At my workplace, we have something we like to call the “hit by a bus” rule. It goes like this: If you were hit by a bus on your way out of work today leave your office and your projects in such a condition that another employee could easily pick up where you left off and finish your jobs. While I’d like to think that the world would be so grief stricken by my absence that all design projects would come to an indefinite halt, there is something to be said for a well-organized office.
School is starting in a matter of weeks and soon enough there will be fleets of giant yellow buses making their way through Pittsburgh. Please be careful; we still want you around and those buses carry very precious cargo. However, the advent of the school year means that the chicest and trendiest office supplies can be snagged at rock bottom prices. Whether your desk is in the fifth grade or on Fifth Avenue, this is the perfect time of year to get yourself organized and efficient for the year ahead.
The first step to an organized office is to make sure you have the proper office supplies. Staples offers most of your favorite products for just $1-3 including binders, pens/pencils, and memo boards. Be a savvy shopper and buy things that are traditionally too expensive to justify on a whim. Pass up pencils and purchase cork boards which can typically be $10 or more without a discount. Generally, the sales at Staples allow only two per customer.
Office Max, Office Depot, and Dollar General offer some other really excellent deals including Office Max’s yearly fill-a-bag sale where everything that fits into a bag they provide will be discounted 20% at the register. This is the perfect time to stock up on ink and other higher ticket items for your office.
With all the tools you need to work efficiently, it is time to make sure your space supports that. This is a good time to think about your office layout. Are there things about your work space that bother you on a regular basis? Is the filing cabinet too far from the computer? Rearrange your office to promote better work habits and maybe even inspire a change of perspective. Traditionally, designers suggest an L-shape or U-shape workspace. Never have your back to the door or to the main flow of traffic where coworkers may stop for a quick question or comment.
How is your chair feeling? An unsupportive chair can hurt your back, wrists, and neck and can even slow down your progress throughout the day. Though they can be costly, a truly ergonomic chair can save you thousands in future medical bills and can promote lucrative productivity. It is an investment well spent and this is the perfect time of year to find the best bargains. If your chair is already great but looking rather drab, a quick internet search will show you several easy DIY websites for creating custom slipcovers for your favorite office chair.
Nothing is worse than a dull office especially during the long winter months ahead of us. Since most companies won’t let you change the paint in your space, the challenge is to find other ways to promote a design scheme. Target sells office organizational supplies in coordinating colors that match the year’s trendiest designs at an affordable price. Everything from file bins and folders to desk calendars and mouse pads can be bought to match. If you are unable to alter your office walls, take advantage of the dorm decorating ideas. Most colleges do not allow students to paint or make serious improvements to their temporary living quarters so products designed for dorm decorating are likely to be safe for your walls at the office. One of my personal favorite touches is to paint your cork board or upholster it to match your designer office supplies. While picture frames on your desk are an eye-level reminder of the people who matter most to you, they can also become a burden when they hinder your ability to spread out your work. Install shelving in your office using heavy duty command strips (which are easily removed without leaving unsightly residue) to free your desk. These can also be bought at a discounted price at your favorite office supply retailer.
Whether you are aiming for student of the month or employee of the month now is the ideal time to prepare your office for the year ahead. Shop smart, read the circulars, and compare pricing online before making selections so that you can save big on the basics and splurge on decorative extras! Whatever you do, be safe this year and look both ways for buses before crossing!