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Home Office Organization
Home Office Organization: Tips for the Harried Homeworker
If there is a time to get your home office organized, that time is now. Work-from-home opportunities have increased over the last few years, providing individuals, partners and start-ups with a great way to earn an income and save on manpower and overhead cost. There are many benefits to well-planned and implemented home office organization that home workers can enjoy. With these simple, easy-to-follow tips, anyone can begin to take control and become more productive.
Plan the physical layout of the work environment
The manner in which the work space is designed plays a key role in ensuring smooth day-to-day activities. This is especially important if you have equipment, tools or gadgets that will be used on a daily basis or if the work space will double as a client meeting area. Plan in advance where to put the table, shelves, cabinets, books, documents and other office equipment to maximize available room.
If the work area is small, there are several home office organization techniques that can work remarkably well to create more space. Some tricks to try:
use a small console table as a desk
use multi-purpose equipment and tools (eg. a keyboard that has hidden compartments to store pens, erasers and paper clips)
use a desk organizer for keeping all the office necessities in one place
use small, streamlined or foldable furniture
utilize walls as storage areas - install shelves and use as a bookcase or display area
use stackable bins in place of shelves
What you can do to save space... lots of it
Have a place for everything. When every little thing, tool, gadget and document in a home office has its own place, anything will be easy to find and use. Imagine having to spend minutes trying to find a client's address and contact number or rummaging through drawers to look for a stapler.
Use binder folders to organize documents according to relevance.
Have similar tools grouped together to make them easy to find (staplers with staple wire removers, pens with highlighters, bond paper with cardboard, etc.) Label folders, cabinet drawers and boxes. Things should be visible and arranged so they will be within reach when needed.
If there is a lot of stuff that needs to be kept in the work area, then keep items that are often used nearer to the desk. Items that are only used periodically or infrequently may be kept elsewhere.
What you can do to save time, effort and working space
Go wireless. Going wireless means there is no need to wrestle with seemingly endless lengths of cords and cables that snake in and out of the wall, ceiling or floor. This is a home office organization trick that may require some equipment or gadget modification but it will be worth it once everything is in place. A wireless workplace also allows for better flexibility when working - you can work anywhere without being encumbered by cables.
Have a plan of attack regarding documents. Documents, papers and files often have an expiry date ordeadlines. Part of effective and efficient home office organization is providing a way to process, store and discard items when and if necessary, in order to make way for new ones. This trick not only helps clear a cluttered desk, it also provides a clearer picture regarding current progress in a task or project.
Limit your interaction with other people. Family, friends, neighbors - whoever they may be, if they are not involved in your work, they might waste your time and deplete your resources. Frequent intrusions will affect productivity and reduce your ability to focus. So set boundaries in terms of space and time. This does not mean cutting off ties completely or even shunning social and personal interactions, it just means taking control of what is essentially the work space - a place for working, meeting clients, preparing reports, making calls etc. Any social interaction should be made outside these boundaries or limited to a few minutes a day and only if a very important issue comes up that requires your attention.
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