Working From Home: Staying Organized
You thought you would save time working from home, there’s no commute and getting ready takes only a few minutes. With all that extra time you should be the epitome of organization, so what happened? Well, even under the best circumstances change is difficult, so if you are used to working in an office and are suddenly working from home, it’s an adjustment. Add in a worldwide pandemic, homeschooling your children and suiting up in hazmat gear just to go to the grocery store, and it’s no wonder you are feeling a little scattered. Here are a few tips to keep you and your workspace organized when working from home.
1. Set a schedule and communicate that schedule to your family and team
During times of uncertainty, it’s simply not possible to operate at previous productivity levels. So first of all, acknowledge what a realistic schedule looks like for you, then write it down for yourself, your family, and your partner or spouse. Next, communicate your hours and capacity to your team. If you have to take a few hours during the day to homeschool, let coworkers know. Also let them know when/if you plan to work additional hours in the mornings or evenings. And finally communicate extended lead times up front. Communication and consistency are critical when it comes to working from home.
2. Block out the last half hour of each workday to straighten up
When setting a schedule, it’s important to block out the last half hour of each day to straighten up. Put away finished projects, review ongoing projects and think about what you might be working on the next day. Throw away or recycle any unnecessary documents. It’s so much easier to start work the next day in an organized workspace. If you don’t have a dedicated workspace, consider a bag like this from Land’s End or a simple File Box. At the end of each day put supplies and projects away.
3. Keep paperwork manageable
Having an extra monitor will reduce the amount of paper that you print out and less paper makes it easier to stay organized (plus it's better for the environment). Even if your work won’t spring for the extra monitor, you should consider making the purchase yourself. Monitors have come down in price and can be purchased for less than $150.
For the paperwork you do have to print out, use a paperwork organizer. There’s no need to create a file for a temporary project or be stuck with stacks of paper on your desk. A Paperwork Organizer is also great for traveling with documents or taking them back and forth between office and home.
4. Don't hoard office supplies
Keep only the supplies you need and in realistic amounts. A case pack of tape might be fine for the office supply cabinet, but at your home it’s a storage nightmare. Saving a few cents per paperclip sounds like a good idea until you have to buy a $10 storage container to store 10,000 paperclips. I designed the See Jane Work Supply Box for this exact purpose. It has just enough office supplies for home, plus it comes in a container that keeps the supplies organized on your desktop or in a desk drawer.
If there's one thing I've learned over the years, it's that there is always a way. You CAN make working form home work for you.
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