According to a recent report from the Department of Labor, American businesses got more work out of their employees in the second quarter of 2012. The 1.6 percent gain in productivity was a welcome surprise in a struggling economy. The number measures the output per hour of work and is important because gains in productivity often translate into higher corporate profits.
How do bosses continue to improve it?
There are many ways to improve productivity, but arguably the easiest and least inexpensive ones is organization. An office should run like a well-oiled machine and that means no time should be wasted searching for anything. Each and every employee should know where to find what they need when they need it. Whether in common or private areas, clutter should be abhorred, since it is a time killer. In this article we will discuss five simple ways to organize your personal workspace.
They often say that “a cluttered space equals a cluttered mind,” and most business executives agree. A recent poll of Wall Street CEOs found that 51 of 52 of them were more likely to promote an employee with a clean desk over one with a messy workspace. Why is this? Because most bosses believe the orderly worker is more in control of his environment and therefore is probably more productive. They also believe that disorder is somewhat disrespectful to clients and coworkers alike.
1. The Desk
One mistake most messy workers make is that they pile everything they think they need on their desks before they start. If the assignment or project is a large and/or challenging one, this will invariably lead to a cluttered desk, often with piles and stacks of things that leave employees with no place to actually work, since their work surface is often completely covered.
The center of any workplace is, of course, the worker himself. But he need not, and really should not, put everything he needs for the day on his desk. Important items should be kept close at hand and should be easy to access. They should be brought to the work surface as needed, not before. This will help keep your entire work area organized and clean. It will also allow you to work more efficiently, since you won’t have to search through stacks of papers to find what you need.
Most modern desks have counters where workers can store important items only a few feet away from where they work. All they have to do is spin their chairs away from their computers, and they can grab an important document, file, or folder. Unfortunately, most messy employees do not take full advantage of this invaluable space. Instead of neatly placing these important materials in desktop organizers that have separate drawers or dividers, they simply stack them on the countertop. What happens next? They have to search the pile for each file they need, which is a colossal waste of time. Storing files in organizers gives workers easy access to documents and saves time as well as energy.
The most disorganized places in most modern offices are the drawers, which truly is a shame, because they are a cinch to put in order. Acrylic drawer organizers can be found at any office supply store. Available in a wide range of sizes and styles, most feature separate compartments for pencils, pens, post-it notes, tape, scissors, paper clips, staplers, etc. They only cost a few dollars a piece and will pay for themselves many times over.
4. Color Coding
Many of the most productive workers on the planet have their own systems for organization that help them find what they’re looking for in short order. One of the most popular systems involves the use of color-coded tabs that are sorted by topic or project. For example, all folders that involve current work might have a red tab, while completed assignments might have a blue one. This not only makes it easier for the employee himself, but also for his coworkers. How?
Let’s say, for example, that the organized employee is out of the office and another worker needs one of his files. The organized worker can simply inform him that the file he desires has a red tab and is in a certain drawer. So, rather than turning the office upside-down he can locate the folder in no time.
Most messy workers have a very bad habit of using lots of different note pads, calendars, and post-it notes as scheduling devices. Neat workers, by comparison, always only have one calendar or pad or computer task list that they use to plan their schedules, which means they never have to search around to figure out what they’re doing that day!