Perhaps you’re one of the millions of Australians that has made a temporary or permanent move to home office during the pandemic, or maybe you’ve been working from home since day one. In either case, the importance of a clean, tidy home office goes a long way towards increasing productivity and maintaining a healthy working environment.
Below are five tips to declutter and organise your home office effectively:
Declutter Your Working Space
Today’s working spaces tend to be a lot more condensed and clean than in decades past. Bulky computers, fax machines, file folders and pencil holders are all a thing of the past for many workers and have been replaced by laptops or slim-form PCs and software packages that have rendered much of the 1990s tech more or less obsolete.
Nevertheless, it’s still easy to lose track of all those post-it notes from meetings held six months ago or file folders from projects long since completed on the desk in an unsightly mess.
Step one is to declutter your working space. Remove everything from the desk so you’ve got a clean slate to work with.
Focus on High-Touch Areas
Once you’ve cleared the desk, give it a good and thorough cleaning with some sanitising spray and a damp cloth. Then wipe the top with a clean, dry microfibre cloth.
Now it’s time to get cleaning on all the high-touch contact areas around the home office. Keyboards, your computer mouse, door handles, chair armrests and seating upholstery; if you use it frequently, clean it frequently. Germs, bacteria, and even mould can grow in neglected areas, so keep your work space hygienic.
Even with so much work now taking place digitally, loose papers and notepads are certainly helpful to have around the office for taking down notes quickly. One big problem with paper ‘towers’ accumulating on your desk is that many important documents can quickly become buried under a tower of less important documents, promotional flyers, etc.
Also consider data privacy and security. Sensitive data that has been printed out should not be left out in the open as this can lead to a costly data breach should it fall into the wrong hands.
Take the time to go through each and every paper on your desk and organise them into file folders, or for documents that aren’t needed, shred or recycle as appropriate.
Rearrange for Ergonomics
A big one for personal comfort as well as for promoting good posture and back health, keep everything you need within easy reach. The most important for most workers are the keyboard and mouse, but also consider where you place your telephone, headset, microphone, and stationery. If you use it on a daily basis, keep it in arm’s reach. If you seldom use it, keep it in a drawer or filing cabinet.
Buy & Use Organisers
As mentioned in step three for paper documents, keeping everything organised after you’ve finished cleaning and decluttering can be a challenge. If you fail to plan ahead, you set yourself up for another disorganised mess down the road.
Take the opportunity to invest in filing cabinets, drawers, and/or file folders along with labelmakers to clearly indicate each type of file you intend to keep. By having such a (simple) system in place, you are also able to keep the desk free of clutter in the future since anything that doesn’t belong should be discarded.
Remember to dispose of documents containing sensitive data in a compliant manner, such as with a shredder.