WORKPLACE / AUG. 19, 2014
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How to Make a Small Office Look Professional

Some people are fortunate enough to have spacious offices with ample room to store supplies and meet with clients. But if your office is a matchbox -- or maybe a corner space in your home -- it can be hard to keep your office organized. And since an unorganized office isn’t exactly professional-looking, your small space might leave a bad impression with customers. 

I understand this dilemma firsthand. Our home office is the smallest bedroom in the house, and clutter is an everyday struggle. However, a small office -- whether it’s in your home or within an office building -- doesn’t have to appear unprofessional and messy. Here are simple ways to make your space appear more professional. 

Don’t Over Collect

You probably spend 40 or more hours each week sitting at your desk, and it only makes sense to bring in personal items for style and decor. However, too much of a good thing can be bad. 

If your office space is tiny, cluttering your desk and shelves with picture frames, novelty items, travel souvenirs and plants can make your office look unprofessional. When customers visit your office, they shouldn’t be distracted by a bunch of stuff. Keep it simple, perhaps one small plant and picture frame on your desk, and a few photos on the wall for style. 

Get a System for Paperwork

Storage can be an issue in a small office. And if you don’t have adequate space, you might put stacks of files and paperwork on the floors, or these items may completely cover your desk. Chaos does not belong in a professional setting. Rather than use your floor as storage, bring in a small bookshelf and organize your file folders and documents. A three-tier shelving system on your desk can help, or you might invest in a Neat organizer and scan documents directly to your computer, thus eliminating paper clutter. 

Lose the Post-It Notes

I can’t tell you the number of times that I’ve seen an office covered with Post-It notes -- all over the desk, computer and phones. These are handy tools for the office, but if your space is small, it doesn’t take much to clutter the office and lose your professional touch. One or two notes on your desk are okay, but keep the majority of your reminders on your phone or computer calendar. 

Go Wireless

The less items in a small office the better. This rule also applies to wires - but when you have computers, phones, routers and Internet cables, you can’t always escape ugly wiring. If possible, go wireless and eliminate the trip hazards on your floor, or buy tools to organize and bunch wires together for a more professional image.

Redecorate Your Office

Sometimes, a small office can look unprofessional if your furniture is too big for the space. If there’s barely any walking room because your desk, filing cabinets and shelves take up every square inch, it’s time to scale back. Get rid of a few larger pieces and keep the essentials, or purchase smaller versions of the same furniture pieces. 

Final Word

The way your office looks matters to your customers. It doesn’t have to be the biggest space to make a good impression, but it should be professional-looking at all times. What are other ways to make a small office look professional?

Photo credit: Flickr

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