10 handy hacks to organise an office – and get more done

Written by Team SM

May 17, 2023

organise an office - and get more done

It’s fact: disorganisation costs. And disorganisation in the office costs more.

Let’s not count having to rearrange and move piles of paperwork or clearing off your desk – even if it’s swiping the mess into a bin or a desk drawer.

How many minutes do you waste every day trying to find something? A report. A document. An email. Your car keys. Your phone (even when you’re holding it).

In their article “How much time do we spend searching for things around the home?”, Ikea writes we spend 5,000 hours in our lifetime looking for things.

In their article “Work interruptions can cost you 6 hours a day”, The Washington Post notes a company with 55 employees with an average salary of $50,000 annually, will pay $1,065,900 per year for lost productivity.

We can waste up to 150 hours – that’s almost an entire month – searching for lost information.

A relatively neat and orderly office space clears the way for higher productivity and less wasted time.

Organising your office doesn’t need to take days: it can be done a bit at a time.

Maintaining an organised office is far more effective when you treat it like an on-going project rather than a massive assault. Instead of spending time looking for things and shuffling piles around, you’ll be able to spend your time working efficiently – and enjoy being clutter free.

Get started with these helpful organising tips to transform your office into an efficient workspace:

For every minute spent organising, an hour is earned

– Benjamin Franklin


Transform your office into an efficient workspace with these tips

1. Purge the office

Schedule in time with the entire office for a purge: declutter, empty, shred, get rid of everything you don’t need or want. 

When it comes to furniture, equipment, supplies, ask What haven’t you used in a while? Do you need it?

Take it one area at a time. If it doesn’t work or hasn’t been used in months, get it repaired to keep, or donate or throw it away.

Are ornaments and plants covered in dust? Do they make the office look run down? Clean to keep, toss or donate.

2. Gather and reshuffle

Gather up every item that isn’t where it belongs and put it where it does. If it doesn’t make sense for that item to be there, find a place where it will work better.

3. Map out Work Zones

Map out what type of activity happens and where in each area of the office.

There will be 

the main workspace – including your cubicle or desk
a main gathering area – where teams can gather for quick huddles 
a resource of reference area – binders, filing cabinet and shelves
a supply and storage area – closet, drawers, shelves
a tap out or lounging space – such as the water cooler, kitchen, coffee area, lunchroom, staff lounge

Where equipment and supplies are positioned is important: the closer or easily accessible they are, the more efficient it is to use them and put them back. Rarely used supplies and equipment can be stored away.

4. Revise filing systems

It seems as we’ve moved more into the digital age, our paper usage has increased – though it doesn’t have to. Can you get rid of old unused files?

Schedule in the time to really sort through the filing system. Perhaps you can shift to the cloud. If you are storing files on computers, regular backups are necessary.


5. Set up discard dates

While legal and financial documents need to be kept for a certain period of time (often, up to 7 years), make sure you label these so they can be turfed at the end or beginning of each year. Store in boxes and mark when they can be tossed or shredded.

6. Label it

Label makers are the 8th wonder of the office world: label shelves, baskets and drawers to remind everyone where things go. The less we take time to think about these little things, the sooner they get put into their rightful place. 

7. Clear your desk

Remove everything: clean it thoroughly with bench top cleaner and cloth and only put back essential items for daily use. Make a point of straightening your desk at the end of the day so you have a fresh start the next day.

8. Organise your desktop

Streamline your desktop and organise it with containers and trays. Once you’ve completed clearing your desk, start decluttering your drawers with personal items in a separate drawer from your work supplies and documents.

And don’t forget your computer desktop: make sure the files or images are all in organised folders. Take some handy  tips from our “12 Steps to declutter your digital life” .

9. Clear piles

Sort through piles and find ways of not creating new ones.

10. Sort mail

Don’t just stick mail in a pile to be sorted for later. Delegate the task of sorting and distributing mail at the same time each day (3pm is a great time to grab a coffee and go over the mail). As soon as you get it, read, act then file or delegate (it’s not like we get heaps of paper mail anymore, anyway).

Organise the office
No more stress
The board room

Productivity is less about what you do with your time and more about how you run your mind 

Transform your office into a functionally comfortable space to improve productivity and your wellbeing, saving you time and money.

Space Managers helps create organised, productive and peaceful spaces for you. With our expertise and guidance, overcome the cost of clutter for a happier and healthier you.

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