Home office organization, how do you keep it?

home office organization

Are you still working from home? If the answer is yes, then it may be a challenge to keep your home office organized.  I published some tips to create a home office area that maximizes productivity.  Today, I will focus on how to set up equipment and materials to keep them organized.  With them will be easier to keep your home office organization.

Set in order to create and keep the home office organization

Following the second 5S steps, Set in Order, assign the best location for the equipment and materials you need.  The frequency of use and ease of access and return determine the best place.  Most used items go closer to the user.  For example, if you use different color pens or highlights frequently, keep them on top of the desk and not in a drawer.

If you are using the space as your home control center, keep clear boundaries between both worlds. That is to say, do not mix work or home documents in your files. As a general rule, home or personal items should go farther from your work area.

Take advantage of the walls to hang calendars, whiteboards, or task boards.  Also, you can use shelves to keep binders, books, or folder organizers.   Open shelves are always better than cabinets because you see at a glance where your items are.  Similarly, if you need boxes, use them clear to see through.

Use drawer organizers or containers to keep small items in place.  Organize your drawers or shelves into categories.  The following are examples of frequent classifications.  

  • printing and filing supplies – paper, folders, index pages, binders
  • writing – pens, pencils, markers, highlighters, note pads, sticky notes
  • mailing supplies – envelopes, labels, stamps
  • tools – scissors, rulers, staple, staples remover, hole puncher

Use visual management to signal when something needs your attention

To manage your time better, you would like to minimize the searching time.  Therefore, it is a good idea to use labels or color-coding.  If you use cabinets or boxes to file or keep materials, label them to know what is inside.  If it is necessary to keep files at home, classify them.  For example, some divisions are budget, marketing, and inventory.  After that, establish a different color for each category.

The space you use as a home office is prime.  Maximize its use by avoiding excess office supplies inventory.  One way to do that is by creating inventory rules.  First, you set minimum and maximum levels for each item.  Then, mark the inventory limits to make them visible.   For example, use color paper to signal when you need more paper.  When you open the new rem, put a red or orange sheet at the appropriate height.  Once you take a bunch containing your mark, it is time to buy more.

When other family members are at home during your working hours, you need a system to communicate your availability.  To avoid interruptions, create signage to inform your status.  For example, that you are busy in a phone call or video conference.  You can use color-coding here too!  One sign that does not need explanation is the traffic light analogy.  Use green to signal that it is ok to knock on the door and yellow to inform that you are busy.  If it is red, it means that you are on a conference call.  Like with any other signage, communicate the purpose and meaning.

In conclusion, working from home requires the same organization and time management skills as working in the office.  The challenge is that the space is not off-limits to other members of the family. To keep the organization, you need to establish systems to identify at a glance and correct when something is out of place.  

Leave a Reply