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The ideal office

Work Hacks You Can Use Today

by Ben Kirst

Workplace Organization Tips

Work: we all have to do it. The trick, however, is making those eight hours a day as pleasant as possible.

Thirty-nine percent of Americans are white-collar workers while the other 61 percent are blue-collar, according to statistics from the Henry J. Kaiser Foundation.

  • White-collar workers, by Hank Kaiser’s definition, are “those who self-identify as professionals or managers.”
  • Blue-collar workers, on the other hand, are “assistants and clerical workers, technicians and repair workers, artists and entertainers, service workers, laborers, salespersons, operators, skilled trade workers, assemblers, or former military.”  Pretty wide swath of the labor force, yes?

Interesting observation: a lot of these blue-collar folks do not fit the traditional workingman / woman stereotype. Almost all of us, to some degree, have become paper-shufflers, number-crunchers and cube-dwellers.

Vintage office from the BBC

From The Huffington Post’s bureau across the pond:

Apparently, British office workers spend the equivalent of five years of their lives sat at their desk without getting up…

The research by Sanlam Private Investments shows that on average, office workers spend 55% of their working day sat down with almost 60% saying they don’t even take a lunch break and instead eat at their desk.

That’s a lot of desk time, friends. If you’re a stickler for organization, you need to take control of that environment. Clutter can get out of control fast — and so can a soul-crushing sense of conformity.

Here are some of our favorite tips, hacks and ideas for staying organized while adding a bit of fun to life as an office drone.

You’re the boss: Organization hacks for the workplace

 1. Take care of your cords once and for all. 

Organize your cords in your office.

Believe me, no one is more surprised than me that the first office hack of the list comes from Lauren Conrad (although, in fairness, she took the idea from Martha Stewart). What can I say, it’s a great idea:

Feed cords though a hole drilled in your desk, and mount a surge protector on the underside. Or, if you’d rather manage cords sans any permanent damage to your furniture, use Velcro strips or zip ties to secure them into an organized cluster.

Nice! Thanks, Lauren. Her inspiration board is actually a pretty good idea, too.

2. Create a bulletin board that adds color to a dull office.

Carpet bulletin board

Another solid idea from Martha Stewart, who certainly knows about making a dingy room more festive. This bulletin board is made using a simple, four-step process that includes wrapping tiles with carpet remnants, measuring an appropriate space on your wall and arranging the pieces in a snug pattern. Easy, brilliant and economical hacks — that’s why Martha is the master.

3. Minimize your actual work area.

Minimalist desk

Access is the name of the game — and so is clear space. A big, messy desk isn’t the sign of a hard worker, it’s a flashing billboard that screams “I’ve Lost Control.”

Take a lesson from the minimalists of the world — bulldoze your immediate workspace down to the basics. Files? Magazines? Unread reports? Mementos? Get thee to the filing cabinet. If you don’t need it to be productive, get it off your desk.

And honestly — do you really feel good when you look at that mess?

“The only stuff in the radius of your arms should be the stuff you need immediately,” organizational expert Peter Walsh tells Forbes.com. “Boxes of pens, stacks of papers and old coffee cups need to go. Instead, rid your desk of visual clutter by paring down the items on top to the essentials only. For most, that means a monitor and keyboard, telephone, two pens, one notebook, a lamp and one family photograph in your most-used workspace. Supplies, paperwork and personal items should be kept in the zones you’ve established for them.”

You can keep the carpet bulletin board, of course.

4. Binder clips are the best clips.

headphones_clip1

The workday is made far more tolerable when you can lock into Spotify for six or seven hours. Less tolerable? Your headphones getting in the way and generally mucking up your otherwise well-organized desk. Binder clips, however, offer a simple hacks — clip one end to your desk or hook one of the ends to a thumbtack, and you have a perfect hook for either earbuds or those sweet Beats by Dre cans that you want everyone to see.

If you’re lucky enough to play your music out loud but somehow unlucky enough not to have speakers on your work computer, you can use a pair of binder clips to rig a holder for your mobile phone. This is also a great way to watch Hulu. On your lunch break, of course.

By the way: There are several hacks to enhance the audio on your mobile phone — everything from the tried-and-true sticking your iPhone in a glass to more elaborate devices (see below).

5. Vintage items add character to your office space.

Vintage office items

Nothing adds soul and color to an otherwise innocuous office space like a unique vintage item. Antique books? An old shutter camera? A junk-store roller skate? A bird’s nest? Each of these examples could be found in a thrift store or vintage shop for less than $10 — and you can find other items that speak more directly to you and your own tastes, as well. Sometimes, hacks are as simple as repurposing a found object in a clever and creative way. Nothing wrong with a conversation piece or two to get you through an otherwise dull meeting about timesheets.

Don’t be shy! Share your office hacks and ideas with us.

Have you found ways to hack your workspace? Did you improve productivity, solve an irritating problem or just make your office a little more livable? If so, please share your hack or tip in the comments below — we’ll share our favorites with our @UncleBobStorage account on Twitter.

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