Trying to get your best work done in a cluttered office is like trying to have a conversation at a rock concert — it doesn’t work very well, and you’ll probably miss a few beats.
Though clutter may seem harmless, it can actually do some damage. According to the OfficeMax Workspace Organization Survey, workplace clutter tarnishes your professional image and may deter promotions.
If you and your employees want to do your best work and look good doing it, it’s time to kick the clutter out of your office.
Here are a few ways to de-clutter your workplace — no label maker required.
- Recycling bins: If your office isn’t full of recycling bins, it should be. Not only does recycling save trees and energy, but placing recycling bins in every room of your office will also eliminate extra paper piling up on desks.
Studies show that the average person wastes 4.3 hours per week searching for papers and other missing items, which adds stress and frustration to the workplace while reducing concentration and creative thinking. By making it more convenient to recycle paper waste, your employees will save time and be more likely to keep their workspaces clear.
- Cloud storage: Gone are the days of using giant filing cabinets to store all your records. Now’s the time to adopt cloud storage for your business. Unlike backing up files and documents in filing cabinets or on hard drives, cloud storage is more permanent and more reliable, and it takes up zero physical space.
There are many great cloud storage options for businesses, such as Dropbox, Appirio, or Google Cloud Storage. Other programs, such as HelloFax, allow businesses to store and organize incoming documents.
- Self-storage: If you want to save space and overhead costs, consider renting a self-storage unit. You can use it to store inventory, supplies, records, and other items you don’t need on a daily basis.
One company that had great success using storage units was Rock Bridge Brewing Co. in Columbia, Mo. The company started its operations in rented storage space, brewing its beer in a moderately sized commercial storage unit. The brewery has since outgrown its storage space and has expanded to other major cities in Missouri.
Get It Clean and Keep It Clean
Using the solutions above should help you reduce office clutter, but as any business owner or office manager knows, a clean office doesn’t always stay clean.
To keep your office organized, it’s important to make de-cluttering a team effort. Reorganizing an office affects everyone who uses it, and including your team in the cleanup will encourage your employees to maintain the fruits of their labor.
While you and your team are organizing each workspace, identify the main problem areas, such as the office kitchen, storage closet, and multipurpose room. Once you’ve identified these clutter magnets, make a point to maintain those areas on a regular basis (e.g., daily, weekly, or monthly).
Once everything is organized, encourage employees to take time at the end of each day to straighten up their workspaces. You can even designate the last 10 minutes of the workday as “cleanup time.”
Regardless of the size of your team or office space, you should make organization a priority. An organized workplace will lead to higher-quality work, increased productivity, and a greater sense of professionalism.