As many small businesses shift towards an open office workspace, questions arise about focus, productivity, and organization. This month your NYC Professional Office Organizer is answering your questions about working productively and efficiently in an open office space.
Q: My office is converting to an open office floor plan and as we are collaborating more as a team, I’m concerned about continuing to track our tasks and projects. How should I approach task management in a team and individual setting?
A: I can appreciate your concern about the challenges that an open floor plan may create in managing your team’s tasks. As being in a more collaborative setting could generate additional tasks or shift the focus of tasks already assigned, using a project management program like Asana or Trello to capture/update task status will be key. Most importantly, creating a process for updating/adding to the tasks in a timely manner will be essential.
Q: I’m used to a large desk space with lots of storage. As we move to a more open office set-up, I’ll be working in a smaller space. What is the first step I should take in minimizing the items I take with me?
A: I would recommend doing a couple of rounds of decluttering to reduce the items that will be moved to your new space to only those that are used regularly. Remember that we only really use 20% of the stuff we have in our space. Keep this in mind as you systematically go through your desk and start the decluttering. The first pass should address all items where the decisions regarding keeping or discarding can be made very quickly. Circle back to address the decisions that will take a little more time to make.
Q: I work from home and am exploring the idea of co-working spaces in my community in order to get out of my house a bit more during the day. I’m nervous about staying focused and productive in this kind of space. Do you have any suggestions?
A: Whether you have a dedicated desk or workspace in a common area in the co-working office, determining how best to stay focused is a personal issue. Some of us (myself included) can tune out the distractions. They are actually motivated by all those working around them and have little difficulty focusing on their own work. Others may need to use headphones and tune in to ambient sounds or music which will block out the surrounding noise. You may also want to use a time management app like FocusList to manage your priorities and track your time especially when you are first adapting to this new work environment.
Have a question for the NYC Professional Office Organizer? You can send one in here and be featured in an upcoming blog.