No matter how social and collaborative your office is, chances are your team spends a substantial amount of the workday in their cubicles. These partially enclosed work spaces help team members get in the zone and focus on the task at hand. That’s why they’re especially helpful when it comes to promoting individual productivity.
However, problems can arise if office cubicle desks are disorganized or distracting. If team members have to shuffle through stacks of paperwork, reorganize their files, or search for a working pen before diving into their next task, they aren’t able to commit as much time to their work.
If you’re wondering how you can turn the cubicles in your office into productivity zones (and maintain that productivity), keep reading. In this guide, we’ll discuss our top five cubicle organization ideas.
#1 Start Off on the Right Foot
When it comes to promoting productivity, it’s important to start early. That means inspiring your team members as soon as they walk in the door. One way you can do this is by reorganizing your cubicle setup.
An effective cubicle setup should remove friction and promote efficiency. If your team can easily access the equipment they need when they need it, they’re able to start their first task of the day strong and carry that momentum throughout the rest of the workday.
Here are a few ways to do this:
- Provide cubicle desks able to support dual monitors, and position the desktop and keyboard front and center for team members who begin their day by checking emails.
- Supply an easy-to-access, under-desk filing cabinet complete with folders for those who need to review client files, organize invoices, or maintain records.
- Make sure cubicles are well-stocked with notepads, stickie notes, pens, paper clips, staplers, tape, and any other office supplies your team members need to work efficiently.
If you aren’t sure what specific office supplies would most benefit your team and promote productivity, consider arranging a brainstorming session or putting together a survey to learn about each team member’s unique needs.
#2 Maintain Organizational Methods
Looking for an effective method on how to organize an office filing system? Maybe your team adopted your organizational methods with the best intentions, categorizing and color-coding diligently, but over time, their desks have started collecting crumpled sheets of paper and used-up pens.
An important part of being organized is staying organized, which requires regularly removing what isn’t needed. Try out these tips and tricks to easily maintain an organized, uncluttered work space:
- Put a trashcan by each desk – When people are in the zone and cranking out page after page of work, the last thing they want to do is get up to throw away that used napkin or piece of scratch paper. Make it easy for your team members to clear off their desks immediately by setting up a trash can and recycling bin at arm’s length.
- Provide a designated archive – With new documents and files coming into your office every day, important older documents can get lost in the mix, ending up at the bottom of stacks of paper or scattered randomly across desks. To avoid this free-for-all, make sure each team member has a storage option, such as a filing cabinet, to house their document archives.
- Set out a tray for personal items – There’s nothing wrong with a cubicle that has a lived-in feel, but personal items strewn around haphazardly can create a distraction and increase stress levels around the office. Help your team out by furnishing each desk with a tray to store earbuds, chargers, lip balm, and any other knick-knacks they may have.
#3 Introduce Desk Zoning
If you walk around the office and find that each cubicle looks like an undistinguishable flurry of papers, office supplies, and knick-knacks, you may want to implement desk zoning. Set aside some time for your team to divide their workspaces into various sections, each for a specific purpose.
Common ways to zone a desk include:
- By function – Set aside different areas of the desk for digital work, office supplies, filing, and books. By keeping various resources and office equipment separate, your team has a greater chance of preserving the neatness of their workspaces.
- By workflow – Consider arranging your cubicles in a sequence from left to right. For example, you can keep incoming items, such as a phone or inbox, on the left, a clean workspace in the middle, and an outbox or stapler on the right. Team members with standard routines can also put morning tasks on the left and afternoon tasks on the right.
Other ideas to try out include:
- Designating different spots of the office desk for different projects.
- Designating certain areas of the workspace for collaborative work (such as answering phones) and individual work (such as brainstorming).
- Creating space in the office for snack breaks or lunch so that team members don’t have to eat in their cubicles and potentially create more mess.
#4 Provide Plenty of Filing Options
Don’t let mountains of paperwork get the best of your team. Between incoming documents, action items, records, internal memos, client letters, and scratch paper, that small stack on the corner of the desk can quickly triple in size and become unwieldy.
To prevent documents from taking over the cubicle, encourage team members to file as they go by providing them with the right equipment. At a minimum, your office should have shared storage cabinets with plenty of clearly-labeled folders for easy filing. These storage spaces are perfect for filing documents used by multiple people or whole departments.
Additionally, consider providing a personal filing cabinet to each individual team member where they can store:
- Ongoing projects, including information on current clients or expense reports for the current month.
- Completed documents, such as invoices that have been filled.
- Expired paperwork, including past certifications or canceled checks.
#5 Carve Out a Space for Reference Documents
Chances are there are certain resources your team uses on a daily basis, like an index card listing important passcodes or a mail slip with the address of an important business partner.
Think about creating a designated space in each cubicle for these reference documents so that they’re not just stuffed randomly in a desk drawer or accidentally brushed onto the floor. By setting up a specific area for frequently used documents, you can cut down on the time and energy spent tracking them down when they’re needed.
Some ideas for where to put reference documents include:
- On the walls – Think about providing each cubicle with a bulletin board and pushpins to keep important documents on the cubicle wall. Bulletin boards should be put at eye level and in an easy-to-see spot, for example, right above the desk, to minimize effort. Keeping information on the walls is particularly helpful if you’re short on space.
- On the desk – On the other hand, if there is plenty of desk space or a pull-out tray and desk organizer that isn’t being put to good use, place a folder there for a convenient way to store reference documents. If you choose to go the desk route, encouraging your team to keep these papers separate from other documents is key.
- In a filing cabinet – Your team can also keep their frequently accessed documents at the front of a personal filing cabinet. Make sure the cabinet itself is easy to reach, just under the office desk, so that team members don’t have to get up to find the information they need.
The Benefits of Having an Organized Cubicle
If you’ve recently noticed your team finding any excuse to leave their cubicles, it might be time to assess the workspace situation. A messy cubicle can make it difficult for team members to get settled, stay focused, and feel motivated to complete tasks.
Take a look at some of the many advantages of setting up and maintaining organized workspaces:
- Less friction – Investing in office organization means cutting down on precious time lost when team members have to work through clutter to find the documents or information they need. By setting up your cubicles in easy-to-manage ways, you can ensure smoother workflow and greater efficiency.
- Less procrastination – Loose papers, a sea of pens, and random bits of trash scattered across a workspace all contribute to a visually distracting environment that drains the amount of attention your team puts on their work. Studies have even shown that neat surroundings can make people less likely to feel overwhelmed and put off tasks.
- Less stress – A messy workspace can leave everyone in the office feeling anxious or even depressed. In fact, one study found higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol in mothers living in cluttered home environments. By encouraging organization, you can create a calm and safe work space that team members enjoy returning to.
Juniper: For the Organized and Efficient Office of Your Dreams
Achieving those ambitious plans you’ve drawn up for your team starts with designing an office space that best serves them. With a few simple changes and well-placed, high-quality equipment, energy levels and productivity in your office can reach a new peak.
At Juniper, our office furniture collections are designed to create workspaces that are both efficient and elegant, organized and comfortable. When it comes to filing, try our Box Box Mobile Pedestal, complete with file drawer dividers and a built-in pencil tray to encourage organization. For the ultimate in inspiring workspaces, consider our office cubicle desks—the all-in-one solution your team is sure to love.
No matter what you’re looking for, Juniper can take care of it so that you can focus on the work you love.
Harvard Business Review. The Case for Finally Cleaning Your Desk. https://hbr.org/2019/03/the-case-for-finally-cleaning-your-desk
The Muse. 8 Fast and Easy Hacks to Organize Your Desk (and Give the Impression You're on Top of Your Game). https://www.themuse.com/advice/8-fast-and-easy-hacks-to-organize-your-desk-and-give-the-impression-youre-on-top-of-your-game
Robert Half Talent Solutions. How to Organize Your Desk for Maximum Efficiency. https://www.roberthalf.com/blog/salaries-and-skills/how-to-organize-your-desk-for-maximum-efficiency
Optimum. Reclaim Your Productivity With a Clean and Organized Workspace. https://optimumabq.com/reclaim-your-productivity-with-a-clean-and-organized-workspace/