May 6th, 2014
It happens to the best of us: We have grand ambitions to set up the most well-organized, productive home office the world has ever known, but at some point, things get hectic, and we find ourselves facing a mountain of paperwork or a desk buried under office supplies. Fortunately, this isn’t a point of no return. You can get your home office back to its original glory (or maybe make it even better) by adopting certain habits and making a few design changes. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Adopt a filing system. Thanks to the internet and cloud technology, many businesses and individuals are able to significantly cut down on the amount of paper they use, but depending on your industry, you may still need to keep track of certain physical documents. If you have paperwork piling up, choose a basic storage or filing cabinet that you can keep in your home office, so that you can put papers away as soon as you’re done with them, rather than letting them pile up on the desk or floor around you.
Use a catchall folder. Interior designer Jessica McClendon wrote in Forbes that, for her own home office, she has a folder specifically for receipts, mail, and other paper documents that don’t need to be dealt with right away. In order to keep this folder from getting out of control, though, she sorts through it every Friday and finds the appropriate place or solution for each document. As McClendon does, it’s okay to group your home office clutter into one contained space, as long as you sort through it on a regular basis.
Install shelves. If you have limited space in your home office, the last thing you want is to start piling books and binders on the floor, or bringing in furniture you don’t absolutely need. Make the most of your space by installing shelving on an open wall.
Limit the distracting items on your desk. There’s nothing wrong with adding a personal touch to your home office, like a potted plant or a framed family photo, but don’t go overboard with the desk decorations. Remember, your home office is supposed to be a professional space that is distinct from the personal areas of your home. You want it to look good but not become distracting.
Bundle your cables. If you’ve got a lot of electronics and can’t go completely wireless, plug your cables into a surge protector and bind them together with a tie, clip, or Velcro wrap, then move the bundled cables close to the wall so that they don’t pose a tripping hazard.
Purge items you no longer use. Go through your home office and look for things such as broken pens, bent paper clips, and unused or broken office equipment. You might be surprised how much space you can clear just by assessing and removing useless items.
If you’re setting up a home office for the first time or just need help redesigning your existing home office for maximum productivity, you should call in a home office design professional. Alliance Interiors offers office interior design services that include planning the layout and acquiring the new furniture for your work-space. If you’re using your home office as your primary workplace, having a professional optimize it can be a worthwhile investment.
About the Author
Lynne Lemieux, Founder and President of Alliance Interiors Inc., has devoted more than 20 years of experience developing and implementing growth opportunities for some of Canada’s leading office furniture dealers. Her ability to provide clients with inspiring and versatile interior solutions for both business and home office environments has garnered her title of Aboriginal Business Woman of the Year in the city of Toronto for 2012. In her spare time, Lynne takes an active interest in politics, public speaking, and philanthropy, but also enjoys gardening, interior decorating, cooking, yoga, and traveling.