In many companies, 30 to 45 percent of employees work from home or are virtual workers. Telecommunicating is becoming more popular for several reasons:
- It gives more flexibility.
- Work is measured by what you do, not where or how you did it.
- Reduces geographic boundaries.
- Work in the environment that suits you best.
- Employees who telecommute are reportedly much happier (73%) than traditional office workers (64%).
With this independence however, comes responsibility. Create distinct work and home spaces to avoid distractions and achieve maximum productivity when working at home. Use the following tips to keep your home office organized and ready for each workday.
1. Create a Filing System
A filing cabinet can be one of the best ways to organize paper documents. Start with color-coding files. An example of this could be:
- Red – Admin
- Orange – Annual Report Filings
- Yellow – Contracts
- Green – Current Projects
- Project A
- Project B
- Project C
- Blue – Employment Records
Label these folders to suit your needs. These small details can bring a sense of order to your home desk.
2. Organize Your Desk Space
Your desk is the most important part of your home office. Keep it clutter free to create a less chaotic work environment. Here are a few tips to organize:
- Only keep necessities on the surface. Hang family photos instead of setting them on your desk or purchase a freestanding lamp instead of using a desk lamp.
- Designate a drawer for pens, pencils and other supplies.
- Position frequently used equipment and supplies within reach like the desk drawer or shelf.
- Give everything a home.
3. Throw It Away
At least once every six months reassess the items in your space. Throw away pens that don’t work, misshapen paper clips, old magazines, newspapers and outdated documents.
Bonus storage tip: There are certain documents that you can and should toss. After one year, toss monthly or quarterly investment statements, paycheck stubs, purchase orders, and requisitions. Keep mortgages, deeds, and loans that have been paid off indefinitely.
Employee files should be kept for seven years after termination of employment. Old contracts and legal documents will be kept longer than a sales account file for a client. If you don’t have room to keep these items secure in your office space, consider placing these important documents in self-storage.
4. Go Wireless
Technology allows us to go wireless with almost any type of office equipment. Purchase a wireless keyboard and mouse to help clear cable clutter.
Look for additional ways to consolidate multiple items into all-in-one solutions to save space. For example, some printers now include fax machines and scanners.
5. Straighten Up at the End of Each Day
Cleaning up at the end of each day is a good habit to start. Tidy up desk space, throw away scrap paper and store documents that still need completed in a designated spot. Create a clean and organized space that always allows you to work on the task at hand.
Have home office organization tips of your own? Share how you keep organized in the comment section below.
Image Source: Jeremy Levine under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic