Thanks for visiting my blog. Hope you find some helpful hints for organizing your time and space. My passions are to help you make home a refuge instead of a crisis center, and to help you function in peace rather than chaos - at home or at work. I have switched my main blog to 1-2-3 ... Get Organized on WordPress, so please visit me there.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Costs of a Disorganized Office, Solutions for Productivity

A great article by Frank Rowan:

"When you organize your work environment, you optimize your surroundings for productivity and increase your ability to work effectively.

Conversely, a disorganized office costs more to run. Supplies, tools and equipment go missing because nothing is organized or put away properly. Those things have to be replaced to complete work tasks, consequently twice the money has been spent in the end. Plus, you spend valuable time searching for missing items, files or paperwork. In fact, some studies have revealed that the average senior business leader spends nearly four weeks each year navigating through messy or cluttered desks, looking for lost information. Does that sound like productive time to you?

If I haven’t convinced you yet, read these benefits of taking the time to create an organized and well-structured office.   
  • Better communication: An organized office environment encourages better internal communication. With a central area for staff communication, it is easier to share sales news, track targets, and plan and monitor projects.
  • A manageable budget: Organized spaces will allow you to quickly see what you have, what you need, and when you might need more. This supports the creation and sustaining of budgets, especially for supplies and equipment.
  • Increased work ethic and morale: When you and your staff take care of your surroundings, it makes the workplace a more pleasant place. Taking care shows that you value your work and the people who work for you.
  • Better time management: Simply put, you spend less time looking for things and more time actually working. An organized office will complement and support your time management strategies.
Begin by clearing your desk of everything but your computer, your day planner, your current files, your inbox and your telephone. Depending on the size of your desk, you may wish to put your current files or inbox on top of a filing cabinet within arm’s reach to maximize desk space. Anything you don’t need on a regular basis should be stored out of arm’s reach. Choose one central system for managing your notes, tasks, to-do lists, brainstorming and scheduling. If you have a day planner, use it. If you prefer electronic systems, use those. Having too many binders, notepads and calendars gets confusing. Make a habit of tidying your desk at the beginning and end of each day.

Keep loose papers pinned to your to-do list, or have clear and organized folders. Use drawer organizers to keep your stationery drawer clean and easily accessible. Organize your loose paper, inbox and action items in a file sorter or stack of paper trays. Use categories like to-do, to review, waiting response, and on-hold and to file. Put your phone on the left if you’re right handed, and on the right if you’re left handed, so you have the appropriate hand free to take notes when you’re on a call. Keep a notepad or sticky notes by the phone to record messages and conversation notes. Personal items can be distracting when they’re in your primary line of vision, and encourage daydreaming. Photos and memorabilia have a place in your office, but relocate any items that are in direct sight.

Assess common areas. For example, put doors on shelving so cluttered spaces are not visible. Label boxes, containers, and shelves so everyone knows what goes where. Create a consistent filing system. Provide enough shelving and filing cabinets to store files in a systemized fashion. Ensure your system keeps files out of the way and out of sight when not in use, but maintains easy accessibility. Return or sell unused stock and overflow office supplies, like stationery. Locate other unused items that you can potentially sell or donate to create more space.

Consider renting out unused portions of your office to independent consultants or small businesses. Ensure each staff member has access to the organizational materials they need to keep their offices neat. Provide stacking trays or file sorters, and suggest systems that may help them. Remember that you can’t control their work environment, but you can provide the support they need to stay organized. Minimize the distance between your office and the areas you frequently use (like the printer or photocopier). Locate your office so you have a clear line of sight between you and the most productive area of your business.

Once you make some initial improvements and set up systems to manage your data and organize your supplies, the hard part is over. A clean and organized office is easy to sustain once it is in place. Remember to be patient with yourself. Depending on the state of your work environment, this may be a project that takes a little while."

More on office productivity:
Three Steps to Organizing Your Office
Three Steps to Time Management for the Office
Increasing Your Effectiveness at Work