4 Colour-Coding Tactics to Get Your Workplace Organised
In workplaces across Australia, hundreds of hours are being lost each year as we struggle to find files, locate our missing desk accessories, or navigate our way around the office. Using colour-coding is a simple and economical way to bring order to your workplace and improve productivity.
Colour is a powerful tool for organisation. From infancy, we’re taught to sort objects by colour, and throughout life our minds quickly and easily process colour unconsciously, often ahead of other visual stimuli. Creating a colour-coded system in your workplace is an intuitive way to organise everything from filing and resources to teams or departments, as long as it is purposeful and properly managed.
While an aesthetically-pleasing arrangement of colours is soothing to the eye, colour-coding focusses on the logical use of colour for organisation rather than just what looks good. You can still choose a colour palette of bright, pastel or standard colours to complement your décor, and even allocate a natural progression of colours through the rainbow for a more harmonious look. Ultimately, however, it should be functional over fashionable.
Colour-coding can be applied in different ways depending on what is needed in your workplace. The key is to choose a system, assign colours, and be consistent. Any time you introduce an office-wide colour-coding system, make sure to also use clear labelling to keep it accessible for people with any form of colour-blindness. Icons and patterns are a strong way to do this and complement your colour system.
1. Colour-coded filingFinding the file or folder you need, or identifying a misplaced file, is easy when you colour-code your filing. You’ll save time and avoid frustration, making your workplace more productive. Kick off the project by assessing what you file and figure out what are your major filing categories. Now that you know how many colours you will need, choose the colours you want to use and assign them to your categories. Apply your colour-coding by using folders, binders, box files and flat files in the assigned colours. You can now identify your categories at a glance and can retrieve and return files with greater accuracy. Your colour-coding will visually break down your file drawer or shelf into easy to digest bands of colour. When everything is in place you can create a visual guide for your system as a handy reference and keep it posted by your files, although it won’t be long before you’ve memorised what each colour represents.
2. Departmental colour-codingYou may work in an organisation with multiple departments or teams, with items and files moving between each. Keep track of departmental resources by applying a colour-coding system. Assign a colour to each department and then shop this colour when ordering all files, folders, desk accessories, notepads, etc. You can integrate team colours across all resources including furniture and electricals by using coloured labels. Now there will be no disputes over missing staplers, and it will be easy to keep track of workflow across departments as each department’s colour can be quickly identified. Having departmental colours can create a sense of belonging and identity for members, enhancing cooperation. You could even extend the colour theme into friendly competitions or Casual Friday dress code!
3. Colour-coding projectsIn the same way, colour can be applied to projects to keep track of documents and workflow. At the start of each new project, assign an unused colour and keep all documents filed accordingly. You can even incorporate its colour digitally and tag emails and electronic files. This way you can find everything relating to each project without wasting time. If you’re working on client-based projects, assigning a colour from their own brand makes it even easier to spot their collateral. Continue your colour theme across your calendar for all appointments and meetings relating to each project or client.
4. Personal colour-codingMaybe you’re not in a position to execute office-wide colour-coding, but you still want to use it personally. If you manage your own filing or work on projects you can use the systems addressed above. Or you could create your own personal branding through colour. Assign yourself a colour and brand yourself across your workstation and workflow. If all your desk accessories, files, folders, copy paper and notepads are green for instance, it will be easy to keep track of them. People in your business will automatically associate your colour with your work.
Once you’ve implemented your colour-coding system it will be easy to maintain and stay organised. Being surrounded by colour is known to boost your mood and enhance creativity, so your colour-coding can do more than just save you time and make you more productive. You’ll pass with “filing colours" when you use colour-coding to organise your workplace.