How to Organize Your Home Office for Maximum Work Efficiency
Working from home has become a viable option for so many people around the world. The benefits for the employee are pretty apparent and the overall scalability of it means employers are enticed by it too. However, our homes are just that…ours. Everything we own, love, and enjoy is in this singular location. As a result, it’s easy to get clustered, overwhelmed, and distracted. All in all, this can really affect our overall productivity. Thankfully, there is a lot you can do to help eliminate these barriers to productivity. Today, we’re going to take a look at some of the many ways you can organize your home office for maximum work efficiency.
Before we delve in, let’s take a look at a really encouraging study from Stanford University! After two years researching the overall efficacy of work-at-home employment, the researchers found a staggering boost in productivity vis-à-vis their office-working colleagues. Among other things, the study found a 50% decrease in overall attrition and an overall increase in the total number of hours worked.
This should be really encouraging for any of us who struggle to remain undistracted at our home. It CAN be done and we CAN be productive. We need only understand how to maximize efficiency and minimize impediments to productivity.
As much as we like to pretend that our workplaces are “paper free” the sad reality is that paper still plays a massive role in cluttering our workspaces and stalling work progress to a halt. We all know the feeling of needing a specific paper but realizing it is hidden among a stack of other papers.
Filing is a great way to eliminate this but even most filing apparatuses are prone to clutter and disorganization. That said, color-coded filing is an excellent alternative. I realize that that might not seem like that big of a change, but the psychology behind it is important to understand.
A study led by cognitive psychologist Jonathan Flombaum and published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology found that humans are much better at remembering colors than numbers or words. Once we associate a characteristic to a certain color, I.E “red color is for tax-related documents,” we are far better at remembering it.
In the tech community, cords are a part of everyday life. As a result, they’ve become enamored with and experts at cord organization. So much so that there are even online forums dedicated to so-called “cable porn” (I.E immaculately organized cabling systems). Obviously, it would be crazy to say such an obsession is healthy or necessary for the average person, but it’s definitely true that disorganized cabling can be a nightmare.
One of the best strategies for mitigating the cable clutter is to simply hide the cables. By doing this, you’ll force yourself to organize the electronics in a way that allows you to manage the cords more effectively since it will be a lot harder to hide a cable that’s plugged into an outlet on the other side of the room.
Ever notice how in well-organized offices the workplace is divided into stations? There’s a printing station, a filing station, a coffee station, etc. This is by design, of course and it’s not a bad design at all. By organizing your home office into mini stations, you instantly establish a great deal of organization on the spot.
In 2016, the International Journal of Information Management released a study on “the effectiveness of workflow management.” They found that companies who had rigid workflow organization were, unsurprisingly, orders of magnitude more productive than companies that did not have workflow organization.
Granted, workflow organization is much more than just a matter of making stations, but that’s certainly a part of it and a great place to start when it comes to a home office.
Keep Supplies Close
One of the biggest impediments to productivity is materials being poorly spaced. If you’re constantly having to spin around from your computer to the filing cabinet, you’re probably wasting a lot of precious time.
As a general rule of thumb, it’s a good idea to keep a running tab of materials you use most frequently. Use this list to create a workspace which keeps those materials close by. It’s surprising how such a small office change can drastically increase productivity.
As a matter of fact, there’s some psychology behind this. There’s an observed phenomenon known as the doorway effect which posits that humans tend to forget short-term things when they change environments. Often, this is associated with passing through doorways but it could just as easily apply to different areas of the same room.
Create a Mail Station
Let’s face it, mail can be really annoying. Not only does it serve as the harbinger for bills and expenses, they also clutter up our office space and can really inhibit productivity. That’s why it’s really important to have a place for incoming and outgoing mail.
Rather than just letting the mail get strewn all over your office, consider putting it in a place that enables you to tend to it all when the time is right. Having all your mail in a single location really helps keep your office clean and efficient. In addition, it helps mitigate procrastination which is a real issue when it comes to dealing with mail.
Overall, the benefits of working at home are plentiful. That said, it’s very easy to get distracted in your home office and that can lead to productivity waning. To avoid this, it is recommended that you try your best to organize your office space to maximize productivity and minimize distraction.
This can, of course, be achieved in a lot of ways but hopefully these tips will point you in the right direction. In no time at all, you can have an office space that is clean, efficient, organized, and scalable. Then you can truly appreciate the joys of working at home for yourself.