Offices are getting smaller and many people run businesses from home, making space organisation a massive logistical challenge. When you find there’s room for everything in your workspace except you, it’s time to take charge, reclaim that area and transform your business in the process.
Embrace the Virtual
Cloud technology means we can get away with a lot less hardware and storage in today’s office. Whether you subscribe to Microsoft Office 365 or you use freely available online software such as Google Docs, online storage for business documents do away with the need for bulky filing cabinets.
Taking advantage of online accounting packages that also allows for document uploads provides a simple and secure way of storing records that previously could only be stored physically. If you’re not already, photograph or scan business receipts and upload the digital copies to cloud storage. You still need a logical naming convention for files and folders so you can easily find documents, but it’s worth the effort since HRMC will accept digital records as part of your business accounting.
Transform Your Stock Room
Stock storage is the backbone of many a business. Organising it can be something of a headache, however. Create space and order with these tips:
- Organisation – use sturdy shelving made for the purpose that will easily support the weight you need. Create zones on shelves for categories of item, and label them accordingly. Place the most used items closest to the door for rapid retrieval. Keep a running tally to make stock taking easier and faster. Devise a logical system, such as separating items by colour, manufacturer or size.
- Storage containers/boxes/hangers/labels – Use clear storage boxes so you can see what’s inside. Store fabrics or papers in acid-free containers. Keep brightly coloured items out of direct sunlight. When stacking, place heavier, bigger boxes at the bottom.
- Layout – how you lay out the store room can improve efficiency no end. Ideally, have a slightly larger space than you strictly need so you can arrange shelving or hanging stock with a walkway down the middle. It prevents you having to thread your way through a stock slalom, and means you can locate items at a glance.
Taking advantage of the latest trends in business storage has solved space problems for many e-commerce companies. Self storage facilities, for instance, have a huge variety of room sizes, plus a relaxed attitude to rental terms which allow upscaling or downsizing as necessary.
Wherever you choose to store stock, try and incorporate spare space so you can take advantage of overstock bargains or seasonal fluctuations.
Transforming Small Work Spaces
If you share an office or maybe run your business from a corner at home, your space is probably quite small. Clever solutions that create a feeling of more space include:
- Downsizing your desk – We’re all trying to cut down on paper storage and printing, so maybe all you need from a desk is a drawer for pens, space for a pad beside your keyboard and enough depth so your screen is at a comfortable distance. A workstation may be just as convenient as a conventional desk but with a smaller footprint.
- Use vertical space – instead of taking up floor space with bookcases, install wall shelving above your desk instead. Having to lean across your desk creates a psychological barrier to colleagues or housemates who may want to borrow without asking, but keeps everything handy.
- Update your lighting – lighting creates an illusion of space rather than space itself, but is a vital part of every work area. Dull lighting not only causes headaches and eyestrain, it makes you feel cramped and closed in. Invest in a good desk lamp, use downward pointing lights rather than uplighters that cause shadows, and also avoid floor lights that take up space.
When palatial work areas are not part of your business setup, you have to get creative with space. Hopefully these ideas will spark off some of your own for how you can transform your personal workspace and business.