Organizing Desks in the Age of Mobility

Today’s work office is changing, and with it, comes a change in how we organize our workspaces. People may split time between a work office and a home office for telework. Others may work in “hoteling” spaces, moving from desk to desk daily. Others work in client spaces that periodically change; and still others are “road warriors,” where the office is a tray table on a plane or a seat in the lobby.

As we celebrate “national clean off your desk day,” let’s look at ideas for desk organization, no matter where your work office is.

  • Know what you really need – What are the core business tools and files you must have with you, in the office, at home or on the road? Know the core essentials needed for you to be productive, and have a way to easily transport, store and access them.
  • Know how to quickly establish your space – If you split time between work and home offices, and the work is similar across them, set the offices up to mirror each other as much as possible. Having the computer station set up the same way, even having the stapler in the same place, can support your sense of routine.
  • Your briefcase may be your new office – If you are on the road a lot, your briefcase or travel bag becomes a critical resource. Organizing that may be the equivalent of, and even more important than, organizing your desk.
  • Carry keepsakes for continuity – A close friend always carries a family picture in a light, portable frame. She places it on any desk she uses for more than a few hours. She also has a favorite set of pens, placed in a worn and well-loved planner – the planner also appears on every desk she uses. The picture, pens and planner are tools that provide a sense of both continuity and familiarity – and are a critical form of emotional support when organizing any new office space – no matter how temporary.

So, whether you are celebrating “national clean off your desk day” in a stable work office, or on the road, think about simple ways you can organize your space – no matter where you are.