It doesn't require much to call an area a workspace — all you really need is a desk — but there's plenty more you can do in any office to take full advantage of the space. The walls, your desk, and even your doors are more than they appear to be — they're secret productivity tools. With a few small alterations, you can unlock their hidden potential.
Make Your Walls More Productive
A workspace with empty walls is a workspace that's ignoring a great resource. They're not just a place to hang a few photos, but rather an area of your office that can be used to help you work better. Instead of decorating, consider them a place to expand your workspace.
One great use of an office wall is to turn it into a chalk or white board. You could buy either and just hang it, but then you'd be attaching a limited space to your wall. Using dry erase paint — which can be painted on clear — or chalkboard paint — which can be mixed in virtually any colour — you can just write on the wall. This gives you a huge space for notes, a to-do list, or whatever, so you don't have many limitations when you want to jot down an idea.
But that doesn't mean you shouldn't attach things to your wall. File cabinets and other traditional means over storage can make a workspace feel cramped fast, but hanging them on the wall not only gets storage out of your way but can look nice when well-arranged. Consider attaching multiple folder pouches to the wall, or put up few cork boards to pin important files. One of my favourite options is attaching a small planeter to hold pens and pencils. Your wall is a big, often underused space, so before you consider adding more furniture to your workspace you should always ask yourself if that same storage wouldn't serve you better from the wall.
There are other ways to attach things to your wall — like magnets. If you want to turn part of your office into a gigantic refrigerator door, buy some magnetic paint. With this stuff, you can make magnetic items just stick to the wall by placing them there. It won't be able to hold anything too heavy, and you'll need to paint a few coats before it becomes strong enough to hold anything at all, but it'll be enough to start hanging up papers or other light items — no pinning or nailing required.
Use Your Entire Desk (and Not Just the Top)
We're very aware of our desktops. They're filled with computers, keyboards, other gadgets, papers, notebooks and more. Or maybe you keep your desktop completely clean and avoid the clutter altogether. Either way, you're concentrating on one portion of the desk and ignore the others — and those other areas have quite a few uses.
For starters, let's take the underside of your desk — your desk bottom, so to speak. A stack of sticky notes is often something you'll put on top but can easily be adhered to the bottom for easy access. Need to write a note? Just reach under your desk, peel one off, and write it. This way the notepad stays of your way when you don't need it but is easy to find when you do.
Cable management is something the legs of your desk can handle. You could modify your desk by creating a space instead the legs, then run the cables down the legs in that space, but that requires a bit of work and craftsmanship. If you want to just use your desk's legs the way they are, you can wrap cables around them. This might not look so great in the front, but it can be a simple way to manage your cables in the back, where they're mostly out of sight.
Behind the desk is a place most people won't go or care to look, which means it makes a good space to hide things you don't necessarily want in plain site. Just as you can attach a folder pocket to your wall, you can do the same to the back of your desk. This obviously isn't a foolproof, secret hiding spot, but it's useful when you just want to keep something out of sight.
Use Your Door as an Agenda Wall
Like your walls, doors are a great place for storage. More specifically, they're a perfect location for placing key information and items. You don't necessarily have to interact with a wall, but you see the door every time you enter and leave your workspace. That makes it a fantastic location for reminders, to-do lists and other papers that would other get lost in the pile on your desk, your bag, or a filing cabinet. Use your door as an agenda wall so it tells you everything you need to do. On top of having most of your important information in one place, it'll also force you to get out of your chair now and again. We all know sitting all day is bad for you, so a regular excuse to stand up and move around is a good one.
Photo by Terekhov Igor (Shutterstock).