Desk jobs have never felt neater.
It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in or where you sit on the corporate ladder: Prioritizing desk organization ideas (and, by extension, home office organization) is one of the most important things you can do for your career.
Research shows the average person spends 4.3 hours per week looking for important work assets, which ultimately increases stress, decreases focus, and stunts creativity. The plot thickens when you have a looming deadline or important meeting on the schedule, but spend all your time looking for that piece of paper or necessary notebook.
“A proper organizational system is vital for your desk so you can be productive and creative,” says Lisa Ruff, director of business development at the Neat Method.
The problem is that keeping a tidy workspace isn’t as cut and dry as, say, investing in a nice desk desk organizer. Nowadays, more people are ditching cubicle-trapped jobs and joining co-working spaces or putting home office ideas into practice. How can you possibly accomplish desk organization when desks aren’t always what they used to be?
Don’t worry: There’s help out there. Here, check out some smart office desk organization ideas for every type of workspace—they might be the solution.
For The Corner Office
In the corporate world, it doesn’t get more glamorous than having a corner office. This coveted slice of work real estate means you’re calling the shots at your company, plus you have plenty of space to take your office organization to the next level.
“Make things visible and beautiful by incorporating labeled baskets and open shelving,” Ruff says. She recommends IKEA’s ever-so-stylish SVALNÄS storage system.
While you should make the most of your corner office space with shelving units and cabinets, Ruff says it’s important to keep the items you use regularly close by. After all, anyone in a corner office is probably too busy to search for the guest WiFi password.
For the Cubicle
The cubicle may be a standard workspace, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to find great desk organization ideas for it. With square footage at a premium, it’s important to prioritize desks for small spaces, small office ideas, and the organizing rules that come with them.
“Smaller spaces can quickly become cluttered and distract from the task at hand,” Ruff says. “Ensure everything has its place in a drawer so you can have a clear desktop to focus.”
While Ruff recommends investing in multipurpose furniture—such as a file cabinet that can double as an extra seat for an impromptu brainstorm meeting— she also stresses taking advantage of your cubicle’s walls.
“Go vertical and utilize the walls by hanging a reusable writing surface for your to-do list and ideas,” she says.
Using cubicle walls is space-efficient, but it will also make your space feel less sterile.
For the Open-Concept Office
Working at a startup or a startup-minded company? There’s a good chance your office has ditched the typical cubicle format in favor of an open-concept workspace. While it’s great to be face to face (literally) with your co-workers, it poses an interesting challenge: How to organize your desk without encroaching on your neighbors’ space.
According to Ruff, one solution to make the most of the area underneath your desk.
“Incorporate a filing cabinet under the desk to store work essentials and personal items,” she suggests.
Still, no matter how organized you are below deck, there’s always the possibility your belongings will spill into your neighbor’s quarters. Having someone’s papers or office supplies all over your desk is bad enough, but when you’re racing against the clock to meet a deadline? That’s a water cooler conversation we don’t want to have. Instead, Ruff recommends adding a physical barrier, like a small tray or a cute desk organizer, to keep your stuff where it belongs. Trust us, your colleagues will appreciate it.
For the Co-Working Space
Is it just us, or are co-working spaces popping up faster than you can actually say, “Co-working space?” Unless your shared office allocates certain areas to its members, there’s a good chance your desk is going to change daily.
It may seem impossible to implement desk organization ideas to your temporary space, but Ruff says the secret lies in how you organize your stuff.
“You’re going to carry your ‘office’ with you each day, so invest in a quality backpack or shoulder bag that fits everything you need and is comfortable to carry,” she says.
Whether you have an all-access membership to the hottest co-working space in town or crank out work at your nearby café, think of your work bag as your office. The more organized your bag is, the easier it will be to set up shop, no matter where you are.
For the Digital Nomad
Another tip for how to organize your desk, especially if you’re constantly on the move? Go digital.
For the Home Office
Honestly, working from home has a lot of perks: You get to avoid a treacherous commute, wear your sweatpants all day, and cook up a fresh, delicious lunch. Hey, it certainly beats that sad desk salad!
Implementing some great office organization ideas at home is easier said than done, though. Where you work is where you live, so it’s important to keep your space feeling like, well, home.
For Ruff, the key is marrying work and play together under one roof.
“Use furniture that fits the aesthetic of your home and has a good amount of storage so you can conceal the clutter,” she says. “Think drawers!”
In a perfect world, you’d have an entire room dedicated to a home office. You know: the modern-day corner office. But if you’re living in an apartment or small space, you’re likely working from your kitchen counter. Strike a work-life balance by packing up your makeshift desk at the end of the day.
“Clean off your workspace at the end of each work day so you can start fresh in the morning and not be overwhelmed by the sight of it after working hours,” Ruff says.
Putting your laptop and notebook in your cabinet can be mental cue that you’re done for the day and can finally unwind. Enjoy—you’ve earned it.