6 Ideas to Maximize Office Down Time

When you’re killing it at work and time management is your strong suit, there may be instances where you have more down time than usual. Down time doesn’t mean you’re done with your work for the day and there’s nothing left to do. You can maximize office down time to work for you.

Now, you can’t peruse social media or your favorite blogs (unfortunately), but you can make the most of spare time at work! The CGS Team is sharing 6 ideas to maximize office down time and make the most of the free time you have while at work.  To really excel in your job, and career, always refer back to these ideas when you have time to spare.

Take web trainings

If your company offers any form of free learning or trainings, take advantage! Most larger companies get discounts to learning websites like Lynda.com, Harvard Business Review, and many others, and give their employees free access to all of the great training. If there is a certain skill you need to sharpen up on, or if you want to learn how to get started in a new field, these are great resources.

Your company may also have internal trainings that will help prepare you to excel in your current role or get the proper skillset for more advanced roles. If you aren’t sure where to find out what training and learning options are available to you, start with HR. They are often versed on employee benefits, and can lead you in the right direction.

Research company news or industry trends

Working for a large organization has its perks! Those perks can include being brought up in news and media outlets regularly. This means you can use office down time to see what is being reported on your company. Taking the time to research and get the inside scoop can translate into meeting topics and general talking points for future work discussions.

If you work for a smaller organization, no worry! Use office down time to research what is happening in your field or industry. You can learn a lot about the economy of the field you are in, which may help you make better decisions when moving up in your company, or on to another company in the same industry.

Clean out your inbox

No one can say you aren’t making good use of your time when you have an organized email inbox! Use office down time to organize your messages. Create folders, address any follow up items, and respond to people who haven’t heard back from you. A clean, organized email inbox makes for a more productive work environment.

I use outlook for my work email provider, and I love to make it as organized as possible by adding folders, rules, and color coding messages. I create a folder for departments or people who email regularly. I also have a designated folder for important clients or contacts. Once the folders are created, I can create routing rules that send any message from that person or department to the appropriate folder. Most email providers have this functionality, so take advantage! Lastly, I color code messages by their meaning. For example, important items are coded as red, but industry reads are blue.

Organize your workspace

Just like an organized email inbox makes for better productivity, the same can be said about your workspace. If your desk is stacked with papers, post-it notes are everywhere, and you can’t remember what color your desk is, it’s time to get organized. Especially if you work in an office! You don’t want people walking by your desk and seeing how unorganized (and downright dirty) it is. Use spare time to get a handle on your workspace. Just like any other room or living space, a clean environment equals less stress!

Also, feel free to let your personality shine through! Put up some pictures, decorate your filing cabinet, or add mini plants. You will enjoy your space a little more with the extra touches. Read Beautify Your Workspace for a few ideas.

Offer to help or take on additional projects

Once you’ve taken care of your personal development needs, start soliciting help to your peers or manager. Just the simple act of offering to help your teammate shows gratitude. If they take you up on the offer, you are now a team player. The same goes for your manager. Offering to help or asking for additional projects shows a desire to help and a can-do attitude. You aren’t content with finishing your tasks and that’s it, you actually seek out additional work. This will not go unnoticed – I’m speaking from experience!

Review your benefits

When all of the ideas above have been exhausted (although that seems unlikely), you can also use your office down time to review the benefits offered to you as an employee. Some companies give tuition or child care reimbursements, while others offer paid time off. If you work for a larger company, you may be able to get discounts on common purchases like your cell phone bill or a new car. If you aren’t as well versed on the benefits offered by your company, use down time to get educated. You may find benefits that help you save money right now!

Related: 7 Ways to Stay Motivated at Work

When it comes to the workplace, your job is never done. There is always something positive and productive you could be doing to help yourself or someone else. Pride yourself on doing a good job and going above and beyond when the opportunity arises.  Are you super productive at work? If so, what do you do when you have some down time to spare? Share some of your tips and ideas for maximizing office down time by posting a comment below. I’d love to hear some other ideas!

-Raya
The CGS Team

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