A functional workspace is perhaps the most important element of business organizing. Everyone from the presidents of multi-million dollar companies to the assistants who keep everything running smoothly needs an efficient workspace. Creating an efficient workspace might seem like an overwhelming and expensive task, but it can be done, and doesn’t need to cost a dime. With a little bit of planning and by following these business organizing tips, you can turn your workspace into a place that allows you to be organized and productive.
The first step it to figure out what you do in your office, that is, what tasks are you doing most of the time. Do you spend a lot of time on the computer, or on the phone? Are you frequently using a scanner, or photocopier, fax machine or postage meter? Maybe a lot of your work revolves around research from reference books. Take a few minutes to really think about and write down how you spend your time.
Now that you know how you spend your time, you are able to arrange your workspace in such a way that the equipment and supplies you need are easily accessible. This step might take a little creative thinking, especially if your office has been laid out the same way for a long time, it might be difficult to imagine how it might work any other way.
Here’s an example to get you started – if you spend a lot of your work day sending and receiving faxes you should have the fax machine close to your desk, ideally in a position that allows you to access the fax machine with as little movement as possible. If you currently have to walk across the room to get to the fax machine, imagine how much time and energy this would save you, time and energy you can use to increase your productivity.
Another example is a person who spends most of their workday on the computer and managing a paper filing system. If this is you make sure your computer, keyboard and mouse are positioned in an ergonomic way to avoid strain and even injury. You should also position your filing system close to your desk, on the side that is most comfortable to reach while remaining seated if at all possible. You should also make sure you have a great filing system so that you can access your files with minimal time and frustration. A good rule of thumb is that if you can’t find any filed paper in five seconds or less you need to improve your filing system.
In addition to large furniture and equipment, take a look at the smaller office supplies you use regularly. If you are frequently reaching for small items like rubber bands, thumb tacks, paper clips, etc. try organizing your drawers with drawer dividers. Drawer dividers help keep your drawers neat and will help you quickly determine at a glance when you need to reorder supplies. Store supplies where you use them. Paper should be stored near the printer, fax cover sheets near the fax machine. Try attaching a pen to the fax machine with a strip of Velcro, that way you always have a pen when you need one.
Most people have several tasks that recur on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, such as phone calls, newsletters, etc. One simple way to keep track of these tasks is to create a tickler system. Used on a daily basis, a tickler system “tickles your brain” about action items. Keep your ticklers system within arm’s reach on your desk so that you don’t forgot to check it every day.
The foundation of business organizing is a well thought out, functional workspace. It doesn’t matter if you’re a high-powered executive in charge of hundreds of employees or an entrepreneur working by and for yourself, you need a workspace designed around what you do. Take a little time out of your busy schedule and make sure your office is designed to support you in being effective and productive.