Beth holds a master's degree in integrated marketing communications, and has worked in journalism and marketing throughout her career.
The Importance of Organization
Have you ever known someone you'd called 'ultra organized?' Organized Ora sorts and files her coupons, keeps her appointments neatly on a calendar, is never late to an appointment and her hair is always perfectly coiffed. And, then there's Disorganized Dora. Disorganized Dora can never find her purse or her wallet, frequently forgets important dates and reminders, loses track of vital papers and is, generally, a disheveled mess.
There's something to be said for the calm, cool, and collected nature of an organized person. They appear to have it all together, present a good first impression, have their stress levels under control, and appear confident and capable. The same is true of the spaces many of us occupy throughout the day: our office accommodations.
An office with appropriate organization, or an ordered or methodical way of doing things, can contribute to the well-being of both your employees and your business as a whole. It could be as simple as organizing all paper and office supplies in a storage closet, making certain the cleaning supplies are returned to a central location or placing important equipment such as photocopiers and fax machines in an easily-accessible spot.
Here are some benefits to considering keeping a neat and orderly office:
1. It keeps morale (or mental and emotional attitudes related to one's profession) high: An organized work-space can be the catalyst for an organized staff. Workers who take pride in their office are more likely to be personally organized at work, keep common areas clean and maintain tidy processes in their filing, correspondence and more. Those behaviors also can rub off from one employee to the next.
2. It exhibits a high degree of professionalism: Would you hire you if you walked into your office? Think about that. First impressions of a business are important in helping acquire customers and keeping them confident in your abilities. An organized office shows you take your work, and theirs, seriously.
3. It's good for safety and wellness: Unsafe work practices are sometimes all around us and we don't even realize it. A spill on the floor could cause someone to fall; old food left in a refrigerator could cause an employee to become ill. Clean spaces are safe spaces, and can also reduce stress and have a host of other positive health benefits.
4. It makes things more efficient: Working amid chaos can cause personal and business problems including stress, loss of productivity, loss of time and, ultimately, a loss of money. Creating an atmosphere that is efficient and structured expedites jobs and makes everyone happier and more productive.
Steps in Organizing
The art of organization is all about that last point in the previous section: efficiency. Imagine being able to go straight to the file you need, and find it. Pretend you're on the hunt for a particular part and you can go straight to the shelf where it's been catalog, and there it is. Organization across offices will vary based on the space you have, the processes you set up and the system you implement, but here are some best practices for starting the organization process.
1. Sort. Filing cabinet, shelving system and similar tools are useful in this step for helping papers and other items find a home, while you toss out the things you really don't need.
2. Declutter. Decluttering is good for entire offices (do you have broken equipment still sitting around?) and individual offices (can you see your desktop?). Get rid of the things you don't need or use and find a system for storing and managing the things you do, without everything being in the way.
3. Tame the tangled beast. We all have a lot of cords and wires running from desktops, computers, and along the baseboards of our offices. Gather those cords and wires, bundle them and neatly clip them together or hide them. IT professionals in your office should be able to help.
4. Lay it out right. An office layout should have an efficient and functional flow. Place equipment such as fax machines and photocopiers in easily-accessed central locations. Keep filing cabinets within arm's reach of your desk, if possible. If customers come to your place of business, be sure desks and counters are situated to allow them to easily navigate the floorplan.
Organization, or an ordered or methodical way of doing things, within an office can lend an efficiency and professionalism to both the look and function of a business. In addition to helping keep morale (or mental and emotional attitudes related to one's profession) high, it creates spaces that contribute to the health and wellness of all employees. To get started, sort the things you need to keep from the ones you don't and discard the 'do-not-keep' pile. Declutter in all areas, especially broken equipment or items that aren't being use. Tame the tangled beast and keep your cords clean and uncluttered. Lay your office space out right to maximize the flow and work of employees and the aesthetics and functionality for customers.
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