The most important feature of good office design is functionality, i.e. making sure it does the job you need it to. Unfortunately, all too often our offices are crammed with so many office machines, equipment, furniture, supplies and pieces of paper that offices are completely dysfunctional places, where too much “stuff” actually hampers, rather than helps, the efficient production of work.
For example, how many times do you have to move things out of the way before you can sit down and work? Are there so many papers on your desk that they’re spilling onto the floor? Do you need to contact a search and rescue team to find your mobile phone under all the things you’ve accumulated in your workspace? Are there so many cable snaking around the floor, the carpet resembles Spaghetti Junction? Then it’s definitely time to roll up your sleeves and organise your office.
You see, you can have the most attractive, up-to-date office design available and still not be able to accomplish what you need to do unless you make sure everyone can actually get on and get the job done.
So we’ve come up with a list of tips to help you makeover your office space to give you an environment you really want to work in.
Clear the Way
Someone we know has a table in the middle of his office. This means every time he needs to get a file or document, he has to either jump over or walk round it to get anything practical done. And does he ever use it for what it’s intended, i.e. to put coffee on? No. So we moved it. Simple. Now he’s actually just walking across his office every time he needs a file and not trying to complete an assault course.
Take a good look at where all your occasional furniture is placed. Does it really need to be there? Would it be easier for everyone if you either moved it or got rid of it entirely? You need to be able to move round the office space freely and easily, without worrying about what might get in your way
Clear your Desk
Some people are particularly bad at keeping a whole lot of paperwork on their desks. Plus they have a laptop/computer and a phone and a calculator and a stapler….. the list just goes on and on.
Our advice is to take it all off. Yes, all of it! Wow, bet you’d forgotten your desk looked that good (if it’s one of ours it deserves to be shown off, really it does). Now put back the most important things, starting with your computer, your phone and any other essential IT. But then stop and take a good hard look at all the other “stuff” and ask whether it really has to be on your desk. The general rule of thumb would be, if you don’t use it every day, it has no place on your desk and you need to find it a home somewhere else. Use this as an opportunity to deal with all your outstanding paperwork and filing. And this leads neatly into our next tip………
Get Some Storage
There’s endless ranges of small storage items to cope with the day to day paraphernalia such as pens, paperclips and rubber bands, so get some and get a place for everything. This is also an ideal opportunity to decide whether it needs to go on (or even in) your desk at all. If you’ve only got limited desk space to start with, you can clear even more by giving some of your office essentials their own separate space. For instance, your printer shouldn’t be on your desk – consider investing in a printer stand. Another great piece of furniture is what’s known as a pedestal; sliding under the desk when not in use, it can be pulled out to create additional working space when required. Most come with useful drawers for storage too. If you have more space, consider a separate small table which can be used for temporary storage, meetings, or even an additional working space. But don’t put it in the middle of the room!
If your desk is continually cluttered with files, books or manuals, consider investing in shelving or an additional cupboard that can store files as well as general materials.
Improve Your View
Sit in front of your computer with your hands on the keyboard and look away from the monitor, in all directions. Is there anything you want to see in your range of vision? If not, add something worth looking at, such as a picture or a plant. Consider a noticeboard/whiteboard where you can put up things to inspire you – family pictures, for example. Which leads us on to….
Move That Desk
Just because you’ve always sat in the same place, facing in the same direction for years doesn’t mean you can’t change it – space and logistics allowing, of course. When you’ve organised everything else and sorted your storage and moved all the superfluous furniture, take a long hard look at how your office desk is positioned within the room. Moving your desk can give you a whole new perspective and even make you more productive. If your office desk is jammed into a corner, for example, pull it out into the middle of the room. If your desk is facing away from the only window, consider turning it around so you can take advantage of the increase in natural light.
Try the Reach Test
Now your desk is oh so clean and tidy, sit at it and do some work. Is everything you need within easy reach? If not, move things around so that the things you need the most are within easy reach. You shouldn’t have to get up from your desk if you need to staple something, for example.
You should also take note of the things you don’t use; they should be moved somewhere else or put away completely in some of your lovely new storage!
We’re all individuals and so it makes sense to create a space that works for you and the way you like to work. Finding the right set-up may take time, but get it right and you’ll find you can work easier and more productively and that should make you feel happier too.
Time to get sorted.