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In the age of the pandemic, the office and the home became one and the same. Overnight, gone was the morning commute, work attire, and being able to leave work at work. Not everyone has a clean workspace, and in the office, that’s okay. Night porters come and vacuum, and throw away the trash, and dust, and the company provides disposal services for all the items you don’t have time to think about. Now, you’re in charge of all of that in your home office.
It is crucial to have a separation between your home and your office spaces, but sometimes, with the layout of your home that may not be possible. What’s more is that no one expected to be working from home, so your home may not have been equipped to handle your office moving in at a moment’s notice.
In many cities around the world, offices are going to offer a hybrid between the office and home, so for the foreseeable future, you may need to keep that home office space.
Since the home office appears to be sticking around, here are some ways you can keep your home office space clean, organised, and a space of good energy to work and create.
Place Everything Where It Belongs
Everything in your office needs a place to live. Survey your space and find the best places to put things like staplers, files, pens, pencils, your computer, and your filing system. Once each item has a home to live in, make sure they never leave those spots. If you pick up the tape, put it back. If you pull an envelope from its place, put the rest of the envelopes back. Never throw things willy-nilly about where you will increase your chances of losing things or misplacing important documents.
If you have children, small hands very easily find things that fall on the floor or are left out, and that important report you need for your next meeting may wind up in a dollhouse, drawn all over, or your little helper may throw it in the garbage. When things are replaced to their proper location, you will know where all things are at all times.
The best office investment you can get for yourself is a label maker. Label makers are affordable and are worth their weight in gold. If you need to make your office readable with labels for everything you own, please go right ahead and start putting labels everywhere. Having the label in the place where an item goes will be a constant reminder that you should
replace your item. When you survey the area at the end of your work day and see a label without an item, you will be more inclined to find that item and put it back so that when you start a new day in the morning, everything will be exactly where it needs to be and you will have set yourself up for success.
Create a Filing System That Works
Whether it’s colour-coded folders, separate drawers, paper clips, or an entire filing cabinet, choose what’s best for you to stay organised and choose what makes the most sense for you. When you understand where things are in your files and why they are where they are, the easier it will be for you to get your work done because you won’t be wasting time looking for papers.
You can go to any office supply store and buy a filing system. You can get wire file holders where you can stack the folders and see each one at the same time. You can buy a filing cabinet with 2-5 drawers for keeping years worth of files organised and findable. You can also buy file holders that hang on the back of your office door or over your desk so you can organise what needs to be done and what has already been done.
Organise Your Workflow
Separate what needs to be done, what is in the process of being completed, and what has been completed. Mentally, seeing your ‘done’ pile stack up as your ‘to-do’ pile dwindles down boosts your motivation and keeps you working at a good pace to get everything accomplished. There won’t be anyone in the room pushing you along as you work from home, so this little organisation reminder will keep you going.
Get An Office Calendar
Having a day planner or agenda handy to keep your appointments, meetings, and deadlines in order and fresh in your mind is a great organisational tool, however, a wall calendar is a great backup. While you are sitting at your desk, you will have the opportunity to constantly cast your gaze around your office, always landing on your work wall calendar. Our personal agendas are great for keeping our personal lives organised, and our electronic cell phone organisers are great for reminders, but the wall calendar can be 100% dedicated to your professional appointments and you will never forget an engagement when it is staring at you in your face all day long.
Clean and Dust
Your workspace is a reflection of how well you can work. If your workspace is cluttered, you will feel cluttered and you will feel more likely to be lazy and not want to work. If your workspace is clear, your mind will feel clear, and you will have the space to create, be inspired, and get all the items on your list checked off. Pick two times during the workweek to dust and wipe down surfaces and remove clutter and old papers and documents from your office so that you can prevent disorganisation both physically and in your mind.
If you have a home office, a lot of the waste you produce cannot go into your normal rubbish or garbage. Trade waste is waste your business creates and it must be taken care of properly. Whether it’s documented that need to be shredded, machinery that needs to be thrown away, or old computers and hard drives that need to be cleared before you turn your old machinery into scrap, it all needs to be disposed of properly and legally. Have the number of reputable disposal services in your contact list so that you can schedule a monthly or bi-monthly cleaning of all of your business waste.
Empty Your Trash Every Night
Just like in your office downtown, every night take out the trash. When you end a day, throw everything away with that day so that when you come back to your workspace in the morning it is fresh and clean for a new day. Mentally, you will feel more ready to get things done when your space is fresh and brand new for a brand new day of taking charge and getting things marked off.
Plants and Flowers
Bring life into your office by putting plants and flowers around the room. The colours and energy that are brought to your space via a little bit of nature will keep your office feeling and smelling great. Plants take in the carbon dioxide we exhale and help freshen the air and make new oxygen for us to breathe. Having constant fresh air helps us think clearer and work better.
Paint a Bright Color
Nothing has a bigger impact on our mood than colour. If you come into a dank and dark room, you will find yourself constantly tired and not wanting to get much done. But, if you enter a room that is white or light coloured and bright when the sun comes in through the window, you will be more likely to feel awake, empowered, and alert. If your home office could use a new coat of paint, choose something that will bring you joy and make you feel ready to take on the world each morning.
Although your family is most likely in the next room and you can look at them whenever you want, having photos around the office can help elevate your mood while you are working. As you turn your eyes away from your computer screen to give them a rest, you can then look at photos of family and friends that motivate you, inspire you, and remind you of why you do the work you do. If pictures are not necessarily your thing, why not display certificates, awards and trophies that you are proud of in a trophy cabinet in your office? Moments like this cause a feeling of gratitude and when you are grateful for something good in your life, you will get more of that good coming your way. When you are at work, hopefully, that’s more money.
Although you may find yourself heading back to the office full time at some point in the future, these tips can be brought back into your office workspace to increase productivity and morale for yourself and everyone you work with. Your environment has a direct effect on how you perform at your job, and when it’s clean and full of good energy, you will be full of good energy too.