We often hear a lot about how de-cluttering your home can make it a fresher, nice place to live, and we can’t deny that it works! Our ritual is a full clear our and de-clutter after Christmas, giving all of our new presents homes and getting rid of the things we no longer need. It makes for a really positive start to the year and turns the house into a refreshing place to be – which is good considering how much time we spend in it. But actually, the place we spend the most time is at the office, so wouldn’t it make sense to do the same thing with our work environment as well?
First Off – Have A Clear Out
The benefits of a clean and tidy desk space are huge, but there are 2 big benefits you will see straight away, Firstly you will be able to manage your workload better, with easy access to important paperwork instead of hunting through piles to find the form you need. Secondly, you are leaving your workspace clear for your office cleaners, so no more mystery hidden coffee stains.
The first step to de-cluttering your office workspace is to rationalise. Go through every single thing on and in your desk and ask yourself ‘do I need this?’ A lot of people go by the ‘if I haven’t used it in 6 months, it can go’ method, but this doesn’t work as well with businesses. Instead, go through your desk and see if you could:
- Scan in old receipts instead of keeping them in a drawer?
- Ditch the dead desk plants
- Clear off the old magazines, diaries, notebooks and catalogues
- Return any mugs and utensils (come on, we all steal the odd teaspoon!) to your staff kitchen
- Bin broken files or tools, junk mail, dead pens and outdated calendars.
- File all of last years’ paperwork from your in tray
It might take you an hour or two (depending on how messy your desk is) to get all of this done, but we can assure you it is always worth it. A clean workspace is not only great for productivity and concentration, but you will be able to manage your time more efficiently and reduce the risk of accidental data loss by throwing an important piece of paper in the bin.
Next Get The Paperwork In Order
Now that it’s the New Year, it’s not long until the tax man comes a’calling again. A lot of businesses, especially small to medium enterprises, panic when April comes and the end of year and tax returns are due, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Book out 2 days of your diary in early January and get on top of your paperwork and filing. This gives you a chance to collect all of the paperwork you need, track down any runaway receipts before they are binned and get everything in order. Spend day 2 filing everything away correctly and making sure nothing is missing, This might seem like a waste of 2 days, but come April you will be thankful you can just pick up a file and hand it to your accounts department!
Establish Your Office Limits
‘The issue isn’t space, it’s too much stuff’. Instead of filling your office with yet another bookshelf to fit your new box of files on, instead think about what you really need to keep from the original one. Last years essential paperwork should be in long term storage, while the pile of ‘we might need it someday’ paperwork should be sorted through and shredded. Limit yourself to what you are willing to keep and the space you are willing to allocate it, and make sure that you stick to it long term. If paperwork is piling up quickly, employ a professional shredding company to come in and take it away for you instead of spending hours hunched over the shredder.
The term ‘detox for the New Year’ doesn’t just apply to our bodies – it should apply to every aspect of our lives. A new year is the perfect time to take stock of how we have been doing things and make some long needed changes. Whether that’s pushing your work day back by an hour so you can go to the gym every day or ensuring that you have the right policies and procedures in place at work, don’t forget to take a look at everything you do and think ‘is this the best way to do X?