Workspace overhaul: three simple ways to rejuvenate your space

 It’s too early for spring cleaning, but a new financial year is an equally good excuse to get your workspace organised – and maybe even a little spruced up for the months ahead. Decluttering and establishing order amongst the chaos doesn’t have to be expensive or overly complicated. In fact, with these three steps, refreshing your workspace is as easy as it is rewarding.

Step 1: Get organised

Establish a filing and storage system

Filing and storage options for small desks

“A place for everything, and everything in its place” is one of Anita Birges', decluttering expert from Mise en place, favourite sayings. If your desk and shelves are heaving with loose papers, books, magazines and reference materials, give them a better home. A few matching binders, magazine boxes and even storage boxes with lids can bring a sense of order and calm to bookshelves and cabinets. “Just don’t try and hide the clutter,” says Birges. “If you hide clutter, it’s like it doesn't exist. Give everything a place or a label and get rid of what you don’t need.”

Store information digitally

 Digital storage solutions

We’re all guilty of leaving a Post-It note here or there. And who doesn’t have a stack of old business cards on their desk or lurking in a drawer? Birges says these things amount to visual clutter and can create unnecessary stress. “It’s just more ‘stuff’. Even in our home lives we have things like gift vouchers sitting around taking up space,” she says. “A great idea is to take photos of them, and keep that visual clutter down.” Backup the important content regularly on a desktop or portable hard drive and you’ll always have the information at your fingertips, not messily in your line of sight.

 

Use your vertical space

Decorate and store items with vertical shelves

Space is a premium some small businesses struggle to afford. Thinking vertically might open up new possibilities in a cramped home office or tiny premises. Floating shelves in particular are a great option – they’re relatively affordable, easy to install and can even be styled to reflect your personal taste. “It’s important to remember to not clutter the shelves,” says Birges, “but I always encourage people to add something that reflects your personal style. It can be as simple as some flowers, a vase, a print or a clock.”

Step 2: Make it your own

Have fun with stationery

Have fun with stylish pastel-coloured stationery

Whether you keep it classy with pastel hues or are a more of a pattern fiend, coloured pens, pencils, paper and notebooks can be just the ticket to brighten up an otherwise dull desktop – or get you noticed. Stylist Cassie Smith  says personalised stationery can also add interest to what you’re doing. “Even if you’re a small business owner following your passion, there are tasks you won’t enjoy doing, and small things can bring enjoyment to it, like a notepad you love using or a cute pen. If you really like the things you’re working with, you’re more inclined to enjoy the work.”

Bring the outdoors in

Indoor plants are good for your workspace

There are a lot of benefits to indoor plants, from their ability to reduce carbon dioxide levels, to increasing humidity levels, cleansing the air and even increasing workplace efficiency. A touch of greenery is a great way to bring the outdoors in, especially if you don’t get out much during the day. “Indoor plants also allow you to style a space to your liking, and make things less sterile and stark,” says Smith. “I’m a huge fan of Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia), they have beautiful big foliage and are very hardy. Fiddle leaf figs are also very on-trend but are a little more temperamental to look after.”

Add interest to walls

Decorate your office with a gallery wall

Got a blank wall begging to be beautified? Why not create a gallery wall with a collection of images, prints, photos or illustrations – whatever tickles your fancy. “Choosing and displaying art is such a personal thing, you’re the one who needs to like it,” says Smith. “You could have a $2000 painting, or snippets you’ve torn out of a magazine and stuck on the wall with washi tape and love that just as much.” If you rent your workspace, you might not be able to take to the wall with a drill and hooks, but Smith says there are ways around that: “Removable hooks and adhesive strips are great. But you can also just place prints or photo frames against a wall, either on the ground or on a sideboard or console table. They can look just as effective on a surface as on a wall.”

 

Step 3: Refresh your furniture

Find the right desk

Find a desk that suits your needs

If you were to count the number of hours you spend at a desk, you’ll quickly see why it’s important to have the right one: shape, size, height and position included. If you’re unhappy with your current desk or are thinking of acquiring a new one, take a moment to consider the goals for your workspace. “Things like who’s going to be using it, how often and what for, as well as storage and the rest of the area need to be considered,” says Birges.

 

Consider a standing desk

Standing desks are good for your health

Standing desks are an excellent alternative to your more traditional options – and the benefits speak for themselves. One study, Improving Worker Health: The Take-a-Stand Project, showed that back and neck pain was reduced by 54 per cent within four weeks of using a standing desk periodically throughout the day. If that’s not reason enough to consider making the switch, other reported benefits of a standing desk include reduced fatigue, tension, depression, confusion and an overall mood boost. “A standing desk creates a great flow of energy from the floor up towards the brain,” says Birges. “I’m seeing them more and more. Just make sure it fits your area first.”

Invest in a good chair

Invest in a good desk chair

“The reality is a lot of chairs are ergonomic and comfortable and designed to be sat in for long periods of time, but they don't look amazing,” says Smith. “As a business owner, you want your desk to be a place where you enjoy sitting, that’s comfortable and stylish, and you know you can produce your best work.” Because of this, you might need to pay a little extra to find an ergonomic chair that ticks all the boxes, but given the time you’ll likely spend sitting in it, it’s worth the investment.

 

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