What is that one professional dream of every individual in the country? It is to become CEO of a gigantic firm for sure but what else? It is to become successful without having to work for someone else. It is to not have to drive to and from the office every day. It is to work from anywhere and still sustain the quality of life that you’re accustomed to. Yep, you got it right. It is to work from home.
While working from home may not involve braving rush hour traffic, having boring lunches or even tolerating obnoxious co-workers, it comes with its own challenges. The foremost of these challenges is to be organised. If you work from home, then it is likely that you already know how distracting things can be and how disorganised things can get. This post is for you, my friend. Every home office organisation hack in this list is easy to do and very effective.
Home Office Organisation Hack #1: Go Vertical
When it comes to creating home offices, people usually run short of space. It is understandable too because home spaces aren’t really designed to be used as offices and the home’s primary use is still domestic. That still leaves the problem of not enough space for work-related things, though.
The best home office organisation hack to get around this conundrum is to go vertical. While the floor area may be limited in your home office, that is just one dimension of the room. You still have the walls available to you. This is something that most people fail to take into account, unfortunately.
Hanging shelves or racks right on top of your desk or even on other walls around the room will free up a lot of space for you. How you utilise the benefits of the vertical space age in your home office is up to you.
Home Office Organisation Hack #2: Segment Documentation and Use Filing Systems
If you have a home office, then you likely have a lot of paperwork. You’ll not only have to deal with documentation for homely things such as utilities but also official documentation such as correspondence, invoices, purchase orders, and any number of other types of paperwork depending upon the nature of your work.
Paper is also something that causes home offices to look and feel disorganised. In fact, if you can organise all the documents in your home office, then you’ll feel meticulous instantly. The first step to doing this is to segment all your papers in one of three categories – destroy, archive, and act.
Destroy is for documents you don’t need, archive is for paperwork you think you’ll need some time in the future and act is for documents that you need to act upon now. For destroying papers, you can get a shredder or just a trash bin, if that is your preference. Archiving, however, will be the most difficult.
Archiving means storing documents. This means you’ll need various office supplies such as binders of various types (think spirals or combs), sheet protectors (to prevent fading and smudging), document wallets (for small slips and receipts), and dividers (for segmenting what has already been segmented).
In the case of documents in the “act” category, your equipment requirements will vary from manila folders and envelopes to markers. However, what you need to make sure of is that your “act” folder or tray doesn’t turn into a problem by itself. It is very easy to leave things in the “act” stack indefinitely.
That doesn’t help. If you’re not going to act on the document today or tomorrow, then it doesn’t deserve to be in this category. Either shred it or archive it but make sure that you have document trays.
Home Office Organisation Hack #3: Create a Standalone Office Equipment Station
If papers take the first spot in the competition for “who hogs the most space in your home office”, the second position will definitely go to office equipment. This means everything from your laptops and computers to peripherals. While you can’t really remove your computer from your desk in this day and age, you should definitely not have the peripherals there.
Instead, you should create a separate station for office equipment. This station will contain equipment such as printers, scanners, fax, shredders, storage devices, speakers, mikes etc.
Pro Tip: You don’t need separate devices for printers, scanners and faxes; you can get them all into a single all-in-one device. You won’t even need to create a printing station with many such devices as they’re freestanding on the floor.
Home Office Organisation Hack #4: Digital before Physical
If you’re using storage devices such as hard disk drives and USB flash drives, then you’ve already digital in some capacity. You should now consider going completely digital. While you’ll always have print documents, you shouldn’t need to do everything on paper.
For example, you don’t need every client to send you physical purchase orders. You can just get them to email them to you. You will not only save paper this way but also remove a hindrance to getting the next big consignment. Don’t deals always get delayed simply because of paperwork? Well, go digital and see those deals become quicker.
While you’re at it, you might consider getting rid of those storage devices altogether. You can do this by investing in some secure cloud storage service. These tend to be very cheap and will save you space even on storage devices.
Home Office Organisation Hack #5: Make Use of Containers and Boxes
So, you’ve segmented all the documents and are now stuck with stacks of binders, files, and folders either on your desk or in some corner of your home office. Even with individual papers being compiled into binders, files, and folders, you still have a problem. Binders and files have a tendency to quickly grow into large numbers too.
For such scenarios, you need to have physical filing implements. You need file racks, filing cabinets, archive boxes and suspension files. You can put the long-term storage documents into these boxes and put them away somewhere else to be accessed later. This will clear up a lot of space in your home office too.
Pro Tip: If you have filing cabinets, get those that have wheels under them. When you’re not using them, you can wheel them under desks or out of the way.
Home Office Organisation Hack #6: Take Care of Those Pesky Wires
If paper takes most space and office equipment hogs it too, they don’t even come close to how annoying wires can get in your home office. Wires will often fall to the floor, get stuck in things, get entangled, trip you up, and gather dust enough to give you asthma. They’re a constant source disorganisation in the home office.
Getting them organised is a big feat but it is possible to do it. The simplest way to do it is to roll them up and put rubber bands, plastic clips, or even fasteners on them but what do you do with wires that are connected to devices? You use different types of supplements. You use stuff like cable ties, clamps, and even Velcro straps. Believe it or not, these can be found in any office supplies store online or offline.
Home Office Organisation Hack #7: Start Labelling
Home office organisation isn’t just about saving space. It is also about saving time too. This means that you not only need to store things away but also store them in a way that you can get what you need exactly when you need it. This means knowing what is kept where. That means labelling things and groups so that you can spot them at a glance.
Efficiency nerds will present labelling to you as an art form but you don’t have to go that far. You can just label like normal human beings but you will still need some equipment for it. What equipment you need depends on your unique labelling style. Tools you can use to label things include highlighters, flags, sticky notes, and markers.
What will really simplify labelling for you, though; will be label printers and P-Touch labellers. Most people don’t realise how easy these little machines can make their lives. It is only after using them that their effectiveness becomes apparent.