Maintaining a clutter-free working environment is a high priority for the majority of businesses; especially for improving productivity and staff morale, but are you really taking advantage of all available space?
Recent statistics indicate the majority of office buildings operate with a desk occupancy rate of just 45% and a meeting room occupancy rate of 60%, meaning you could be wasting more space than you thought. With this in mind, here are tips on how to transform the empty areas in your office:
When attempting to improve your office space efficiency, decluttering should always be your first step – the messier the office space, the less effective a working environment becomes.
Start by differentiating between the desired and the essential to determine your levels of clutter – is that extra, unused chair in the corner really needed? Has that blank white board ever been written on? Remember, prioritisation is key, so if you have to question the necessity of something, it can probably be discarded of. Shred discarded documents, sell unused furniture and recycle what you can – or consider crate hire for removing unwanted items.
Delegate each employee with the responsibility of organising their belongings in order to save time. It would be advantageous to discuss the de-cluttering process with your employees prior to ensure you select a time where everyone is in the office and has time available.
Utilise Natural Lightning
If your business operates during the day, you have the perfect opportunity to make the most of daylight. Replace large floor lamps and personal desk lamps by increasing the amount of natural lighting that’s allowed to enter your office.
Now, installing new windows is the obvious option, but it is also the most expensive. For those running on a strict budget, try rearranging your office so nothing is blocking any light sources. Position desks near or facing a window to make your employee’s workstation feel more open and ultimately less cramped.
As previously stated, the majority of office buildings operate with a desk occupancy rate of just 45%, so there’s a high possibility you have several unoccupied desks. Unless you intend on filling these empty desks with new employees, discard of them.
Another solution worth trying is gradually replacing unnecessarily large desks with smaller ones, for this will reduce the chance of having unused desk space and therefore the risk of it becoming cluttered again. Invest in desks with drawers or small filing cabinets to keep desks clear and organised. Most of our working materials are kept on a computer, so why take up valuable space with large desks?
Invest in Storage
Insufficient storage will inevitably cause problems within any working environment. Seeing cabinets/shelves drowning in office supplies and equipment will make spacing feel wasted. Use closed cupboards and desk drawers to store office supplies for reducing their visibility and ensuring they are kept in a central location. Keep filing cabinets organised using a chronological system – for example per employee to prevent paperwork cluttering desks.
Alternatively, you could store documents and information digitally to replace excessive paperwork. Cloud-based storage devices allow you to abandon filing cabinets; freeing up space in the office more essential equipment (e.g. large office printers). Expect to pay for these though, for Dropbox charges £8 a month for 1TB of storage, so try to store as much on your computer as possible.
Seeing an office overrun with tangled cables is not only disorganised, but also a health and safety hazard. Connect your devices through Wi-Fi eliminate the need for excess cables – for example a wireless printer. Purchase cable wraps or ties to keep wires plugged into your computer untangled. Also, use cable trays to keep wires underneath your desk to keep them off the floor, ultimately making your flooring easier to navigate and most importantly – safer.
Use Walls to Your Advantage
If you’ve reached your office’s limit for fitting additional cabinets, why not use wall storage instead? Walls are an effective solution for freeing up desk and floor space – use wall hooks, fitted cupboards and shelves to store items that require frequent usage. Cork or magnetic boards are beneficial for storing notices and paperwork that might be required soon.
Darkly painted walls will create the illusion of smaller, claustrophobic office; whereas lighter colours produce a much spacious perception. For smaller offices, it is best to have dark furniture with lighter walls and to avoid heavily patterned carpets – keep it simple.