Spring is here! With the warm weather comes an opportunity for a fresh start, and that includes doing some good ol’ fashioned spring cleaning, especially if things became a bit messy during the winter months. Whether you work from home or rent out a workspace, you may have papers and supplies piled up in and around your office. A cluttered desk could impact your productivity, which could impact your bottom line. A messy workplace could also lead to bad slips and falls, which could hurt you, your customers, and other visitors who stop by your business. In fact, over 42,000 Canadians get injured annually due to fall accidents. That’s why we’ve together these small business spring cleaning tips to help you get organized…and hopefully stay that way!
Tip 1: Divide your workspace into zones
Regardless of how large your workspace is, it’s important to answer what you’ll be using it for in order to optimize the space you have. You may require a workspace for your computer, a library for your resources, a quiet space for meetings, and a storage area for your supplies. Set up zones for all of your daily functions, so you can organize related activities and materials into those designated zones. This will provide a foundation for a more efficient use of space.
Tip 2: Create a paper organizing system
Many businesses are moving towards a paperless office, but that doesn’t mean you have to get rid of using paper altogether. Create folders to sort paper documents by project, department or topic. Make it a weekly habit to go through the printed sheets on your desk and throw away what you no longer need, and sort the remaining papers into its corresponding folder. This will minimize the clutter on your desk and help you find documents faster.
Tip 3: Declutter your inbox
Spring cleaning can be digital too! Most of us are drowning in email and spending way too much time staring at our inboxes. Proper email etiquette can help you manage your digital clutter. Similar to your paper organizing system, create a way to manage your email. Create folders to group your emails, set to-do reminders in your Outlook calendar for urgent to-dos, and group conversations so you can find an old email faster.
Tip 4: Keep a basket or drawer for short-term storage items
One useful way of keeping clutter to a minimum is to assign a basket or drawer for short-term storage items. Plan ahead for the next month by tossing everything you’ll need for that month in this space. This could include papers, publications, memos, and event paraphernalia. This will help keep everything you’ll need in one contained space or area. Once the month is over, you can toss these items out and start again for the next month.
Tip 5: Keep only what you need at arm’s length
Most of us are guilty of occupying every inch of our workspaces, forgetting that visual clutter is still clutter. The only items that should be within arm’s length are what you’ll need immediately, such as your laptop, a notepad, your planner, pens and a mug. Keep everything else in the zones you’ve created, in your catch-all drawer, and your short-term storage space.
Tip 6: Minimize uneven spaces
Even though winter is over, slips and falls could still happen on your property. Slips can happen all over your property, whether it’s in your storefront, your parking lot, or even on the walkways outside. When cleaning indoors, ensure that any rugs, carpets, or mats are placed firmly on the floor, and make sure they’re not loose or unsecured. When cleaning outside, make sure you’ve taken care of any uneven or sloped walkways on your property.
Tip 7: Cover any exposed wires and cables
You might need an array of tools, gadgets, and electronics to run your business, but leaving any wires and cables exposed could harm your customers. Think about how many times you’ve tripped over your laptop power cable while running to get popcorn from the microwave. When organizing your tools and electronics, make sure that the cables you need are tucked away so you and your customers can’t trip over them. Consider using wire tubing, cord clips, or even binder clips to keep computer cables tightly secured in your work area. If you regularly use power tools and similar equipment, make sure you’re not leaving them out in the open when using them.
With a proper plan in place and the right mindset, decluttering your business doesn’t have to be a looming task on the horizon.
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