Cluttered offices create cluttered minds. When papers, pens, tools, machines, supplies and belongings are placed in a small area without being pleasantly organized, the room can become chaotic and inefficient. This has a direct impact on the thoughts, feelings and actions of the people that use the office regularly, as they must learn to fit themselves into the disorderly chaos of clutter. A messy office space is surprisingly common, but fortunately, it is also exceedingly easy to fix.
Divide Up the Room
Divide and conquer. Offices do not serve one specific purpose; they are a place where many small actions happen for the sake of the larger goal. As such, each area of the office will require dedicated focus. Desks and copiers serve different purposes, so it’s important arrange and organize them based on how they are used. Grab a sheet of paper, break the office up into as many unique areas as possible and then focus on each one individually.
Envision a Better Layout
Being comfortable with clutter makes it tragically difficult to become motivated enough to fix the problem. One of the easiest ways to break through the false sense of comfort that is created by a routinely cluttered office is to first envision the office through the eyes of a champion or a competitor. If a cluttered office is where the losing team works, what would a winning team’s office look like? Chances are that a winner’s office would be organized, efficient, accessible and functional. See the office through the eyes of a winner to become a self-fulfilled prophecy.
Always remember that function is superior to all else when considering productivity. Simply put, making changes should always be centered around being able to produce more with fewer resources exhausted. If something like a slow printer is wasting time, it might be financially wise to upgrade it. Likewise, it might be smart to invest in another copier if there’s always a line or it takes too long complete its tasks.
Eliminate Common Clutter
Clutter comes in many forms. Sometimes it’s sheets of paper, sometimes it’s a pile of jackets and other times it’s a bunch of twisted, tangled cables that run the length of the building. However, these types of clutter are only a symptom that points to the true problem. Scattered sheets of paper point to a problem with paper storage or distribution. A pile of jackets points to the need for more coat hangers. Twisted cables point to the need to invest in proper cable management. Always look past the symptom in order to find the source. If you have a large data center in your hands, consider hiring a professional data center cable management company do get the job done right the first time.
Manage Messy Necessities
There are plenty of necessities of life that have a habit of getting messy. Refrigerators are a great example of this: while they’re important to keeping employees fed, happy and productive, it is easy for them to get messy. They can be clean at breakfast and dirty by noon. Any area of the office that gets used frequently and has a tendency of getting messy must be managed in a way that prevents clutter before it happens. Assign employees to ensure that regularly-used parts of the office are not disrespected or mistreated.
Once the previous steps have all been enacted, add anything that can subtly improve the office. This includes motivational posters, pictures and artwork, but there’s a million other ways to add personality to an office. Make it unique, and most importantly, make it feel inviting. Comfort is powerful.
Review the Office
Mistakes happen. Once the office is done, remember to check up on it and see if anything is out of place, in the way or could simply be improved. It’s probably more common to miss a few things than it is to get it right the first time, so it’s a good idea to expect that something’s wrong and then keep an eye out for it.
Weeds are always ready to overtake the garden. Never assume that an office will stay completely clean and organized without any effort. Until an orderly, efficient and welcoming environment has become every employee’s default preference, clutter will return in small ways that will eventually add up. Be prepared for the return of clutter before it happens to ensure that it stays under control permanently.