How to Make Your Office More Efficient
Every small-business owner could use a few more hours in the day to get everything done.
That’s why it’s so important to keep your office running at peak efficiency: You want to maximize every working moment. Here are three tips for streamlining your operations.
1. Kick clutter to the curb. Constantly searching for things under piles of other things is a total time-waster. Vow to get to the bottom of those piles by de-cluttering. Yes, sorting, purging, and filing take time. The payoff comes when you can put your hands on whatever information you need, whenever you need it.
Expert organizer Peter Walsh recommends being mindful of what you save and where you save it. Don’t consider desktop and floors as "storage areas," he advises, and remember that most paperwork that ends up in a filing cabinet will never again see the light of day.
2. Make sure your organizational system works. Now that you know where everything is, set up your newly de-cluttered office with functionality in mind. “All client files should live together in one place,” notes professional organizer Melinda Massie. “If you use multiple types of paper in your printer, then all of the paper should live near the printer.”
Massie recommends treating your office as if you are an airplane pilot. “Think of your seat and the desk as the cockpit,” she explains. “The more often you use something, the closer it needs to be: Daily stuff needs to be within arm’s reach. Weekly is a little further away. Archive and surplus items can be the furthest away from the desk.”
3. Promote teamwork. The office will run more efficiently if it’s easier for co-workers to share information. One way to make that happen: Scan those piles of documents and sticky notes, and move them to an online file-storage system, such as Evernote Business or Dropbox, that every member of the team may access.
Saving files online and allowing group access cuts down on the amount of printing that must be done, which helps to keep piles of papers from growing.
An efficient office is one that makes it easy to get work done. Reducing clutter, organizing with function in mind, and putting systems into place that promote teamwork will increase your company’s efficiency quotient. You still won’t have all the extra hours you need in a day, but you will be able to make the most of every minute you spend at the office.
Carla Turchetti is a veteran broadcast, print and digital journalist who is passionate about small businesses and the stories behind them. Carla is a small-business columnist at the News & Observer, the regional daily newspaper in Raleigh, North Carolina.