The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
Maximum Productivity In Your Office
Organization is the lifeblood of running a successful business. Indeed, it’s an inability to effectively organize and delegate that sends fledgling businesses over the proverbial cliff, and paying attention to your physical surroundings is part and parcel of this. As William Morris, the 19th century British designer noted, the golden rule that unites both organization and aesthetics is the removal of superfluous or distracting elements; “to have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful”. In short, anything that might hinder or outright disrupt your productivity simply has to go.
While it might seem like common wisdom to say that a cluttered and unorganized workspace would negatively impact on our work, there have been a number of studies which have attempted to back this claim with some academic rigor. A 2011 study by Princeton neuroscientists, for instance, found that clutter directly causes stress – a problem which, if left unchecked, can quickly lead to employee burnout in the workplace.
Fortunately, organizing your office doesn’t require a qualification in interior design. All you need is the input of your staff and some common sense. To help you take the first steps to a more optimized office, the UK-based business savings company Make It Cheaper have put together this useful infographic for inspiration and an indication of where to start.
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HOW TO ORGANIZE YOUR OFFICE FOR MAXIMUM PRODUCTIVITY
Organizing your office can seem like an overwhelming task, but it doesn’t have to be with a plan in place. So take a moment and look around – is your office as productive as it could be?
REARRANGE AND PURGE
A clean and tidy work environment is the first step towards productivity. Start by cleaning out the old to make way for the new.
- DE-CLUTTER: Empty, shred, and remove anything that’s not needed or used – this will make it easier to find the daily necessities.
- RETHINK THE LAYOUT: Plan your office around daily needs and tasks, creating a fluent workplace where you and your team can work effectively.
- FIND EVERYTHING A HOME: All remaining items need a suitable home so anything can be found in a heartbeat.
RENEW OLD SYSTEMS
It’s easy to get stuck in your ways and keep to the same way of working. But as a change is as good as a rest, now is the time to reinvent and renew vital office systems.
- CREATE WORK ZONES: Decide what happens and where. Whether that is a dedicated non-PC area or a corner for brainstorming, creating zones will reduce unwanted crossover and distractions.
- REVISE YOUR FILING: As the world moves into the digital age, it’s important to decide which documents can be stored digitally and which documents need to stay physical. Be ruthless.
- KEEP EMAILS IN CHECK: Organize your emails into priority folders, from urgent ‘read now’ emails to emails that can be kept until the end of the day – less time wasted and admin for everyone.
Through we’re more connected than ever, effective communication can sometimes fall short.
- KEEP FRESH: Don’t solely keep to emails for online communication – try new apps such as Slack for an all-in-one team conversation tool.
- RESPONSE FOLDER: Whether for co-workers or clients, add any items that require a discussion to a response folder that can be checked frequently – this means nothing will be forgotten.
- BE DIRECT: Living in the digital age means it’s easy to stay behind our screens. Restore and encourage direct communication between employees – it’s quick, easy, and effective.
RENOVATE DESK SPACE
For maximum productivity, it’s vital that every desk is organized – physically and digitally.
- AT ARM’S REACH: Keep essential everyday items on your desk within reach, with frequently used items in draws to avoid stationary pile-ups.
- CREATE A SYSTEM THAT FLOWS: Whether on your computer or in hand, organize documents into three folders or trays: Inbox, In-progress, and Complete.
- EXPIRY DATES: Avoid the inevitable document pile-up by marking filed documents with an expiry date. Files that are no longer needed can be discarded to keep your filing manageable and slim.
Whether you focus on one tip or try them all, productivity comes down to the effort put in.
So stop putting off yesterday’s filing and maximize your office productivity today.