The new year is always a time to reflect on what worked and what didn’t in the previous year. For one client it meant moving forward on Small Office/Home Office (SOHO) re-organization. An office makeover can be the catalyst for creating success in the year to come. It can be a clean slate, a clean sweep or a fresh start. My client had heard my interview on CBC Radio – Ontario Today last year and had kept my information tucked away until he was ready to make some changes.
He is a sales manager and is on the road constantly. He also resides in two cities, two hours apart so the need for him to have a very mobile office was essential. He constantly travels with two laptops and his prized possession – his iPhone.
One of the most interesting things that I found out right away is his commitment to living a paperless life (it is ironic because we had to go through pounds and pounds of paper before that goal was checked off). I say its interesting because I think we live in a world that likes to think it is moving towards eliminating paper, I find that with my clients, they tend to have more paper. How is that? Many of us have the habit to printing off that article we want to read, that email we ‘need’ to keep or that coupon we mean to use. By doing so, we are creating more paper not less.
My client has become very effective at using his smartphone to minimize the amount of paper in his office. He takes pictures of receipts and invoices and then stores them for future reference. He has specific apps that help him with expenses to keep track of these receipts. He can download the information to spreadsheets that capture the information and then rolls them out when he has to produce expense reports or complete his taxes.
How does he measure success? By subscribing to a paperless office. What did that mean for our project?
- It meant that I could eliminate two little-use and bulky filing cabinets.
- It meant that we could archive tax receipts from the last 7 years into one storage container stored in the basement.
- It meant that the folders on top of his desk or in boxes were no longer an issue because he diligently purged most of it.
For my client success was measured in having the time, the resources and the commitment to organizing his office so that it became an indication of his success to have two offices (three if you count his car) in two different cities.
It was worth our while to have a proper desk with matching bookshelves. We went to our local Lover’s At Work Office Furniture store where they have new and gently used office furniture. I scouted out a few options to make sure we had a selection to look at and that we were within budget.
Together we choose the best fit for this small room. Know what we needed in the way of space (two laptops, a printer and a large monitor – need to be accommodated).
We opted for a light coloured desk and a matching shelving unit.
The writing area to the left of the monitor is beside a window providing natural lighting
Although I would not recommend placing a printer by the window, the client felt this was the best placement for his needs.
Using uniform containers keep things neat.
A nice hit of red added some warmth to the relatively neutral colour palette.
Margarita Ibbott has been a professional organizer for over 7 years. She works with professional, families and individuals to bring order to their lives. She can be found on Twitter, Facebook or on her blog. For more tips on how to stay organized, subscribe to her blog.