4 Tips to Better Organize your Office: Going Minimalist to Maximize Productivity

The right environment can have a direct impact on how people work. Cramped spaces, disorganized file cabinets, and cluttered desks can create the feeling of stress and even impede workflow. Cleaning and tidying up is a simple solution to the problem, but the secret to efficiency and productivity might be found in a different approach.

Minimalism is a philosophy that encourages you to keep only what you need and eliminate everything else.

This may sound straightforward enough, but anyone who’s ever had to organize a disorderly office knows the anxiety that comes from going through messes and deciding what’s worth keeping, donating, or discarding altogether.

When creating your very own minimalist workspace, you don’t have to ‘get it right’ the first time. Feeling out how a space affects your work, how you want to decorate, or even the best way to organize your files comes with actually operating in that space—it’s a constant and consistent endeavor that takes time but certainly can boost your productivity.

Now that you’re ready to take your spring cleaning a step further, without further ado, here are our 4 quick tips to becoming an office minimalist.

Step 1 – Decide Your Minimum Requirements for Work

First observe how employee work flows are affected by the office space. Is there a lot of clutter? Are there pieces of equipment or tools that never get used but are left out to collect dust? When you need something, can you easily find it? Asking these questions and more will help you identify what needs to change.

Modernize by using apps to replace physical items. Are your office landlines clunky and collecting dust because employees are using their cell-phones? Good news, there’s an app to give your employees their own business extensions. There are apps for everything nowadays, and using technology to your advantage can play a significant role in minimizing your office clutter.

Remember, a good rule of thumb is that if there’s any environmental based frustration, chances are you’ve identified some room to go minimalist.

Step 2 – Digitize the Physical

Stacks of receipts and filing cabinets full of documents can be eliminated once you scan the paperwork into a digital format.

If you’re receiving or sending faxes, save paper (and ditch the fax machine!) by using a fax app. This will let you fax online and further cut your dependence on paper. Modern fax apps allow users to sign digitally using their laptops and smartphones, and even organize your fax messages in an online archive so you never lose an important message.

Reference materials like books and manuals are easily accessible online. Emails, text messages, and even faxes have online portals for users to view them. (Later, paper!)

To ensure you don’t ever lose all these files once digitized, backup and store copies of everything with a cloud storage service.

Step 3 – Go Paperless

Getting rid of your printer and scanning your paper documents are big strides toward becoming paperless. But there’s more you can do.

Get rid of filing cabinets, dusty drawers, unplug old equipment and remember to close any accounts you won’t need anymore.

For services you decide to keep, stop bills and notices from coming to your door by signing up to receive them online instead. Most companies recognize that cutting down on paper waste saves on postage, and helps save time by being immediately available online. Take advantage of companies that offer these services because it will also cut down on your own frustration of having to store these notices and eventually clean them out.

You can still take notes and keep to-do lists. Instead of writing them down and using paper, use an app instead. Most modern note taking apps also let you upload them to your computer, email coworkers, and may even give you phone and calendar notifications.  Little black books, post-its, and poorly handwritten notes are a thing of the past.

Step 4 – Clear the Clutter

Switching from analog methods like using a file cabinet or fax machine, to the cloud and online faxing also helps cut down on costs and the stress of maintenance.  Instead of throwing all your old equipment and tools away, you might consider donating them. Donation centers would be able to accept items in good condition. As an added bonus, donations can be itemized and used for tax deductions.

When reducing paper usage it makes sense to also cut down on pens, markers, staplers, and printing supplies to make room for technology that will take its place. Check to see if any paper or old boxes can be recycled before placing it in the garbage.

Employee break areas are also an easy place to overlook. Instead of simply having a trash can, keeping a recycling bin for cans and bottles can also cut down on waste. The proceeds from recycling can also go toward a rainy day fund or an employee appreciation lunch.

These are just a few great reasons to cut out clutter once and for all!

A Few Final Words

If your work requires you to have a copier in your office, then by all means, have one. In fact, have two if you really need them! Just be frank in your assessment of what you actually need and what you don’t.

Minimalism is not about discarding everything in sight or simply keeping things that bring you joy. It’s about streamlining and simplifying your office space to improve workflow and maximize productivity. And that is something you can do step by step – one desk drawer at a time.

Haven’t tried eFax yet? Don’t wait.