Measuring Success–Small Office/Home Office re-organization

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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 existence (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 of 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. Pretty effective if you ask me.  I wish more of my clients did this… heck, I wish I did this more often!
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 ill-used 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.
  • it meant setting up useful filing systems that he could access easily.
  • it meant that he had to buy a professional grade desk and matching book shelves to keep everything close at hand

For my client success was measured in having the time, the resources and the commitment to organizing his office.  This meant incorporating the needs of managing two offices (three if you included the mobile office) in two different cities.
Once we discussed what his needs were, we (and by we I mean me) determined that it was well worth the 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. I always do this with my clients to save them time shopping).
Together we choose the best fit for this small room.  Knowing what we needed for the space and equipment (two laptops, a printer and a large monitor – need to be accommodated).
We opted for a light coloured desk and a matching shelving unit.
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The writing area to the left of the monitor is beside a window providing natural lighting
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Although I would not recommend placing a printer by the window, the client felt this was the best placement for his needs.
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Using uniform containers keep things neat.

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A nice hit of red added some warmth to the relatively neutral colour palette.
Overall the client was very happy with the outcome as we were able to transform a small bedroom and walk-in closet into a functional space that incorporated a work area and storage.  Purchasing matching professional grade furniture meant it would last.  Updating with hits of colour made it fun.  His wife loved it so much she wants me to organize their apartment in Toronto. 
Bring it on… I say.

I am updating this post so that I can add it to the Organize It! Linky.  I am going to Link this post to m favourite organizer @OrgJunkie.  Here is the button that you  can link to for further information:

A Bowl Full of Lemons


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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.

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Margarita Ibbott is a travel and lifestyle blogger. She blogs about travel in Canada, the United States and Europe giving practical advice through restaurant, hotel and attraction reviews. She writes for and other online media outlets.

5 thoughts on “Measuring Success–Small Office/Home Office re-organization”

  1. Margarita- Love the red magazine holders and the dotted baskets. Beautifully designed. I also relate to redoing the office. This year, finally, my office area is being redesigned and built. We’re in the estimating stage and soon the building will begin. I cannot wait to finally have work space look, feel, and be the way I’ve always imagined it to be. I’m very excited and know it will only enhance my work process.

  2. I have to say Janet, when I was younger, red was a signature colour for me. I still love to see it in an office.

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