We know that working from home is very different and can pose additional challenges when compared to working out of the home. This is because we are faced with the merging of our home and comfort space with our work and focus space which can be extremely overwhelming. We are using our homes differently now; many families have converted kitchens and living rooms to home office spaces if they do not have a designated home office. Many of us have an influx of papers and packages entering our homes now, which adds clutter to our spaces and unfortunately increases stress and anxiety. What seemed to be a temporary fix to work from home (WFH), now appears to be something here to stay. Therefore, it is important to create a WFH space – whether it’s in your home office or your kitchen, that is organized so it supports your success, helps reduce stress and anxiety, and boosts productivity and focus.
Here are 5 tips on how to organize your home office:
Although we are headed in the right direction to a greener life, there, unfortunately, seems to still be a plethora of paper that we must adhere to. Studies show, that paper is the number one lead to all clutter, so it is important to deal with this step first before it takes over your space entirely by simply decluttering and organizing. The challenge with paper and WFH is balancing our day-to-day household paper clutter plus now our work papers in the same environment. To get started with tackling your paper pile-up, use the system of THREES – sorting each piece one by one in a pile that is either going to be: shredded or recycled, filed away, or put in a take-action pile. If you have a mountain of paper this process may take a little while, but once you have sorted your paper clutter it is easy to maintain. A great tip for papers that need to be filed away is to make use of a color-coding file system. This makes filing and retrieving papers a lot quicker and you are bound to stay organized for much longer. Color-coding is not just for kids!
It’s important to find a home for all of your office-type supplies this way you know where everything is and you’re organized for your workday ahead. The last thing you want is to be frantically searching for a supply right before a zoom meeting! Using clear containers so you can see through them is a great solution, however, if you’re on a budget, you can also repurpose old jewelry boxes to make little containers to hold items in. You want to store like-item office supplies together like pens, paperclips, and highlighters in these containers that can be put out of sight. Next, use inserts in drawers to separate larger items like staplers, a hole punch, and post-it notes so these items are contained and not laying around your home. Finally, if there is space use baskets and bins for storing larger items like printer paper and files. Where you keep these containers and baskets will depend on your working from home space – if you have a home office you will keep them there, if you’re working out of a kitchen or living room, maybe you want to store containers on a shelf or in a cupboard where you know to find them.
Utilize wall space
This is often the one step people miss when organizing their office. Some of us may be working at a desk with limited drawer space and some of us may be working at a kitchen or dining room table with no drawer space, so we want to think about the vertical space around us. Use your wall space to hang filing systems, calendars, whiteboards, shelving, and more. There is so much more space available when you go vertical. Putting up a big dry erase calendar on the wall can be a great solution to maintain organization so you can visibly see what’s on the go. This also makes it easier to schedule meetings when you can see the month at a glance right in front of you. Even shelving on the wall can be a great alternative for storing files, binders, and extra supplies like printer paper.
Create a mail station
We want to declutter and control the paper coming in and out of your home office to help reduce clutter as this adds to our overall stress levels. Make a home for incoming and outgoing mail, mail to file, bills, and a folder for every family member. As soon as the mail comes in, file it in the mail station. Then once a week take a few minutes and go through each folder. Because mail enters and exits the home so often, using a letter tray or even a magazine folder for items that will need immediate attention like bills, and everyday mail, is a great alternative. For family member documents, file away in a file folder so it is organized but kept out of sight. The main goal with a mail station is to have a home designated for all documents and paper that will be entering the home. You can keep your mail station in your home office, or sometimes keeping it in a mudroom, or near the entrance of your home is helpful so you are reminded right away as you enter to put your papers in the station and not scatter them elsewhere in the home.
Though it sounds counterintuitive bringing beautiful objects into your office can be a way to organize your space. By surrounding yourself with items you cherish you are more likely to keep your space free of junk so you can thoroughly enjoy your pieces without the interruption of clutter. This could be a plant, fresh flowers, a family picture frame, or a candle – whatever brings you joy. We do feed off of our surroundings and our environment, so if you are surrounded by something you love or that brings you happiness you are more likely to enjoy being in that space and also keep it organized and tidy. Adding beauty helps make your WFH environment inviting and clutter-free.
Aside from being neat and tidy, home office organization will help lower your stress and anxiety levels. It will also give you a sense of control during a time where we feel limited control over our lives. It will also boost your productivity and allow for more focus on work tasks and everyday household tasks. These benefits truly contribute to your overall health and well-being which is critical that we look after especially during this time!
Learn more at: http://www.homorganizing.ca/