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Technology Doesn't Work Unless You Do: Keep an Organized Desk Anywhere

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With the shift to fully remote work or hybrid work, many of our desks are now virtual, but the same principles apply to decluttering your digital world.

With the nearly overnight shift to remote work almost two years ago, many companies spun up virtual desks and file sharing overnight, many thinking they would be short-term solutions.  Employees leaving the office packed up papers and files from their desks for what we thought were just a few weeks to flatten the curve, and may still have those boxes stashed in a corner at home. In short, you may be overwhelmed by your current clutter. However, getting you and your team to a place where you can work efficiently and effectively from anywhere just requires you to embrace the same lean and organization principles that have been streamlining offices for years.

 

At your physical desk or workspace

In the digital domain

1. Recycle or shred documents that are no longer needed and do not need to be retained. Move outdated files or old versions to your recycle bin and empty them regularly.
2. If it must be kept on paper, make sure it's easy to find by having a filing system that makes sense for your team.  Are files labeled by the client and then stored chronologically? Should all documents be stored at desks or moved to a central file? What document types are in each file? You need a system everyone can understand - so document it. Take the time to agree with your working team on how files are going to be organized digitally and where. With OneDrive, Teams (which is really SharePoint), Dropbox, Google Drive, and more - it's likely your files are scattered across many of these. Will you store by date or by the client? Use folders or file metadata? You need a system everyone can understand - so document it.
3. Declutter by digitizing, but only if you have a clear vision of what digital storage will look like and how documents will be created and tagged. Make sure you aren't creating duplicate records. Declutter your digital storage by agreeing on which system and naming convention should be applied to each type of your document - keep it simple and consistent.
4. Consider rearranging your space to make it more user-friendly and keep important documents within easy reach. If your current tools aren't user-friendly, take time to assess other technology options. And learn how to effectively use search features to quickly find what you need.
5. Keep your desk clutter-free, as it is proven to improve focus and reduce anxiety. Keep your virtual desktop free of clutter too, as it will improve your computer's performance and keep files accessible to others.
6. Clean it before you leave it. Make it a habit to organize your desk at the end of each working day and week. File documents you no longer need, convert post-its to your task list or CRM, discard trash, and wipe down your desk. Clean it before you leave it. Make it a habit to check in on your digital space at least weekly. Use the "Recent Files" to double-check that you have stored items where they belong. Clean out or archive your email inbox, and convert chat, slack, or other messages to your task list or CRM.

A clean desk and organized digital files and documents should be the goal of every office team. You will feel more aware of what's going on around you and it allows you to be more productive and effective. Here at Tangata, operational excellence, especially when enabled by the right technology, is part of how we work and helps us to provide excellent services for our clients. It is also something we can help your organization achieve for sustainable improvements that add real value.

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