If we don’t take care, with careful planning, regular clean-ups, and smart decision making, our offices can start to look and feel cramped. This can negatively impact our mindset, ability to work efficiently, and even our image if we have clients, suppliers, or investors visit us in the office.
Whether you get your job done in a communal area shared with multiple colleagues or in the privacy of your own home, it’s essential to create some breathing room and streamline your work environment before you run out of physical and mental space. Here are some space-saving office ideas to get some extra room.
If you’re like many people, your office space is chock full of paperwork, from reports and contracts to human resources and financial data, etc. If you want to make more room, cut back on the amount of paper you deal with. Going paperless can make a big difference. You probably have multiple filing cabinets and storage cupboards filled with files and unused paper you could say goodbye and use to store other things if you went digital.
Scan files and save them so you can dispose of hard copies. It pays to archive to the cloud and store new items there, too. Use a quality cloud platform such as Amazon’s S3 buckets solution to keep data securely saved and available for anyone in your team to access as needed. In turn, you might enable some of your staff to work off-site and free up desks in your office, saving even more space.
Also, reduce paperwork by getting bank account statements and other mail sent electronically, enable e-signatures, and use laptops and tablets in meetings rather than printing out or writing down information.
Spend time decluttering in your office to see what else you can clear out. Take a look around every surface to see what takes up valuable area that you no longer need, never wanted in the first place, or have upgraded or otherwise replaced. Find broken things you can recycle or bin, and repair items so you can use them rather than have them sitting there doing nothing.
Most workplaces have all sorts of clutter, such as old tech tools, stationery, stock, marketing gear, furniture, samples, and the like. Get the whole team working together to round up no longer needed things to create a roomier, neater space.
Utilize Dead Space More Effectively
Another way to streamline where you work is to utilize every square inch of the space more effectively. Remember that you can turn corners and otherwise “dead” space into productive areas if you think creatively. Use corners to set up copy machines or other gadgets that fit in narrow spaces or buy specific corner-designed bookcases to house books, stationery, or other office supplies. Corners can also be an excellent spot to house bins or cleaning equipment.
Identify dead space you might be able to use more productively, too. For instance, it often works nicely to use the area under stairs to store goods you don’t need to get out very often but have to keep, or the space under large windows to set up short bookcases or filing cabinets. You might be able to place shelves above doorways, make use of an attic, or even mount desks against the wall so the area underneath work surfaces gets freed up for storage.
You can also streamline things by thinking vertically. Make the most out of walls by installing floating shelves or use horizontal hanging rods or other solutions to store small items within easy reach, especially above desks. Plus, rather than having lots of floor lamps around, mount light fixtures on the walls and ceilings to free up surface areas.
Use Multifunctional Tech and Furniture
Save space by swapping out multiple individual pieces in your office for multifunctional tech gadgets and furniture. Use a multifunction printer/scanner/photocopier rather than separate devices, choose adjustable desks that can turn into conference tables, and consider ottomans or benches that provide extra seating in meetings but also open up to store goods.
Create Clarity About What Must Be Kept
When we do a big clean-up in the office, most of us find that we’ve kept dozens or even hundreds of items that we didn’t need to. Make things simpler for yourself and your team by coming up with clear guidelines about what does and doesn’t have to be kept long-term in your organization.
Also, get workers communicating more effectively about what they store and where they put it, so you don’t end up having double-ups or items lost and then replaced unnecessarily.
It might feel untenable right now to get your office clearer and more productive, but you can make changes. Take things step-by-step and develop user-friendly processes as you go.