5 Tips for Organising Your Office

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Your office is usually the first thing a customer sees - first impressions last. You should leave your customers with the feeling they are entrusting their business to an organisation that is professional, efficient and organised. You don't need to spend

Your office is usually the first thing a customer sees - first impressions last. You should leave your customers with the feeling they are entrusting their business to an organisation that is professional, efficient and organised. You don't need to spend a lot of money, in some cases only time is needed.

Tip 1 – Pigeon Holes Should Be Shelved!

I recently reorganised a client’s home office and one of the first things I did was discard the pigeon holes! Don’t get me wrong, pigeon holes have their place. They are a fantastic idea for quickly laying your hands on forms, marketing material, time sheets, and other regularly used company documents; and this is just how they should be used, as a departure point for paperwork, not for arrivals! It is far too tempting to pigeon hole that paper work and think you will get to it later - you won’t!

Tip 2 –Trays

I know, I know, “In” and “Out” trays are an absolute favourite for offices everywhere, but who can among us can say that they haven’t had an “In” tray that constantly overflows? It is a huge temptation to others in your work place to put something in it, isn’t it? Quick fix - scrap the “In” tray. Unless you are a Purchasing Officer, Accounts Payable Clerk, etc, you don’t need one. Any item that has been left on your desk, no matter what its form, it has just become work! When you don’t have an ‘In Tray’ people think twice about putting it on your desk. This leads to my next tip…

Tip 3 – The ‘To Do’ List

Everything that lands on your desk, quickly scan it to see what action is required. For example when I am opening mail, quickly look at each item & decide what action (if any) needs to be taken and this is the good part … you don’t have to take action now! Once you have a clear idea of the date an item is due for action, place it in a clear display pocket with a sticky note, for example:
*To Do 18 /11 / 2007*
*Create PowerPoint Presentation for M.Nichols (due 25/11/2007)
Then place it chronologically (closest date on top) in a “To Do” tray or folder. You can apply this to tasks, paperwork to be returned, bills, anything! The idea is that you are giving yourself a quick reference to: What It Is? When Do I Need To Start? When Is It Due? Each day, check your To Do’s and whatever has today’s date, you need to action today - as simple as that! If you know you have a busy day coming up, have a look at your To Do’s for that day and reschedule some things, this is a good way to maintain the discipline while taking the pressure off!

Tip 4 – If You Have A Place For Everything, Everything Will Go In It’s Place

Have a destination for every conceivable piece of paperwork that comes into your office. Take a moment to look at the items that are cluttering up your office, they all fit into one of two categories; “It Has A Place To Go” (then put it there!) or “It Doesn’t Have a Place To Go”. In the latter case, it can be as simple as adding some extra suspension files to your filing cabinet or a few new dividers to your Lever Arch File. Whatever your filing system, if there are items that don’t have a place to go, you really need to expand it. Not long ago I reorganised a Home Office filing system & added some unusual categories:
* Home – Improvement Ideas* (brochures or ideas you see and like)
* Entertainment Vouchers* (coupons to theme parks, discounts at restaurants, cinema freebies)
This is just an example of how your filing categories can be expanded to ensure that everything has a place, resulting in everything being at your fingertips when you need them.

Tip 5 – Are Your Periodicals and Books Piling Up?

How many of us often see a fantastic book or periodical, purchase it and take it home full of good intentions to read it? Here are a few tips to help you reduce that ‘To Read’ pile. With periodicals, open up to the Index of Articles. What really interests you? Reference the page the interesting article is on with a sticky note, then put the magazine on your kitchen table and read it over breakfast or take it to work and read it over morning tea or lunch. If you have a home office, place it on your coffee table so you can read it when you are having your cuppa. The idea is to take it one article at a time, at least you will get the articles read that originally caught your eye. For business and reference books, I like to highlight the chapters that I would find most useful, then place the book on the nightstand and read at least a few pages before retiring each night. If you have a partner who does not like you reading in bed, turn the TV off and devote the last 10 minutes of your evening to reading a book.

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