Due to the global pandemic of COVID-19, many more professionals are working from home than usual. Being forced to makeshift desks and office spaces isn’t ideal, but there are some ways to make this new way of working as enjoyable and productive as possible. Let’s make it cute, too, shall we?
Below you find a few different tips and tricks on how to organize your workspace at home, including how to set workspace boundaries, keep your space tidy, and make it your own.
Getting clear on home workspace boundaries
One of the biggest challenges you may face while working from home is the evident lack of boundaries around your physical space. For those lucky enough to have a home office that sits behind a door, this challenge is significantly more straightforward to manage than those who have to create a makeshift office space.
To help get clarity around home workspace boundaries, start by making a list of how you can minimize distractions. Consider turning off the TV and investing in noise-canceling headphones (these are the ones I use) to help you stay focused and on-point. I promise you; these headphones are an absolute game-changer for tuning out distractions.
Also, if there are others in your home, do your best to communicate specific blocks of time that you need to focus on your work. Easier said than done, I know, especially if you have little ones running around. Achieving quiet time may take some clear communication with your partner, so be sure to speak up and ask for what you need.
Organize your office supplies and desk
A disorganized workspace can quickly add to overwhelm, so it’s critical to keep your space as organized and as efficient as possible.
Invest in a filing cabinet
If you have space, a filing cabinet is a great way to keep relevant documents, books, reports, and small objects nicely contained. I’ve seen a few at Home Goods every once and a while, but you can also purchase a nice-quality and long-lasting one here.
Oh! I’m also obsessed with this mini five-drawer filing cabinet. It’s perfect to put on top of your desk if you don’t have enough space for a traditional cabinet.
Do a nightly cleanup
When your work is finished for the day, spend five minutes cleaning up your workspace. Empty the trashcan, remove empty glasses, wipe down the desk surface, and file away any unnecessary paperwork. This small act will help set you up for success the following morning.
While you’re at it, spray your desk, keyboard, and mouse with a non-toxic (I use this one regularly) cleaning solution to kill any unwanted germs. Your keyboard is one of the dirtiest surfaces in your home and can have 400x more bacteria than the average toilet seat – yuck!
Use reusable document folders
It might seem silly, but these reusable folders have been a lifesaver for me when it comes to keeping relevant documents together. I particularly like the ones I linked above because they have a space to jot down notes about the paperwork housed inside.
Use them for organizing:
- house information
- medical records
- tax organization
- client paperwork
- travel documents
Purchase a wifi-enabled printer
Printers are relatively inexpensive these days, and having a reliable one in your home workspace is essential. We opted for a wifi-enabled printer (here’s the newest model of ours), so we can print documents directly from our phone while anywhere in the house. It’s been such a relief to know printing can be seamless and finally help us stay organized!
Organize the digital workspace
While it can often neglect this space, organizing your digital workspace is just as important as physical organization. And sure, it can seem like you can get away with not organizing computer files and emails but, eventually, it will catch up to you.
Do (another) nightly cleanup
At the end of each workday, spend two minutes cleaning up files off of your desktop and putting them in your trash folder or another designated space. Having a desktop that is easier to navigate will save you some frustration down the road.
Create a ‘pending’ folder
Adding a pending folder to your email management system to keep track of emails that aren’t yet resolved. Doing so will help you stay organized and get back to important conversations in a timely manner.
Use a task-manager program
While there are many different options on the market, using a digital task-manager program can help you organize outstanding tasks, assign due dates, add relevant notes, and more.
Five benefits of organizing your home office workspace
There are some pretty obvious benefits to organizing your home workspace, but it’s important to consider the not-so-apparent benefits, too. Check them out below!
1. Increased efficiency
When you know where things are, work becomes more manageable and efficient. The less time spent searching, the better!
2. Less stress and overwhelm
It’s overwhelming when you feel swamped under a stack of papers or you can’t even see you computer background. The better you organize your workspace, the less stressed you will begin to feel.
3. Decreased germ exposure
If you’re following my nightly clean-up suggestion carefully, you will exposure yourself to significantly less germs than if you left your workspace untouched.
4. Improved sense of calm
There’s nothing more satisfying than sitting down to a clean desk that feels welcoming and enjoyable. Less clutter and more organization can help you to feel more at peace.
5. More job enjoyment
I don’t know about you, but when my workspace is neat and tidy, I seem to enjoy my work more. There’s something motivating about having a space that you’re proud of – keep it that way!
How to make your at-home workspace your own
Check out the below personable home office additions to make your space feel both organized, cozy, and enjoyable. The best part? These items are all sourced and sold by small businesses!