People often say: “Cleanliness is next to godliness.”

When it comes to the modern office space, however, cleanliness is next to productivity.

Proper organization helps businesses function more smoothly—and a functional business is a profitable business. Hunting down hidden small office supplies and equipment is not only frustrating for workers, it’s also an ineffective use of their time. 

Nearly half of employees admit to productive time going to waste on any given day in a messy office;1 don’t let a disorganized office space be the reason your business sees productivity slip.

If you’re not sure how to organize an office but think cleaning things up could benefit your business, we have 10 effective business office organization ideas that will take your professional space from cluttered and chaotic to pristine and productive.

#1 Eliminate Excess

Aging equipment and antique files are deadweight, preventing your business from pulling forward. The same goes for unused electronics, dusty furniture, and any other junk taking up valuable real estate in your office. Having too much around can overwhelm people and psychologically coerce them into a state of procrastination.2

An office area teeming with supplies and paper clutter must be parsed down to the essentials.

Ask yourself: Will this item ever benefit my business again?

If it’s really old and no longer relevant, away with it!

If it doesn’t work into day-to-day operations but you will certainly need it in the future, put it in a storage spot. And no, that doesn’t mean tucking it to the back of your desk drawer. 

Once you’ve decided what your business truly needs for daily operations, you can begin to effectively organize and lessen the amount of times you need to set up an office cleanout

#2 Get Those Files in Order

Have you ever gone to pull an important document you needed, only to find it wasn’t in its right place?

Digging through drawers of unsorted papers is not only draining, but it also slows productivity to a standstill.

No one wants to do it, but you’re going to have to take on the daunting task of putting your business’s records in order, whether that be in a filing cabinet, shelving unit, or other version of drawer dividers. It seems scary, but there are a few simple steps that you can take to make the process as smooth as possible:

  1. Get absolutely every document that you need to sort and lay them out in front of you. Atop a table or desk space is best to save your back from constant bending.
  2. Decide how the important documents will be arranged. Do you sort files by date? Alphabetically by client name? Pick a system and stick to it. Make sure everyone is up to date on the method and help them not to deviate from it.
  3. Choose where to store it all. It’s possible that your files might be in disarray because your filing cabinet is too small. Make sure to secure sufficient space for your documents.
  4. Dig into the piles, searching for the earliest date or names that start with A. Hopefully, there’s still some order to everything. Keep going, placing things in order until every last file is stowed away.
  5. Never let your documentation fall into disorder again.
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#3 Declutter Digitally

Excess files aren’t only for the cabinets anymore. 

Bloating computers, USB sticks, and hard drives with irrelevant information slows their performance. Furthermore, workers lose up to two hours per week aimlessly perusing digital files without finding what they’re searching for.2 

Organize the necessary files and programs onto the proper devices, and delete anything that doesn’t need to be there. Storing records by year on labeled hard drives can help employees find specific information in a snap. 

#4 Know the Area You’re Working With

Before one can clean their office, they must understand their office. 

What is the space capable of holding, and how much of it do you really want to fill up?

Some businesses need little more than an array of desks to work together from laptops and tablets. Others could require open shelves for stacks of important documents, space to house large equipment, or even large tables to work at with tools.

Know your area, how to organize your desk, how much of each thing you absolutely need to store there, and how it can best cater to the needs of those working in it. Doing so can help you decide how to arrange things for maximum efficiency. 

#5 Consider Workspace Needs

Now that you understand your space and what you need to work with daily, you can determine where to keep it all.

If everyone is routinely using small office supplies such as tape, scissors, paper, rulers, and a host of other supplies on a day-to-day basis, they should all have sets to keep in their work area. When each employee needs to store the tools of the trade, their desks should be outfitted with drawer dividers to keep the rest of the surface tidy.

Then again, if the majority of work is done digitally with only the occasional need for physical equipment, supplies can equal junk that crowds a workspace. In such cases, organizing office supplies by keeping everything in a central cabinet can be conducive to clear desks that are easy to work on.

#6 Think Collectively

Ultimately, everyone favors different desk organization methods. Some of us frantically type away, our cluttered desks overflowing with papers and supplies. Others have a specific place for every paperclip that falls into their possession.  

Coming to a consensus on how to keep things can be difficult amongst a large group of workers. 

Considering employee input, however, isn’t hard. They are the ones working in a space and seeking out supplies, after all.

Have a roundtable discussion amongst office employees about how they would like things organized. While not every suggestion may be fruitful, the workers occupying that domain have key insights that can help determine what goes where.

Not to mention, employees see a boost to their workplace morale when they feel that their input is being recognized and implemented.3

#7 Streamline Productivity by Organizing Logically 

The assembly line revolutionized car production by quickening the manufacturing process. So too can your office speed up productivity by organizing logically:

  • Does your business print extensively? The refill paper should be located within close proximity to the printer in an organized office, such as in a cabinet beneath it.
  • Do employees share supplies across a large space? Storage compartments should be centrally located to cut down on travel time.
  • Is there a hot item that everyone always seems to need but is perpetually in use? Perhaps it’s time to purchase a second hole-puncher.

Making logical organizational decisions that allow employees to more effectively do their tasks increases productivity and decreases feelings of frustration. 

#8 Avoid Visual Distractions

Unless your place of work is a roadhouse, the walls shouldn’t be cluttered with vibrant, attention-grabbing adornments.

The same goes for office decor in general. Knick-knacks, trinkets, and other visual distractions pull attention away from the task at hand. 

That’s not to say it’s time to take away your workers’ family pictures—it’s important to feel like a free individual, even in a company environment. But if the walls are plastered with more posters than a college dorm room, it’s time to simplify. 

Disarranged computer cords are another major source of visual distraction that should be cleanly tucked away under desks and out of sight. Using cable trays and desk-mounted power modules maintains a clean look that promotes productivity. 

#9 Put Everything in Its Place

Here’s a simple test: Use a pencil to trace a straight line along a ruler’s edge.

If you were uncertain of where to find a pencil, a ruler, or a sheet of paper, you spent more time searching for supplies than completing the task. Even when businesses use proper storage solutions for their supplies, it’s up to the employees to ensure everything finds its way back to the right place.

Each and every type of item your office uses should have a known home where it lives and waits to be taken.

Pencils should have a canister, rulers a designated drawer, and paper a proper shelf (as mentioned before, preferably close to the printer). A large and easy-to-read label should be securely affixed to each storage spot so workers know what to expect within.

No longer should anyone in your office slide open a drawer in anticipation of red pens only to be met by blue markers.

Consolidating items into their right places not only makes them easily accessible, but it also helps you keep better track of what you do and don’t have enough of.4 Never again will you run out of staples when you see the cache dwindling right before your very eyes.

#10 Implement and Augment During Daily Operations

You’ll soon see what aspects of your organizational techniques are contributing to effective business flows and what can be improved upon

If supplies are still strewn about with no proper place to put them, you probably need to increase the amount of storage space in your office. 

Papers piling up probably means your filing system needs to be overhauled.

Keep vigilant for hints that reveal an opportunity to improve organizationally. If you’re always attentive to the little things that can be improved upon, fully reorganizing your office likely won’t be necessary.

Reclaim Productivity with Organizational Solutions from Juniper Office

If your office is disorganized, chances are it’s not optimally designed to balance storage and functionality.

Juniper Office provides modern, elegant organizational solutions that meet your business’s needs. 

Our sleek buffet credenza has enough space to secure the supplies crowding your office.

Stash paper underneath and center it in the workspace, just make sure to put the printer on top. And consider overhead storage to make use of vertical real estate. Fill either with markers and pens—as long as you separate the reds and blues.

It also works great in a conference room. Fill it with files to hand out for meetings and put a coffee maker on top to perk up attendees.

Juniper Office makes refined storage solutions and functional, flattering office organization furniture. Outfitting your office with us allows you to organize productively without sacrificing style.


Sources: 

  1. Alavinia SM, Molenaar D, Burdorf A. Productivity loss in the workforce: associations with health, work demands, and individual characteristics. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18942667/
  2. Harvard Business Review. The Case For Finally Cleaning Your Desk. https://hbr.org/2019/03/the-case-for-finally-cleaning-your-desk
  3. MantraCare. 8 ways to boost employee morale: Tips from HR leaders. https://mantracare.org/employee-wellness/boost-employee-morale/#7_Foster_Open_Communication
  4. KonMari. Tidying the Home Office. https://konmari.com/tidying-the-home-office/