TOP FIVE TOPS TO AN ORGANISED OFFICE
We have all been there. Desks piled high with paper work. Boxes upon boxes of files stuffed wherever possible. A customer file has gone missing, invoices have not been filed, the new ‘contracts’ pile is about to bury poor Agnes the administrator.
Let’s be realistic, it is not like you are sat playing solitaire all day and you simply may not have the time to keep on top of things, but if you really knew how much time that dis-organisation cost you, it may just spur you on to reconsider.
Let’s not assume that rearranging and moving piles from one desk to another occasionally counts as being organised. Neither does clearing off your desk by stuffing it all in a box. The fact of the matter is to create and maintain a relatively neat and orderly office space requires everyone to be on-board but in the long term you will see much higher productivity and less wasted time.
Organising your office does not have to take days, after all you probably have other things to be getting on with, but if small jobs can be done a little at a time things don’t seem so daunting. In fact maintaining an organised office is much more effective if you treat it like an ongoing project, instead of a massive Mount Everest hike.
So, if you’re ready to get started, the following tips will help you transform your office into an efficient work space.
1. ROLL UP YOUR SLEEVES AND LET’S GET SHREDDING!
Every day (if you can) dedicate half an hour to an hour on tackling one small area of the office (let us not forget the power of delegation, if you can’t spare the time get someone else involved).
Get together three boxes, 1. File, 2. Shred, 3. To be checked (this is especially important if you have delegated someone else like an office junior)
Go through all the paper work lying around or stuffed in draws, boxes etc. and sort them into the three piles. This is the most important bit…These boxes must be emptied before you move onto another area. Otherwise the boxes will get so full no one will have the time to sort them out and now you have three new boxes to add to your already cluttered office!
2. GET RUTHLESS WITH THE CLUTTER
Look around. What haven’t you used in a while? This goes for furniture, equipment, supplies, etc. If it doesn’t work, send it out for repair or wave it goodbye.
Don’t forget about knick-knacks, plants (real or artificial), and decorations – nothing can make your office look more shabby than a bunch of miscellaneous stuff covered in dust.
Think logically, position equipment and supplies that are used most within easy reach. Things that are rarely use can be stored or put away
3. EVERYTHING HAS A HOME, MAKE SURE THINGS ARE WHERE THEY BELONG
This may sound a bit simple but gather up every item that isn’t where it belongs and put it where it does.
4. TO FILE OR NOT TO FILE, THAT IS THE QUESTION!
As we swiftly move fully into the digital age, the need to store paper files has decreased. Believe it or not there are many companies who are actually paperless.
Ask yourself, what can your store digitally? Maybe consider an electronic document management system. They may be costly as first but just imagine an office with not one single filing cabinet! As well as them being much quicker to find specific documents needed.
IMPORTANT: If you do decide to store files electronically then you must do regular back-ups. There are plenty of IT providers offering offsite backup which gives you great peace of mind.
Are you duplicating files or paperwork? Is your quote to invoice paper trail generating more paperwork than necessary? Are people printing off emails just for them to clutter up desks?
Go through your filing cabinets as you may be holding onto out of date information.
Labels are your new best friend: Take the time to label everything clearly. We are only human some people need a constant reminder of where things should go or where to find them.
When a project is complete, put all of the materials together and file them away. Keep your “working folders” for projects in progress.
Don’t let your filing pile up. Put your papers in a “To File” folder and file everything once a week.
5. IS YOUR DESK A REFLECTION ON HOW CLEAN YOUR HOME IS….I HOPE NOT
Give everyone the job of sorting out their own desks. It also helps if you give a completion date. Everyone must be responsible for their own space.
Remove everything, give it all a good clean and only put back the items used daily.
Go through draws and repeat after me…Keep it or Bin it or Shred it.
So much of our messy papers are things that are on hold until someone else responds or acts. Create a WOR (Waiting on Response) folder. Check it every few days for outstanding actions you may need to follow-up on.
Put all “items to be discussed” in folder along with items that need to be handed off, reports that need to be given, etc. It’ll help you be prepared for meetings and save you stress in the event that a meeting is moved up.
Invest in letter trays, magazine holders anything which allows staff to organise their own paperwork. Just be mindful that these don’t turn into dumping grounds.
Use one tip or try them all. The amount of effort you put into creating and maintaining an efficient work area will pay off in a big way. Instead of spending time looking for things and shuffling piles, you’ll be able to spend your time…well…working.