Effective Storage and Organization Tips for a Smoother Workplace

Storage solution for files and supplies

Image courtesy: www.ajproducts.co.uk

From ensuring client satisfaction to keeping up with the profits and losses of the company, there are many aspects that business owners need to take care of. In the midst of this, they often overlook small things that could actually have a huge impact on the company.

According to a report by Work Front, on average, employees in UK are wasting 11.4 hours a week at a cost of £11,225 per employee per year The question here is where are employees wasting time? While factors like unnecessary meetings and unwanted disturbances play an important role, the lack of proper storage solutions and systems lead the cause of depreciation in workplace productivity. Clare Evans, the renowned author of ‘The Management for Dummies’ book revealed that 57% of office workers spent an hour a day looking for missing documents and 20% spent time recreating documents they couldn’t find.

In the 21st Century, with an ever-increasing number of options for every problem, maintaining proper storage solutions in workplaces has become a piece of cake. Yet, many businesses overlook the importance of this, and do not take the necessary measures to maintain an organized workplace. This is mainly because having to wade through stacks of papers, jumbled drawers and tangled wires may not seem like a big deal. However, it is a real physical burden when you consider the time spent hunting for things that should be easily found but are not. This is not even counting the mental burden. The report “Interactions of Top-Down and Bottom-Up Mechanisms in Human Visual Cortex” published by the Princeton University Neuroscience Institute states that, when a person’s environment is cluttered, the chaos restricts their ability to focus. Moreover, the clutter also distracts them and limits their brain’s ability to process information .

Hence, it is very important for companies to invest in storage solutions in their office that reduce clutter. While purging your workplace by shredding and getting rid of unwanted material is a common decluttering process, it isn’t always enough. Here are a few simple tips that companies could use to ensure proper storage and management in workplaces:

Vertical storage cabinets

Image courtesy: www.ajproducts.co.uk

More Floor Space

A study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that, office workers are 2 to 2.5 times more likely to suffer a disabling injury from a fall than non-office workers. Moreover, according to the CDC, one of the most common causes of office falls is tripping over an open desk or file drawer, electric cords or wires, loose carpeting or objects in the hallways . Hence, companies should ensure that they give sufficient floor space for employees to move around in the office. A smart tactic to do this is by investing in vertical cabinets. In this way, companies can provide sufficient storage space while leaving more floor space empty.

drawing storage cabinet for offices

Image courtesy: www.ajproducts.co.uk

Activity or Task Centers

Clutter, which means a collection of things lying around in an untidy state, should be cleaned or organized as soon as possible. One way to organize clutter is by using activity or task centers, which can be easily created by using small-sized cabinets. While working on a task, employees remove documents and objects needed for the task from their assigned place and keep them nearby where they are easily accessible. This leads to clutter and increases the chance of misplacing vital documents. To avoid this, companies should provide their employees with an activity center, where they can store all the documents and objects needed to complete a task in an organized manner. This will also result in less time required to find and assemble the documents needed. For example, while making a presentation for a meeting, an employee should store files in the activity center so that all the information required is accessible yet the files are kept where they belong and ready for the next meeting to take place. These centers are not just restricted to work. Personal belongings like portable chargers can be stored in the activity centers, ensuring employees have easy access and the clutter is cleared.

Office storage solution with effective cable management

Image courtesy: Pixabay.com

Untangle Wires

The completely wireless computer, much like the paperless society, is a far away dream for the technological world. No matter how advanced a computer maybe, you are sure to find a nest of power and data cables for USB connected drives, printers, multiple screens, keyboard and mouse, webcams, digital camcorders, cellular phones and others, hidden behind or underneath the desk. These cables can easily cause people to fall and injure themselves. Furthermore, it can be extremely time-consuming and mentally tiring when you need to remove or add a wire to this mess. Bundling wires and getting them out of the way is an easy task; however, if you start without any planning, it can cause a lot of issues.

You’ll just be consolidating the tangled mess you already have. Instead, you should start afresh by unplugging everything when you decide to organize your wires. It is also advisable to group the wires based on their purpose. For example, all wires that connect to your PC or screen should be bundled together. This is also a good time to reorganize your work area. If you have a few external USB devices connected directly to your PC, a powered USB hub will let you move these devices to a less crowded section a foot or two away.

Moreover, if you’re still using a corded keyboard and mouse, consider investing in wireless equipment. Another technique for effective cable management is separating wires into bundles with three to six in each bundle. Keep in mind, if you bundle too many wires together, you’ll have to undo everything the next time you want to make a change by adding or removing a wire from the bundle. To make these bundles, consider using twist ties or zip ties and masking tape. Start by using the ties to shorten the length of the cable, but make sure you leave a few inches of slack for components that need to move around your desk. While using zip ties, make sure you don’t over tighten, as too much tension can damage softer cable jackets. Lastly, use masking tape and a colored marker to label wires according to their uses.

Ofiice Filling Cabinets

Image courtesy: www.ajproducts.co.uk

Filing Effectively

Even in the age of email and Internet, it’s likely that you still deal with many paper documents and files. It is very important to be able to find these documents at the right time. All too often, employees waste their time searching for data that is lying around in a big mess on their desk or stacked somewhere in an office filing cabinet. This usually happens because there is a flurry of data pouring in from all directions that needs to be processed and is usually stored to be retrieved later. Hence, companies should introduce an organized and efficient manner of filing management, to get work done in a timely manner, and to reduce clutter.

Effective filing basically boils down to storing information in folders using categories and a sequence that makes sense to you. Employees should make a conscious effort to avoid saving unnecessary documents that just add to the clutter and make it harder to find things in the future. Even in the age of email and Internet, it’s likely that you still deal with many paper documents and files. It is very important to be able to find these documents at the right time.

Wall mounted filing cabinets

Image courtesy: www.ajproducts.co.uk

Utilize Space

Modern images of clean and crisp, minimalistic offices are appearing everywhere, but where is the storage? As the workplace progresses into a more flexible and agile environment, storage needs have taken a step back, with the focus being more on utilizing technology and reducing space and property costs. But, is this a healthy practice?  It is true that technology has provided different storage opportunities with scanning and online digital media, thereby diminishing the need for paper records.

However, it is also true that organizations and their employees still keep records in paper form, not only for easy use and back-up, but also to meet legal and regulatory requirements. So, despite the increasing move towards a paperless office, physical storage is still a requirement, and quite an important one. Hence, to keep property costs low, while meeting the storage requirements, companies should make complete use of the space in their office. This includes corner spaces as well.

Companies can find storage units or small containers to fit into these unused nooks and crannies. Moreover, companies should also consider using walls as additional storage space. Walls are commonly used to hang flat things like calendars or important reminders.

However, by making use of wall mounted shelves you can provide more storage space. You can also consider installing peg boards that are used to hang various smaller items, such as pen holders.

An organized office can determine how successful and productive your office can be. It is a common occurrence for a workplace to become a little disorderly after a period of time and especially during the busiest stretches of the year. However, companies should make sure the clutter stays to minimum, and the workplace is organized. Failing to do this can have negative impacts on the company. These can include:

  • Increased stress – A cluttered office results in a cluttered mind
  • Bad first impressions – If a potential customer or client walks into a messy and unorganized office, there is a good chance they will turn and walk right out of the door
  • Less work gets done – In an unorganized office, a significant proportion of the employees’ time goes into finding documents, instead of actually doing some productive work

By using the tips mentioned above, companies can ensure that instead of spending time looking for things and shuffling piles, their employees are actually doing productive work. However, it is important to note that organization is not a one-and-done task. Companies need to keep up with the influx of documents, files, projects and communications. Hence, they should encourage employees to keep aside a minimum of 15 minutes from their work day to update their to-do lists, file completed projects and replace in-progress items in their respective storage cabinets. This ensures a clean and organized start when they arrive at work the next morning.

After all, a clean space makes a happy workplace!