Office Organization Hacks: How to Organize Your Office for Maximum Productivity
Scattered paperwork, mountains of folders, coffee rings tattooed on documents, icons littered on computer home screens — hearts race at the mere thought of such a disorganized workspace. How are you supposed to do routine workplace things like find client paperwork or uphold a professional image amid this chaos?
In this post, we will let you in on office organization tips and tricks that will boost productivity, generate higher-quality work and improve employees’ physical and mental health.
The Benefits of Office Organization
If you’re like the average employed person, you spend a good majority — at least eight hours — of your weekday working. The ideal way to spend those hours is by working hard and growing your career, not by fishing through jumbled paperwork or searching for an email you accidentally deleted.
Office organization means more than just keeping your desk clean. It’s a group effort, including cleaning and organizing areas like communal spaces, storage closets and lobbies. Consider these advantages of an organized office.
Reduced workplace accidents: Disorganization breeds workplace accidents, like spilling a cup of coffee on essential documents, developing a computer virus or tripping over clutter. Lower the possibility of these mishaps by staying organized.
Less wasted time: It might not feel like it, but the time spent searching through paperwork and cleaning spills adds up. And, the messier the office, the more time you’ll waste navigating the mess. Getting organized will reward you with even more productive hours in your day.
Faster computer processing speed: Like your desk, your virtual office — often full of emails, documents, folders, bookmarks, photos, etc. — needs a good purge, too. Eliminating the added weight from your computer will speed its performance.
Increased productivity: The common denominator to these benefits is increased productivity. Feeling less stressed, spending less time navigating messes and using faster equipment makes it easier to perform your job, enabling you to produce higher-quality work.
The benefits of workplace organization are evident, but how can you take maximum advantage of them?
Employee Tips for Organizing Your Workspace
Workplace organization starts at your desk. Most employees have two working worlds — their physical desk and computer. Here, we’ll provide employee office cubicle organization hacks to improve your focus and productivity throughout the workday.
At Your Desk
Your desk is your control center. It houses your computer, documents and other workplace necessities critical to your daily performance. Starting at the surface, three ideas on how to organize your business office desk are as follows.
1. Get Your Layout Right
Desk organization is highly personalized. Pay meaningful attention to what you use and how you use it, and rearrange your layout to best reflect your working rhythm.
For example, right-handed employees generally prefer keeping their writing utensils on their right side so they’re easy to reach, and put their coffee mug on the left so they don’t accidentally knock it over when grabbing a pencil.
Other generalized ways you can enhance your desk layout for productivity include:
Favoring natural light.
Adding plants and other greenery.
Investing in an ergonomic work chair.
Using noise-canceling headphones.
Your goal is to maintain a clean desk to make room for actionable working, which may mean a few sacrifices.
2. Keep Only the Necessities
Now is the time to ask yourself the hard questions. Do you need six black pens, or an in-office wardrobe packed full of just-in-case umbrellas and jackets? Unnecessary cubicle items take up space and contribute to distracting stimuli.
Keep only the necessities on your desk, like:
If you determine some items are still useful, but aren’t quite necessities, keep them in a nearby storage compartment for later use. Organizing these items in office furniture keeps your immediate work area — and mind — clear and allows for easy access when the need arises.
3. Avoid Too Much “Meaningful” Clutter
One of the advantages of having a dedicated cubicle or workspace is getting to personalize it. Personalizing your workspace keeps you motivated and comfortable in your environment, but having too many meaningful items can have the opposite effect.
On your desk, try to limit yourself to two or three valuable items, such as:
Sticky notes with personalized messages.
Books or other publications.
Some employees may find it challenging to rehome their essential items. If you find yourself in this scenario, consider designating a cabinet drawer for mementos, which you can revisit to refresh your workspace motivations
On Your Computer
Many employees find themselves working in front of a computer for hours on end during their workday. Without computer organization, employees spend more time navigating digital clutter, taking away valuable working time.
Consider these digital workspace organization tips and tricks to keep your navigation smooth and efficient.
4. Use Different Browsers
Browsers allow you to separate activities. You can personalize each browser to different tasks, each with a unique history, password memory, bookmarks, linked accounts, etc.
You may find yourself balancing personal, client-based and workplace accounts under one browser. Separate these accounts into three different browsers, consequently filtering information and allowing you to prioritize your workday.
A tip — become even more efficient by creating a desktop shortcut for each browser you use.
5. Take Advantage of the Bookmark Bar
Odds are, you have a morning workplace routine. Greet your co-workers, put your lunch in the break room fridge, grab a cup of coffee and join the occasional morning conversation before you dive in for the day.
You have a digital morning routine, too. Check your email, look at the weather forecast and read a few inspirational quotes to start your day. Store these routine webpages in your bookmark bar for easier, faster access.
Outside your morning webpages, bookmark your other frequently trafficked sites like:
Ideas to explore in your next meeting.
Digital memorabilia, such as an e-card.
Remember to organize these bookmarks into labeled folders so your bookmark bar, located at the top of the screen under the address bar, doesn’t become cluttered.
6. Organize Your Email Daily
For some employees, checking email is a time-consuming task. Research suggests people send and receive an average of over 120 business emails every workday, which doesn’t account for other traffic like spam emails.
Make organizing your email a daily routine and take back control of your inbox. Create an organization system that works for you and is easy to remember. For each email, consider the FAST system.
File it: Is this email worth keeping? Familiarize yourself with the filing categories available on your email platform and choose accordingly.
Assign it: Does anyone else need to see this? If so, forward them a copy or relay relevant information and consider it checked off your to-do list.
Store it: Is this email worth keeping, and will you need it again soon? An example of an email worth saving is client-based information you’ll find beneficial in the future.
Trash it: Do you have no more use for this email? Likely, you don’t need a grocery coupon in your business email. Delete these messages and free up your inbox for more relevant emails.
Avoid letting your email consume your work time. Dedicate times of the day, like first thing in the morning, to email organization.
Manager Tips for How to Help Employees Keep Their Desks Organized
Managers establish workplace expectations by acting as an example. If you want your employees to maintain an organized space, it’s best to keep your work area clean, too. Consider the following four office organization tips for managers.
7. Communicate Your Expectations Clearly
Take time to outline the importance of office organization to your employees. Create an office-wide organization plan, and communicate your organizational expectations with these ideas.
Personalize the “why:” To motivate employees to make a significant change, emphasize the benefits they’ll receive. Explain why your team should care about having a clean, organized workspace.
Repeat your expectations: Habits won’t change in a single meeting. Settling into the organizational flow will take time, so offer gentle reminders and encouragement when necessary.
Listen to your employees: Welcome feedback from your employees. Show them how much you appreciate their feedback, and strengthen or adjust your office organization plan as you see fit.
Solidify these expectations by putting them in writing. Send a company-wide email — which they can save in their email and bookmark bar! — and keep infographics posted throughout the office.
8. Establish Work Zones
Create a healthier organization workflow throughout the workplace by establishing work zones. Work zones will look different depending on the office and type of work involved, but most share these qualities.
Main workspace: Usually the largest zone, the main workspace is where your employees’ cubicles or offices sit. Employees should maintain their cubicles themselves. Aid in this self-managed cleaning by providing office furniture designed with organization in mind.
Supply room: Consolidate all supplies, like paper or pens, into one closet or room. Keep this area organized by setting black-and-white expectations on how people should interact with the supplies, such as putting things away properly and cleaning up messes as they see them.
Lobby: Lobbies act as the first impression for anyone visiting your workplace, including clients. Keep this area clean and inviting to provide a warm welcome to visitors.
One reasonable expectation to set for your employees is to perform tasks within the appropriate work zone. Establishing this working routine lessens unnecessary clutter and makes keeping your office organized a breeze.
9. Label Everything
How many times have employees interrupted your workflow to ask where something is? Even with the best intentions, these interruptions can waste time. Avoid these scenarios by labeling everything throughout your office, mainly in your supply room.
Of course, you’ll always have an employee or two who will always ask where to find the copy paper, but you can gently guide them to the supply room and encourage them to look for the properly labeled drawer.
10. Create a Physical Inbox for Employees
Plopping down a pile of paper or mail on your employees’ desks may lead to disorganized distraction. Instead of being able to focus on their work, they’ll be irritated by the sudden appearance of more tasks and added clutter on their desk.
Avoid these distractions by creating a mailbox outside the main workspace that employees can routinely check throughout the day. If you leave something urgent there, email them and politely ask that they check their inbox during their earliest convenience.
How Office Furniture and Design Impacts Organization
Your office furniture defines how employees operate. If your employee has an uncomfortable chair, for example, they’ll experience more painful distractions and feel underappreciated. In comparison, providing a comfortable chair keeps employees engaged and able to produce higher-quality work.
Improve your office organization with the right office furniture, which can:
Promote employee wellness.
Make a good impression on visitors.
Reinforce brand image.
Give employees furniture that encourages routine organizational habits. More specifically, look for office furniture that is user-friendly, innovative, personalizable and easy to clean.
How to Improve Organization With Arnold’s Office Furniture
Arnold’s Office Furniture has learned a thing or two about workplace organization after 90 proud years of operation. One of our goals is to provide businesses the tools to create a profitable workplace. Now, after decades of firsthand experience and listening to our customers, we’ve added office organization furniture to our list of products!
Here’s only a brief list of the many office furniture solutions Arnold’s can offer your business.
Filing cabinets: Find a safe home for your crucial business documents in our wide selection of filing cabinets. Files are easily accessible within your cubicle, and you can have peace of mind when you leave, knowing they’re secure under lock and key.
Overhead storage: A common workspace struggle employees face is not having enough space in their cubicle for proper organization. Using our overhead storage compartments, employees have more room within the same square footage to stay organized and focused at the office.
Magnetic whiteboards: As much as we love quirky messages on sticky notes, they can quickly lead to a rainbow of clutter. Magnetic whiteboards are organization solutions to this problem, where employees can also keep crucial documents and reminders within view.
Wardrobe cabinet: Finding a place to store wet raincoats or bulky winter jackets can be a struggle in some workplaces. More often than not, employees toss their jackets on the back of their chair and call it a day. Cubicle wardrobe cabinets provide a quick solution to this clutter, and provide bonus space for storing other items.
In addition to these organization solutions, we offer a wide variety of desks, chairs, conference room accessories and reception furniture to enhance your business’ appeal and flow. Whatever your office furniture goals are, we look forward to helping you reach them!
Contact Arnold’s Office Furniture to Design a More Organized Office
Organization plays a pivotal role in an office’s functionality. At Arnold’s, we want to help design your office with innovative furniture that makes getting organized a breeze!
We’re proud to be the sole authorized dealer of Sunline cubicles, a modern-day reinvention of the common cubicle. You can outfit Sunline cubicles with a ton of organization accessories — like filing cabinets, overhead storage, magnetic whiteboards and wardrobe cupboards — to meet your employees’ unique organizational needs.
Alissa has over 25 years of experience in the office furniture industry. For many of those years, Alissa was a Senior Interior Designer. She then took her love of design and working with customers to the sales realm and has been dedicating her knowledge there ever since. Learn more about Alissa!