From multinational superbrands to fledgling startups, the office plays an important role in keeping day-to-day operations flowing smoothly. But whether you work in a team of 5 or 500, it can be easy for your workplace to become disorganized and inefficient, both physically and digitally – which can have a dramatic knock-on effect on work performance further down the line. In today’s post from Action Storage, we’ll be tackling this issue head on, providing you with six simple ways to streamline your office space.
- Digitize your paperwork
In 2017, the need for piles of paperwork in an office is now minimal. Since the digital revolution, cloud services have become the go-to filing systems for businesses big and small – and for good reason. While stacks of pages may have been useful for keeping records previously, we all know just how easy it is to lose an important note amongst a pile of not-so-important ones. With online platforms like Google Drive, Dropbox and Onehub all offering cloud-based file storage, there’s no longer the need to keep printed documents lying around.
What’s more, paperwork digitized in this way becomes much more readily accessible to members of the team when they need to get to it – eliminating the hassle of folder-diving and keeping documents, PDFs, spreadsheets and other files contained, secure and organized. The creation and editing process also becomes substantially more streamlined for documents stored in this way, with the ability for teams to collaborate more quickly and effectively than they would if the process was handled through email.
- Reorganize the physical layout
As businesses grow larger, the temptation to forgo detailed space planning in favor of simply finding ‘where fits’ can be great – but a simple change of office layout can often provide big benefits for those willing to put the time in. When it comes to switching up your office space, first consider the roles of each staff member: who will they interact with on a daily basis? Does their work often require focused thinking?
Next, organize the space in a way that provides clear pathways across the room, considering the desk space where people would be best placed for their day-to-day roles – grouping departments together to prevent staff from having to communicate across the room. If you have different workstation types, it could be beneficial to place team members who require privacy and focus (think developers, finance staff and senior management) in places where they can get their head down without distraction.
- Streamline communications
Clear communication is something many larger organizations struggle to achieve, but it can be an ongoing battle for small businesses, too. As teams grow, keeping conversations together can become increasingly difficult, with staff struggling to stay afloat amongst a wave of emails, instant messages, calls and CMS notes. This can lead to important information being lost and discussions becoming harder to trace – which can have dire consequences when it comes to internal operations.
To combat this, you should create a clear communications plan, and try to limit unnecessary channels to keep things as simple as possible. Consistency is key here: you should lay out which channels serve which types of communication and stick to them. You may want to choose a single project management tool for all task-related chat, emails for team-wide updates and external messages or a cloud-based filing system to keep all call notes contained and accessible – but whatever your system, streamlining how your team communicates (both internally and externally) will ensure nothing is ever missed.
- Enforce a clean desk policy
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Every office of every size will struggle with the stationery plight. From pens and scissors to notepads and sticky notes, these essential office items can quickly become a nuisance when they’re sprawled across every visible surface. A ‘tidy desk, tidy mind’ philosophy in your office could be more beneficial than you might think, improving productivity, output and focus. Cut down on mess by designating an area where staff can find stationery when needed, and enforce a clean desk policy to keep other clutter at bay.
- Simplify your accountancy
Finance is the backbone of any business, so disorganization in this department can have dire consequences – but with Shoeboxed, you can stay on top of the typically time-consuming elements of finance management with ease. Say goodbye to the stress of missing receipts, complicated expense reports and wads of business cards – Shoeboxed will remove the disarray, so that you can stay on top of these important aspects of day-to-day business management.
- Cut back on unnecessary meetings
If you’ve worked in an office-based role before, you’ll have experienced your fair share of unnecessary meetings: what could have been done in 10 minutes instead took an hour, or what could have been sent in an update email is instead turned into a 2-hour talk that offers little extra benefit for those involved. These types of meetings not only waste time, but also cost your business valuable resource – preventing staff from actually getting on with the real work.
Before calling a meeting, it’s worth considering a few things. Can this information be relayed in an email instead? Is it essential for each attendee to be in the meeting, or can they get up to speed using the meeting notes instead? If the meeting is still important, you should at least look to reduce the time spent by sending out the agenda ahead of time so people can come prepared.
When it comes to offices, disorganization can cause big problems. Transforming a workplace into a well-oiled machine won’t happen overnight, but the steps to get there don’t have to be difficult – and, by following our six tips, you’ll be well on your way to office organization heaven.