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Create Function and Order in Your Office

Mar 4, 2008
The most important function of an office is function. If your office is not organized efficiently, chances are, you are going to be less efficient as well. Too often, offices are crammed with office machines, equipment, supplies, and piles of paper that create dysfunction and even stress. Following are steps to creating an office design that's both pleasing and functional:

Clear Pathways
Take good look around. Are there furniture obstacles in your office design? Do they prohibit the flow of traffic from the door to the desk? Move them out or at least out of the main pathways. You, and your coworkers, need to be able to move freely without tripping over boxes or slamming knees on office equipment.

Clear Your Desktop
This can be a challenge for many people who haven't seen the bottom of their desktop in some time. It's time to take a step back and decide what has to be on the desk and what can moved. The computer and phone are obvious desk residents. But look at everything else that has taken up residence. Ask yourself, "Does this have to be on my office desk?" If it's not something that you use everyday to make your work more productive, it's time to find another place for it.

Use caddys and trays to organize your desk and drawers
If your office doesn't have extras, head to the a local office supply store or chain retailer for plastic trays and caddys, including those made to fit inside desk drawers. These are ideal for getting office supplies organized and put away. Loose pens, paper clips, thumb tacks, box cutters, and sticky notes are easily contained and there when you need them. Of course, every desk needs an "inbox" and an "outbox" to keep work -- and your sanity -- neat and orderly.

Update your equipment
Do you have office equipment that is slowing you down or cluttering your space? Perhaps it's time to get rid of the old printer, fax machine and scanner and invest in a multifunction printer. Or, consider upgrading the primitive touch tone phone to a speaker phone. Make the most of your space by combining function and design.

Get it off your desk
If your printer or copier is taking residence on your desk, it's time to invest in a printer stand, which will keep your printer within in a usable distance, while providing more shelf storage space for accessories such as printer paper.

For those with a small desk, an occasional table placed next to the desk serves as an additional eye-appealing work area. Free-standing bookshelves or built-ins are great investments for those harboring books or manuals on their desks (or maybe the floor).

Check your storage needs
Small offices especially seem to produce more paper than anything else. Sometimes the items that clutter an office are there because its owner hasn't been able to find somewhere else to put it. Target your storage needs by adding another filing cabinet or a supplies cupboard.

Realign your office desk
If the last time you rearranged your office design was during the Carter administration, it may be time to consider a change. Take a look at how your office desk is positioned within the room. Moving your desk can provide a whole new perspective and make you more productive. If space allows, pull the desk into the middle of the room. If your desk faces away from the only window in the office, move it closer to take advantage of the natural light.

Set up a recycling center
Paper, cardboard, shipping boxes, plastic bottles -- so much of what finds its way into the trash bin in offices could be recycled. Make it easy for yourself, and others, to do the right thing by setting up a small recycling center in your office. You may be amazed at the amount of clutter you can get rid by recycling. When purchasing recycling bins, keep in mind that bins should be as easy to find as trash cans. Make sure you post recycle rules and guidelines (e.g. No pizza boxes!) in employee-accessible places.

And make sure that materials are on hand to make recycling easier. For example, your office should be equipped with several reliable, safe box cutters. Without a package opener on hand, recycling boxes is unnecessarily difficult and time-consuming. (Shipping boxes and moving boxes are hard to flatten with your bare hands!) It goes without saying that any mail room or shipping and receiving department should have many kinds of safety knives on hand. Your office should have a package opener too.
About the Author
Safecutters Inc., provides an online store of utility knife box cutters for opening shipping boxes and shipping packages, as well as safety knives to open moving boxes and packages. For more information about Klever Kutter and other Safecutters products contact us!
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