Organizing Equipment in Your Work Space

In a previous post, you learned tips for organizing your work space for computer use and how to make the computer itself more organized and safe.  Computers are not the only equipment in a home or work office.  There are printers, scanners, fax machines, copiers, and more.  Below are a few ideas for organization of this office equipment too.

If you use a printer often with a computer, place it on the work surface or a shelf near the computer.  If you want to purchase a printer, consider a 3-in-1 that has print, copy, scan, and/or fax capabilities as this will saves lots of space in the work area.  If the printer will not be  used often, because most work is on-line, then use a long cable to connect the printer and computer and place the printer on a surface or shelf in a spot out of the normal work space.  However, if you can get a Wi-Fi compatible printer for your computer, that may be better as it will not require cables.  Optionally, if you work for an organization and do not print often, consider using a company network printer to eliminate the need to have one in your personal work space.  If space allows, keep printer supplies such as stationery, labels, envelopes, extra paper, and ink cartridges near the printer in stacked bins or trays, on a shelf, or in drawers.

Scanners are computer accessories that may be useful to place documents or pictures onto the computer for ease in storage or transmission.  If a scanner is desirable, be sure to get the one that fits your specific need.  Small scanners that will take business card data and import it into a contact database on the computer are especially useful for people in a sales or marketing position. Other document scanners differ in size from small units that roll paper in and out, larger flat bed versions for laying paper on top, or versions where a scanning unit may move across the paper on the work surface.  Do your research to determine which type of scanner best fits your need before purchasing one that may not do the job correctly or take more space than you are willing to allow for it.  The scanner placement should be relative to the computer based on how often it will be used, the same as a printer.

If a copier is often used for your work, then find the convenient place for it depending upon how often it is used and by how many people.  If multiple people use copier, then it should be centrally located for everyone’s ease in use.  If primarily one person uses it, then it should be closest to that person.  Whether that person uses it often or occasionally will determine if placement is near the work area or within the individual’s personal work space.  If work space allows, keep the copier supplies such as various sizes and colors of paper, labels, envelopes, toner, and more near the copier in stacked bins or trays, on a shelf, or in drawers.

If a copier will not be used often, is cost prohibitive, or there is no space for one, then consider computerized options.  For example if a computer with both a printer and scanner attached is available, a copier substitution would be by the use of the scanner to reproduce the paper to a copy and a printer to print out the copy.  There is also fax/copier/printer equipment available that can do double or triple duty while requiring space for only one piece of equipment. 

Fax Machine
Facsimile (fax) machines are not as common as they once were, due to the internet and being able to send much data via the computer.  However, if a fax machine is required for your type of work, locate it in different area from the normal workflow.  This way when the occasional fax does come in, a break from work will be going to get the fax.    
Even better than a fax machine, is to eliminate the equipment with fax software on a computer that allows sending a fax via the phone/internet/network connection directly to a fax machine or computer elsewhere.  This allows the fax composition, viewing on the computer, transmitting to others, or saving for later reference.  If a paper copy of the fax is desirable, printing it from the computer is an option.  Consider using the computer in lieu of a fax machine if you are receiving few faxes and therefore a separate line for fax may not be necessary.  If the computer is a usable option, the additional benefit of not having to pay for two phone or internet lines may make using the fax software cost effective.  Another option to consider is fax/copier equipment that can do double duty as a fax or copier while requiring space for only one piece of equipment.   See printer section for more ideas.

Other Equipment

Other equipment would include any machines, appliances, or devices used in work or creative endeavors that do not fit into other categories listed before.  For this equipment, determine if it is still useful and if it belongs in the new work area.  If it does, then include it in organizing plans.  If it is no longer useful, then determine how best to toss it and move on.  When you are looking for new equipment, do research, shop around, and get the one that best meets your needs.  Bells and whistles seem great, but if they not used what good are they really?    If the equipment is necessary often for your work or special projects, it should be in the primary work area.  If not, place the equipment in an alternate location to save workspace for other things.

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