Whether you work at home as an independent contractor or for a company, having a well-organized office space is easier said than done.
If you get super busy with projects, before you know it, things start to stack up around you — files, coffee mugs, and everything else.
When everything gets messy and disorganized, it’s next to impossible to find anything. Suddenly you realize that you should have kept your workspace organized right from the get-go.
Not only does the lack of organization start getting to you, but it also begins to affect your productivity.
We get it. Keeping your office organized is a big undertaking. It’s overwhelming, but that doesn’t mean it has to be.
Here are five home office organization tips that will transform your workspace and make you more productive.
1. Define workspace boundaries
Many people often skip the step of defining their office space, but this is an essential step to the office organization process.
Even if you don’t have a formal room for your office due to the layout of your apartment, that doesn’t mean you should allow it to become disorganized.
Don’t allow the area where you work to become a catch-all for random pictures, books, family finances, etc.
If there’s enough space to stash a few of these items, it’s okay. However, if you expect to get any work done, the area can’t become the new hot spot for everyone’s extra clutter.
When your workspace becomes a jumble of stuff, it distracts you from finishing tasks.
Do yourself a favor and create some boundaries so that extra supplies don’t “accidentally” end up under your desk or on your desk chair.
If someone you live with asks to stash a file folder or two on your desk, explain to them that you’re trying to keep your office organized.
Limiting your desk space to items that are necessary for you to get tasks done will ward off distractions.
2. Figure out how to work in peace
While some people like listening to music while they’re working, others find noise in general very distracting. Listening to your dog bark incessantly, the kids arguing, and a loud air vent can make it hard to get anything done.
That’s why it’s essential to find the quietest corner in your apartment so you can be more productive.
To be productive in a home office, you need to make sure it’s distraction-free. Try to set up your workspace away from the television and social areas.
If your desk has to be in a high traffic spot, set up a schedule with the people you live with that ensures you get some quiet hours.
Sometimes, the noise distraction comes from you. Make sure your cell phone is on silent and that notifications on your computer won’t go off. These noises can be just as distracting as loud family members who keep interrupting you.
If you can’t get away from the noise, mask it. Try noise cancellation headphones or a noise productivity app like Noisli.
Figure out how to work in peace, and you’re bound to make your office space a place where you can get important tasks accomplished.
3. Apply the right elements to create an ideal workspace
It turns out your surroundings have a lot to do with how productive you are.
A brand named Harry’s did a case study on workplace productivity. The study found that workers increased their productivity by 41% after the company improved their workspace based on their employee’s daily activities.
Through the discovery process, the brand decided exactly how many rooms were needed, such as chat rooms and lounge areas, to increase employee productivity. After the remodel, Harry’s felt their framework process paid off because it increased everyone’s productivity exponentially.
So what elements should you implement near your workspace to increase productivity?
Putting a couple of plants near your office can make you happy and more productive. The extra oxygen helps too.
Another way to improve your mood and get things done is by controlling the lighting.
Poor light quality can cause stress and eye problems. Proper lighting can reduce anxiety and improve your mood.
Get rid of the harsh lighting from fluorescent lights and instead, replace them with natural lighting. Natural lighting leads to better concentration and mood improvement.
Lighting and plants aren’t the only methods you can use to maintain a productive work environment.
Also, consider your workspace’s ergonomics. Ergonomics dictate how well you can work at your desk with your computer.
It’s essential to set up an environment that’ll help you stay focused and prevent health issues such as fatigue and back pain.
Select the ideal desk height and invest in an ergonomic office chair with lumbar support, armrests, and the right seat depth.
Apply these elements to your home office to stay healthy and productive.
4. Organize office cords
This office organizational tip is relatively simple but necessary.
Do you have a bunch of tangled cords in your office?
If the answer is yes, then they’re probably bothering you every time you enter your office and see them there, all tangled up in the corner.
Sorting out a snarled mess of cords might not seem like a priority right now. But imagine that day in the future when you need to swap out a cord or the internet isn’t working and you don’t know which wire is which.
This leads us to the solution to this problem, which is to not only untangle the wires and cables but label them. Untangling cords and investing in some functional ties will help keep them organized.
Additionally, labeling cords will help you know which one is which.
Here are a few creative ways you can label cords:
- Use a printed label and stick it to the cord
- Put a label on a binder clip, loop a cord in each clip, and attach the clips to the edge of your desk
- Use a permanent marker on a piece of tape and write down which device belongs to which cord
5. Take time to organize once a week
Now that you’ve worked hard to get your apartment office in tip-top shape, keep it that way!
Set a day once a week when you take half an hour to put everything away or back where it belongs. Toss things you don’t need, organize your desktop and surroundings, and clean.
If you meet with clients in your home, that is all more reason to work on having a well-organized workspace.
However, don’t over-organize.
Once you get the hang of keeping the space where you work tidy, you may get tempted to over-organize. Not everything needs its own tray, bin, or divider.
It’s vital to find a balance between organizing everything and taking it to the extreme.
By taking some of these steps, you’ll develop a happier and healthier work environment.
The apartment office should be a special place where you can focus on getting quality work done in a well-organized space.
Putting these tips into action can help you create a minimalist office space that makes you focused and happy.
An organized workspace leads to higher productivity, so get after it!
Janine Palatucci has recently joined Alliance Residential as Business Manager for 360 Huguenot. She is an experienced manager with a demonstrated history working in multifamily and hotel hospitality. Janine has industry experience in New York City, Westchester County, and South East Florida Markets. She is passionate about her work and consistent in providing a welcoming environment for her team, residents, and community.