I like to start my workday in a neat environment. It puts me in a positive mood as I can easily find the things I need to kick-start the day’s work. There are actually many benefits of being organized at work. For example, it will make you feel more in control and help you focus clearly, as well as pinpoint areas that may require more of your attention.
Furthermore, keeping your home office tidy will also eliminate distractions, save you a lot of time, help you remain highly productive, and ultimately position you for excellence and success.
Home Office Desk Organization
I have put together a list of work from home organization tips which I hope can be helpful to you in keeping your workstation neat, well organized, and positioned for high performance and productivity at home.
1. Keep only the things you use daily within reach and store everything else off the desk
One of the most common things that reduces performance and productivity in a home office is clutter. How often do you use the hole puncher, glue, and stapler that have been sitting on your desk? If you don’t need them every day, it will be better to keep them tucked away in a drawer instead.
Placing everything on your table, from the items you worked on last week to your pending work will make it very hard for you to locate the things you need to work on at the moment or to even prioritise. This could result in losing precious time searching and even missing deadlines! The best way to minimise this is to keep only what you regularly need at your workstation and the rest filed away.
2. Organize your drawers and cabinets
It is not just your desk that needs attention – your office storage and organization need a little work too. Categorise and place the items together in a drawer. For example, sticky notes can be put together with notepads in one desk drawer. A great organization tool for home would be drawer organizers for small office supplies like thumbtacks and paper clips.
3. Have a filing system to sort documents
Sometimes, finding a piece of document can be like searching for a needle in a haystack. Having a filing system for your home workstation is definitely helpful in creating order and reducing confusion. One of the best ways to do this is to have different folders for different types of documents.
Below are some ideas that can be useful in home office paper organization.
Create a folder for meetings:
Place all the items that are to be discussed in meetings in a folder with labels of what needs to be done. For example, there could be labels of the reports that need to be submitted or materials that are to be handed out. This will be useful in preparing for meetings and save you time and stress when it comes to prioritising.
Create a folder for those waiting for response:
Park the papers and reports that are pending a response in a separate folder. You can then check back on the outstanding items and follow up accordingly.
Create storage space for files:
For documents that you do not need to refer to regularly, you can reuse carton boxes to store them neatly away in cabinets. This helps to free up some desk space.
It is essential to control the mess by filing documents regularly before they start piling up. I recommend doing this once a week to manage the paper clutter in your home workstation.
4. Organize your computer too
Now that your filing cabinet and storage places are all organized, let’s not neglect your computer. Name all your files properly and create folders and subfolders to organize them. This will make it easier for you to find the right file on your computer, saving you energy and time. It is also important that you clear your computer regularly by deleting files that you no longer need.
5. Create a to-do list
Whether you are using a computer software, an app or a pen and notebook, come up with a running to-do list to ensure that you do not miss deadlines and appointments.
Before you start your day, have a quick look at the list so you will know what you need to be doing and at what time. You will also be able to then plan out the day’s schedule in your mind. I find that this really helps to set the tone for the day. For example, if I learn that I have an important meeting today, I will dress accordingly in the morning and be in super serious mode to prep for that meeting.
You should also set aside a few minutes at the end of each workday to review your to-do list, adding or removing items depending on whether they have been fulfilled or not.
6. Clear wire and cable clutter
Wires and cables connected to your computers and other equipment in your home office can make the place look untidy, unkempt, and unprofessional. Furthermore, these wires are workplace hazards as people can trip on them.
The cords should be kept neatly hidden away under desks or pinned along the wall. Twist ties or velcro straps are organizing essentials to bundle the excess cables or to bunch all the different wires together. Your workspace will not only look neat and tidy, it will also be a safe environment to work in. An added bonus is that you will be able to move around the office easily.
7. Clear your desk when starting a new project
A new project means new files, new paperwork, and new ideas. You would not want things from your previous project lying around on your table because this will cause confusion and time wastage when you are trying to find new materials for the new project.
File away documents from your old projects in an archive folder or storage box and start afresh with the new project. You will be more productive this way as you can find everything you need quickly and easily.
8. Minimise personal decorations
Although it is not a bad idea to have personal decorations at your home workstation, it is important to keep them to a minimum so that they do not make the office look like it’s filled with clutter. Remember, keeping the space open, clean, and neat at your home office will improve your motivation and productivity.
9. Have a rubbish bin nearby
This may seem redundant but you’ll be surprised how rubbish such as used tissue and snack wrappers can pile up on your desk when you’re feeling lazy to walk over to the dustbin.
You would not want your workspace to look unkempt from all the rubbish that has been left around in the office. Having a trash bin near your home workstation will ensure that you do not procrastinate and discard all your rubbish immediately.
Don’t forget to clear the dustbin at the end of the day, otherwise you may have cockroaches and lizards as your new colleagues!
10. Clean your desk regularly
Keeping the surfaces at your home workstation clean is important for your health, productivity, and performance. A clean environment creates a serene and positive setting that boosts your confidence, productivity and performance. Wipe your table and chair once a month to maintain a clean and stimulating environment.
11. Purge your home office regularly
Sometimes, offices become dumpsites for files and documents that are no longer in use. Therefore, it is important to purge your home office once every six months to remove obsolete items and create space for you and your ongoing projects.
Empty, shred, and dispose everything that you no longer need. Look around your home workspace and identify things that you no longer want or have not used in a while and get rid of them.
Don’t forget about the little things including decorations and plants that could be making your home office cluttered. If they are looking neglected and covered with dust, then it’s best to get rid of them and free up some space for yourself.
12. Does your newly purged workspace need to be rearranged?
After you have purged your home office, don’t stop there! The next step is to evaluate the layout of the furniture and see if it still works for you.
Sometimes, a change of scene will help to boost our performance, creativity, and productivity. Rearrange and optimise the position of your files, furniture, and equipment so that they are easy to access.
13. Segment your home office
Having different work zones at your home workspace can make things easier for you. Sometimes, your work could need different equipment, tools or spaces to help trigger higher productivity. For example, you can segment your office into a non-computer based workstation and a computer workstation.
14. Add some inspirational reminders to your workspace
It is important to stay motivated and inspired at work. Hence, consider having some inspirational messages on the wall or your desk to remind you of your dreams and goals. Balance is key. Don’t go overboard until your home office starts to feel like a museum!
15. Invest in comfort
This final tip is the most important one. We spend on average eight hours a day at work, that’s one third of our adult life! Given that we spend so much time at work, we should put in effort to make our workstation as comfortable as possible.
Invest in good quality chairs, tables, and other accessories that speak comfort. Trust me, you will be more productive when you are relaxed and comfortable as opposed to when you have been sitting on a stiff chair all day!
TL;DR? Here’s the list for a quick glance through.
- Keep only the things you use daily within reach and store everything else off the desk
- Organize your drawers and cabinets
- Have a filing system to sort documents
- Organize your computer too
- Create a to-do list
- Clear wire and cable clutter
- Clear your desk when starting a new project
- Minimise personal decorations
- Have a rubbish bin nearby
- Clean your desk regularly
- Purge your home office regularly
- Does your newly purged workspace need to be rearranged?
- Segment your home office
- Add some inspirational reminders to your workspace
- Invest in comfort
I hope these tips will be helpful to you in your journey towards a productive home office!