Are your home and business offices drowning in clutter? To be productive in a work environment, it is important to be efficient and effective. De-cluttering is a fundamental step to achieving this. De-cluttering should start at the door to the office, and progress across the office space to the desk. Clutter can be found in all areas of the office, and not just on the desk.
When you first look through the office door, what do you see? This is what visitors to the office, and clients, see. Are you happy with the appearance of the workspace?
What zone are you in?
The office environment can be divided into zones, geographically, also in function. Offices have entry points, individual work areas, meeting rooms, and relaxation and service areas. Each of these areas, have a different aesthetic, and differing tasks occur within these areas. Offices also have functional zones, defined by their purpose. Some areas are for computer work, some for layout work, some for filing, other areas are more relaxed for discussions and debates.
When first entering the office, there should be a place to store over wear and umbrellas. If these items are carried to individual desks, they will create a cluttered look, and will be a distraction for the worker. This area can also make a client or visitor feel welcomed. If they can safely leave these items at the door, instead of having to carry them around, clients will feel valued.
Statistics show that 80% of filed documents are never accessed again, so selective filing should be a scheduled activity to prevent files from building up in the wrong zones. Depending on the size of the business the filing zone can be anything from a bookshelf to a large compress archive system. Simple equipment like ring binders are an incredibly effective way of categorising files and protecting them from the elements. These should also be a used in a file management system.
The Desk Zone:
The desk zone, whether in a private office or an open plan environment, is where workers will spend most of their time. If desks are cluttered when workers arrive at work, they will feel stressed before the day even begins. A survey by Brother indicated that 31% of workers felt increased stress when faced with a messy desk. By only using the desk for computer work, and using other functional zones when needed, desks should stay clear. Only essential items, like a pen and notebook, should be within arm’s reach. Useful office stationary should be kept out of site.
De-cluttering an office space, involves all these zones. Sometimes, it may mean, creating these zones for the first time in a meaningful way. Arranging the space, so that tasks are performed in the correct places, can make an immediate difference to office clutter.
Open Layout Zone:
Opening letters, signing documents, clipping items from newspapers can be achieved more easily when working on a clear and open space. These items can then be sorted and actioned immediately. There should be a minimal file system in this zone. Laura Stack, president of The Productivity Pro, a time-management consulting firm, recommends just three files labelled To Read, To Do, To File. This minimal system should keep files away from desks until they are needed. Items for filing can be taken to the filing zone of the office, for processing on a regularly scheduled basis.
De-cluttering an office is an ongoing activity and requires a minimalist frame of mind.