Working from home is quickly becoming our new normal. Home office organization, on the other hand, might still need to play catch-up.
All over the world, businesses are discovering that remote work can make teams happier and more productive — all while reducing bottom-line costs.
However, if you’ve been working from home for any length of time, you’ve likely encountered some challenges. For example, keeping your home office clean and organized can be difficult.
By implementing a few simple strategies, you can keep your home office in better shape and experience less stress as a result. Listed below are a few simple tips.
1. Commit to a regular cleaning schedule.
Effective home office organization requires that you commit to a regular cleaning schedule. Certain organizational tasks should be performed daily, while others can be handled weekly or monthly. What’s important is that you design a schedule that works for your space and your needs and that you stick with it for the long term.
Daily, take a few minutes to declutter. Take disorganized items in your immediate environment and properly sort and store them. If there are papers or other items you no longer need, get rid of them. These can accumulate over time if you’re not vigilant.
Occasionally, you may need to change your organizational systems or add new systems to cover new needs. For example, you may need to invest in a filing cabinet or change the layout of your current cabinet to accommodate your changing needs. You might also need to upgrade your home office tech.
At least weekly, wipe down common surfaces such as your desktop and your computer monitor. This prevents the buildup of dirt and dust and keeps things looking shiny.
Consider investing in a carpet cleaner and give your office floor a deep clean at least twice a year. It’s also a good idea to move furniture, clean the walls, and tackle other deep-cleaning jobs.
2. Don’t buy more than you need.
One easy strategy for home office organization is to avoid buying more than you need. It might be tempting to buy staples in bulk or invest in a new shelf before you truly need it. However, if you have too many useless items, it will clutter your space. Adopt — and maintain — a minimalistic mindset. Doing so will make it much easier to keep all your things in their proper places.
3. Cut back on paper and tangible supplies.
Going paperless is a beneficial move for both cost-efficiency and environmental friendliness. Of course, it’s more challenging to pull off than it initially seems. You’ll still need at least some paper for some tasks. That said, you can probably cut back on paper and other tangible supplies, focusing more on your digital work. The fewer items you have to store, the less likely your office is to become cluttered.
4. Invest in proper storage solutions.
For old papers, backup devices, and other supplies, home office organization will require you to invest in good storage solutions. Piling everything up on the side of your desk isn’t a good look. It’s much more effective to keep them stored in a cabinet, a drawer, or a shelf. Spend some time sizing up your current storage needs and estimating what you’ll need in the future. The more accurate your measurements, the more useful the furniture you buy will be.
5. Create purpose-specific stations.
Make efficient use of your space by creating separate stations for different purposes. For example, you could create a printing station where you handle routine tasks such as printing, copying, and finalizing documents. You could also set up a note-taking or planning station where you set aside space to spread things out.
6. Get creative with home office organization systems.
There are many unique ways to organize the items in your office. No single system is inherently superior to others. However, one system might be better for your work style and personal needs than another. Consider systems such as:
Does it appeal to you to use a system of colors to easily differentiate between different documents, such as distinguishing between different clients? Colored folders work especially well for this aspect of home office organization.
Can you create a system of labels to visually differentiate between different types of items? An inexpensive label maker can make it easier to sort and store items properly.
7. Remove items at the end of the day.
At the end of each workday, give your office a quick once-over. This is a good chance to review current organizational systems, take care of stray items, and touch things up. That way, you don’t have to do these things after the clutter has accumulated or start the next workday surrounded by distractions.
With a cleaner, more organized office, you’ll feel better about your workspace and you’ll likely be more productive as a result. You don’t need to practice perfect habits, nor does your home office need to be pristine, but even a handful of good habits can put you in a better position to enjoy your work.