Everyone who works in an office knows that employees don’t sit right down at 9 in the morning and focus on their work for 8 consecutive hours, save for lunch. Rather, the typical workday is frequently interrupted by distractions and digressions. Far too many people let various interruptions put a serious crimp in their work flow. Let’s take a look at seven helpful organization tips that will keep everyone squarely focused on actual work.
Understand the Cost of Disorganization
Most people complain that they don’t have the time to organize their office. Or they claim that it’ll just become dirty after a couple more days of work. Yet few take the time to really think about just how much time and productivity is lost due to a disorganized office. Stop rearranging piles over and over again. Establish a weekly or even daily cleaning routine where you clean off your desk, properly organize documents and place non-essentials into drawers and bins. Make workplace cleanliness and organization a habit. This way, you’ll be able to find documents with ease and you won’t be constantly distracted by various sundries scattered about your desk and office.
Create Work Zones
Determine exactly what types of activities and work materials should take place and be placed in specific areas of the office. Use the desk as the main work space. Dedicate shelves and filing cabinets as reference areas. Use desk drawers and/or the closet strictly for storing supplies. These work zones will help you quickly find items when you need them.
It will be much easier to abide by work zone boundaries if each zone is labeled. Pick out a good label maker that is easy to use. Label all of your bins, shelves, drawers and baskets. These labels will serve as handy reminders of where documents should be placed. They’ll also help co-workers figure out where to put documents when you are out of the office.
Nowadays, most organizations do not keep a surplus of tangible paper files. The vast majority of information is stored in a digital manner. Determine exactly what you can store digitally, and eliminate paper duplicates. Always perform regular backups of your computer files so that you don’t regret going digital. You’ll find that it is much easier to get work done when you don’t have to constantly get up to pull files out of a crowded filing cabinet.
Establish Discard Dates
It is not necessary to hold onto every single document for years. Some items can be discarded in days, weeks or months. Others should be held onto for posterity’s sake. Establish a discard date for all of your documents and files so that you know exactly when to shred them. Discard dates reduce paperwork, declutter the office and enable you to find documents much more quickly.
Establish a Flawless Filing System
Office workers haphazardly jam paperwork into files far too often. This might provide a bit of instant gratification but it creates considerable problems down the road. Create a filing system that is as simple and manageable as possible. Use a color coding and labeling system that empowers you to find information without significant effort. Place tab hanging style file folders at the front and use interior file folders to establish sub-divisions within large files.
Pre-Sort the Mail
Most offices receive a considerable amount of USPS “snail mail”. Don’t let it pile up into a mess that causes important letters, bills and other correspondence to be overlooked or lost. The daily mail should be pre-sorted into distinct piles for filing, analyzing and responses. If you don’t want to pre-sort the mail each and every single day, delegate the duty to a trusted employee.