by Clare Kumar

Pretend you are visiting your office for the first time. Take a look around with fresh eyes.

What do you see? Does every piece of furniture serve the purpose it was intended for? Are there pieces simply attracting piles of paper?

Clare Kumar

Often when we spend a lot of time in a place, be it work or home, we stop really seeing what’s there. We just accept that it’s supposed to be there, whether it’s working or not.

To make sure that everything in your office ought to be there, take the following steps:

1. Identify your work activities

Analyze how you spend your time at work and what activities you engage in. Referring to your calendar can help ensure you include all the activities that are critical to your work. Some activities to consider are:

  • Working with a computer to manage email and work on documents, or to talk with others
  • Writing to create content, manage your calendar, jot down ideas or conversation notes
  • Meeting with others face-to-face to talk informally, deliver presentations or hold collaborative work sessions
  • Preparing or collating documents
  • Talking on the phone for anything from quick chats to lengthy conference calls

2. Select furniture pieces that support your work

You might think this is an obvious step, but it often gets less thought than it should. Your ideal furniture depends on the kind of work you do, and how you like to do it. I’ve seen people take phone calls sitting at their desks while others need space to walk around while talking. Knowing your preferences is an important step in building a functional office.


Let’s take a look at the furniture required to support using a computer, for example. You might need a surface for the computer laptop or keyboard and monitor, a chair, a place for hard drives, a backup system, printing and scanning devices, modems, routers and other peripherals.

Think through each activity and list all the key pieces you require. It’s easy to look at a magazine photo of an uncluttered desk and forget all the items that must be accommodated. Be careful to marry the need for function with your passion for form.

Clare Kumar is a Toronto-based Professional Organizer and Home Stager with a talent for teaching and motivating others. Clare founded Streamlife ® in 2005. She has coached residential, small business and corporate clients to get organized, to improve productivity and achieve greater peace of mind, while creating inspiring spaces  in which to live and work.

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