Each year many people set a professional goal as part of their new year’s resolutions. The most popular resolution each January is from people vowing to lose weight. But
Creating an organized, inspiring work space for you or your employees can increase office productivity and produce professional growth. For me organization involves creating a system to avoid searching for files, but (more importantly) it also involves creating a healthy, productive work ecosystem, where I’m able to be creative and thrive professionally.
Here are 4 steps you should take to optimize your work space, and boost office productivity, starting now:
#1. Implement File Organization & Naming Conventions
Be honest for a moment. Is your computer desktop littered with random files right now? Many workers don’t have an organized system to save their files and documents. Instead, they save images and other files to their desktop because it’s easy. It’s chaotic, can induce stress every time you open your computer, and it makes it very difficult to find ANYTHING.
Chelsea Beck at Zapier recommends creating a structure of folders on your computer that mimics the way you work. Start by creating folders on your desk for each year. Then create subfolders that speak to your project schedule. If your projects are completed quarterly, create subfolders for quarter 1, 2, 3, and 4. Then add subfolders for each month and/or week, and within those folders, create folders by project, project type, etc.
Finally, create “Working,” “Final,” and “Archive” folders for each of your time or deadline-driven folder sets, allowing you to quickly find the projects you haven’t finished, items that are ready for delivery or sharing, and items that you have delivered or sent out.
I recommend sketching out a file structure tree on paper. Completing a project like this and implementing a new, organized filing system won’t take very long at all, but it will make a big difference in how organized you feel. It will also help you to save time searching for those files instead of saying, “I know I saved that somewhere…”
#2. Improve Lighting
One often overlooked item in offices is the lighting that’s available. But it shouldn’t be. According to Lux Review’s analysis of a study by Sedus, workers reported that lighting conditions was the factor which was most important to them in terms of working conditions.
Many offices and work spaces make the mistake of viewing lighting as an expense instead of an asset. Lighting needs to do more than simply allow workers to see. Proper lighting is critically important to the mood of workers, which is one of the primary factors which can boost office productivity.
Make a point to create both direct and indirect lighting. Sabine De Schutter, a Berlin-Based Lighting Architect, recommends a combination of 3 kinds of light. Choose a light for general illumination, a standing light which illuminates the ceiling of your work space, and a desk light. This will allow workers to create a personalized lighting environment with a mix of different lighting.
#3. Remain Active While You Work
According to research from Public Health England (reported by The Guardian) office workers should stand for a minimum of 2 hours per day. Ideally we should be standing for half of an eight hour work day.
Sitting for extended periods can be harmful, even if you are in good shape and exercise regularly, according to James A. Levine, M.D., Ph.D. of MayoClinic. He said: “Any extended sitting — such as behind a desk at work or behind the wheel — can be harmful. What’s more, spending a few hours a week at the gym or otherwise engaged in moderate or vigorous activity doesn’t seem to significantly offset the risk.” Levine recommends having walking meetings with colleagues instead of congregating in a conference room, to stand during lunch or when on the phone, and to consider investing in a standing desk for your work space, or using your laptop at a counter without a stool for part of the day.
Beyond the need to stand at work, active sitting can also be a critical factor in health and wellness, according to Fully, a company that develops a range of chairs designed to keep you moving, even when you’re seated.
#4. Keep it Organized
One of the easiest steps you can take to optimize your work space to boost office productivity (and make it a place you want to be), is to organize your physical work space.
There are a number of simple tricks you can use to tidy up your work space. Try inexpensive ideas like these from Lifehack.org, these from HGTV.com (I love the idea of mounting your monitor to the wall to free up desk space), or simply browse the numerous desktop organizers available on Amazon.
My advice when it comes to desktop organization is to keep it clean, simple, and out of sight.
Clean up old paperwork (and go paperless) by getting a desktop scanner. This allows you to make all of your documents digital and searchable (and put them into the organized file system you created after reading my first tip!).
Invest in some simple shelving, cubbies, magnetic strips to mount on the wall, or a bulletin board. This allows you to display your favorite items, but keeps them off your desk, freeing up work space.
Finally, get some matching canvas or wicker baskets to stack and store items you need, but don’t use every day. Label everything. One of my favorite tips is to label that mess of plugs on your surge protector. It’s so convenient when you have to unplug one of your electronic devices!
Don’t Wait. Take Steps to Boost Office Productivity Today
It’s easy to say “I’m going to be more organized and productive!”, but most people who make that resolution will fail to follow through.
Be specific, and use these 4 ideas to set defined, actionable goals that you will complete. Improve the lighting in your work space. Clean your desk and add tidy storage to your office. Find ways to be more active in the space where you do your work (whether it’s at home, on the road, or in a cubicle). You’ll feel better about things, and you’ll get more done at work.