Creating a shared office space can be tricky, especially when office mates have different organizing styles. Below are three tried and true guidelines to increase success when working in shared workspaces.
Simplify the Layout
Multi-Function: If space is at a premium, opt for multi-use furniture like a long worktable that can accommodate several people. Multi-function furniture opens up the space by reducing the amount of items needed.
Lighting: Consider task lighting for each workspace. Some people prefer to work in brighter light and others prefer a more muted experience. The right lighting is important for comfort and efficiency, and, in some cases, can reduce the number and frequency of headaches.
Neutral Meeting Space: If space exists, create a common meeting area separate from the workspaces. This area doesn’t have to be fancy – it can be a small conference table with a few chairs, or two comfortable chairs flanked by a coffee table. Meeting space can provide a neutral setting in which to discuss intense and potentially difficult topics.
Ensure Sufficient Storage
Files vs Piles: When building in storage options, be sure to consider different organizing styles. Some people like to pile and others like to file. To increase comfort and efficiency, consider a filing cabinet for the filer, and horizontal options for the piler. If you’ve got a visual filer in the same space as a piler, those piles will likely drive the filer crazy. Look for a storage option that enables piling, and locate it in an area that will enable the filer to NOT have to see the piles. Another easy alternative is a screen or curtain that can be closed at the end of each workday.
Prime Space: Few things are as distracting to a filer as piles of items that don’t have a home. When determining where things go, make sure to have enough storage for frequently accessed items.
Subprime Space: If the shared office space is small, consider moving infrequently accessed items to another (clearly labeled) location.
Wall Space: Use wall space to greatest effect. The walls are there anyway, so we might as well use them. Chalkboard walls, corkboards, magnetic walls, slat boards, shelving, and other wall options can increase available project space without adding clutter.
Electronics: Most of us have more electronics than we need or know what to do with. Figure out what’s needed and stow the rest somewhere else. Most workspaces can get by on a laptop or desktop, one to two screens, an iPad or similar, a cell phone, and a few chargers. Ditch the rest (in an organized manner) outside of prime office space.
Theme: Create an integrated theme. To reduce visual chaos and create a more streamlined look in a smaller space, choose fewer, multifunction design items crafted with maximum appeal. Pick your top two favorite colors and one-two accent colors and go from there.
If you need help creating an efficient office layout, contact Lisa Mark, C.P.O. to find out if she is a good fit for your organizing or productivity needs.