spare bedroom, staying organized remains one of the challenges of a small business owner.
There can be a real tendency to take filing and organizing for granted since the priority is to deal with the more important aspects of marketing and customer management.
However, being disorganized especially with filing can become a struggle on its own. What happens when needed documents or “little” office things can’t be found just when they are needed most?
A cluttered desk and chaotic filing system disrupts time, energy, and focus, and in the long run, money. It also decreases productivity.
Here are simple tips to organize a home office:
Throw out Unnecessary Old Papers
Piles of old magazines and dated newspapers not only occupy space, they also invite dust. A dedicated space is needed for the home office. Are these old papers still needed?
Sometimes papers and other documents are saved because you just don’t know if you will need them in the future. In cases like this, these papers should be filed in a separate box or stackable file tray, called “unsure trash.”
All others considered trash are tossed in the real recycle bin or are run through the paper shredder. The “unsure trash” file tray should be revisited and emptied every few weeks.
Important documents that are hardly ever needed (but need to be saved) can be stored in a sturdy stackable file box. Stash it out of sight in a closet. Close enough to get to when needed, but not at all in the way of daily work.
Tackle the Piles of Stuff
You might not get every paper and pile organized in one sitting and that’s all right. But spend even a half hour every single day and keep straightening things up.
It’s a matter of doing it regularly each day, until the whole pile is completed. There’s a great feeling of fulfillment once it’s done. And once it’s done, keep it that way.
Organize papers into categories and get a filing system started. Use file folders – a single two drawer filing cabinet can hold a lot of information. Use that to your advantage and keep your papers organized and off your desk.
Keep Only Necessary Items on Your Desk
Items used daily obviously belong on the working desk. The laptop computer, pens, note and message pads, and anything else that is part of daily tasks stay.
Other items such as calculator, stapler, Scotch tape, and so on should be stored in a desk drawer. They are handy to get at, but not in the way when not needed.
Supplies should not be stored in the working desk. Keep all supplies like computer paper, extra pens, and file folders in an attractive storage cabinet close by.
If a shelf is available, reference books are placed there for easy reach when needed. The shelf should be near your desk but not in the way.
Maintain a Separate Business and Personal Work Space
This is one of the most important aspects when you organize a home office. Keep work and personal life as separate as you can.
Personal paperwork like household bills, magazines, holiday brochures and other personal effects should be filed separately from business.
They have no place in the work desk area and keeping these things completely separate goes a long way to getting used to using your home office only for work. Which is the way it should be!
It’s a wonderful feeling to have the right item in hand when needed simply because a home office is organized. A tidy and organized home office stimulates a smooth-running business.
Keep your Home Office Tidy and Clean
Once a week, give your entire work space a good dusting. Clean your computer screen, run a cloth over your desk and chair. Water your plant if you have one.
Organizing a home office brings so many benefits. Not only will you be able to find needed items easily, you will be under less pressure simply knowing that everything is in its place.
Decluttering your home office doesn’t have to be overwhelming. But, start today. It really will help you every single day when you work from home.
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