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Tips For Office Design & Organization

A cluttered, disorganized office is one of the worst things for productivity. Feng Shui Consultant Karen Kingston says that clutter is “stuck energy.” H.G. Chissell is another Feng Shui Consultant who explains, “Clutter is a physical manifestation of fear that cripples our ability to grow.” Whether you have big clients coming in or not, your office needs to be a space that is clean, comfortable and set up for maximum productivity.


Create An Open Workspace.

No one likes working in crowded cubicles, while management hides in spacious corner offices with their own espresso makers and floor-to-ceiling windows with stunning city views. Cornell University’s International Workplace Studies program published a 77-page report titled, “Offices That Work” that posits that open, small-scale environments create the most positive environment. “The more open the ‘open’ plan office environment, the more conducive it is to overall work effectiveness, when communication and interaction are critical elements of the work process,” researchers conclude. They recommend organizing “team-oriented bullpens” where several desks are clustered together. Incorporating couches, plants and fun architectural shape dividers are good ways to give everyone a feeling of autonomous space, without feeling trapped.


Consider Interior Design Elements & Colors.

A study by Eastern Michigan University found that stress can be reduced and employee productivity can be enhanced by removing private offices to allow for more natural light and a sense of openness. A few private “quiet” rooms would be preserved for meetings and phone calls, as well as for the CEO and CFO. Furniture should be flexible on casters for rearranging as needed. Administrators will be set in a central location that is accessible to everyone. Meditation, relaxation and fitness rooms would be added to minimize stress and several different lounges should be provided for alternate meeting and socializing spaces. The kitchen and cafeteria will incorporate bright, vibrant colors like red or orange to inspire creativity, energy and sociability. Restrooms should have blue tiles for comfort. Workspaces should have light green and cream to reduce stress. Plants should be added to bring nature indoors and clean the air. The restrooms and lounge areas should have inspiring art panels.


Add Perks To Make Work Feel Like Play.  

Surely by now you have heard about the almighty “Googleplex,” an office that also contains a gym, free laundry rooms, 18 cafeterias, two swimming pools, sand volleyball courts and a video gaming lounge. At thredUp, a used kids clothing exchange startup, there is a well-stocked free espresso machine for when workers arrive in the morning and a kegerator that dispenses beer into frosty mugs for workers who have just clocked out.


Implement “5S” Methodology.

This popular method of workplace organization uses five phases:

  • Sorting: Eliminate unnecessary tools, parts and materials. Store or discard.
  • Straightening: Find a place for everything, with the most used items most accessible.
  • Sweeping: Clean and disinfect everything daily, including mopping up spills or leaks.
  • Standardizing: Stock each work station with the same tools in the same way.
  • Sustaining: Maintain and review standards, considering new ways to improve.


Fix Paper Clutter.

Most offices are switching to electronic recordings. Organizing paper is all about having a system. Some people organize paperwork by “Urgent / Important / Rubbish.” Other people organize based on “Temporary” documents they’re currently working with and “Suspension” documents that will go into long-term storage – which is also further categorized (for example: rent payment records, utility bills, vendor invoices, etc.) Have a paper shredder on hand and use it regularly.   


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Related Articles:
Cornell University: Offices That Work
INC: How To Design A Great Small Office

Eastern Michigan University: A Workplace Design That Reduces Employee Stress…

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