Blog: Office Productivity
Six Essentials of a Productive Office
On a scale from one to ten, one being the least productive and ten being the most productive, how would you rate yourself on productivity during an average work day? We all know that life happens and unusual circumstances change our daily routine, but for the most part, you need to consider what your average day looks like.
Do you have the tools you need to work at your optimum level of efficiency? Here are six essentials for a productive work environment. None of them require a degree in rocket science, and most offices have them, but may not be using them in an effective manner.
Desktop Tools -These include things like your computer, telephone, writing supplies, stapler, scissors, and tape. Most importantly it includes a system for information that comes into your office. Many people call this an in or out box. The system could be made of wire mesh, wood or plastic bins or baskets. They might be stored on the desk or hanging on a wall at arm's reach. All desktop tools should be within easy reach so that you do not need to get up out of your chair to retrieve any of them.
Wastebasket, Recycle, or Shred - It is preferable to have all three and the ideal is to have them located near your desk so that piles don't form because they aren't easily accessible. If you can't achieve the ideal, then work towards the best possible solution. This system is all about the flow of paper in and out of the office.
Calendar -This tool is used to help manage time. It is critical to have a great tool with a calendar to make the best use of time in and out of the office. You need to decide what type of tool works best for you, paper or electronic. Electronic tools are great, but you might not be able to do much planning with them. A good calendar not only tracks appointments, but can also be a place to write down your goals and to-do list for each day. All of these things are part of time management and productivity.
Contact Information -Do you remember what a rolodex is? Some offices still use them. They are a contact management system. Today lots of people use their cell phones or PDA's to store their contacts. Microsoft Outlook is one of the most popular systems. Constant Contact and Send-Out-Cards are also examples of contact management systems. Like the calendar, each person must decide what type of system works best for them, not just one because it is popular. Make sure that you enter your contact information into your system as soon as possible. The system is your connection to the world.
Action Files -These are the files that you use every day. Many people use these as their to-do list. Action files should be located on the desktop or as close to you as possible. They can be organized by date, topic, or type of action. Some examples of names for action files are: to read, to file, waiting for response, consider this, call, email, etc.
Reference Files -These are files that require no action, but you must or want to keep them. They do not have to be stored on the desk. They can be located next to the desk, behind it, or even in another room. Reference files can also be divided into archive and active files. Archive files of course are what they say. These are papers like insurance policies, old contracts, licenses, etc. Active reference files are ones that you may access occasionally or even every day, but require no action. Examples are financial documents, operations documents, resources, and forms.
Take a look at these six essentials again and decide if you have them and are using them to their full potential. If not, make the necessary changes. Some people may even require another essential tool in their offices depending on their industry. Make an assessment of those tools as well. By using all of your essentials, you will be creating the most productive work environment possible.
posted on: 2/28/2010 1:30:00 PM by Barbara Boone
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by Barbara Boone
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Barbara Boone is the owner of Productivity Solutions located in Cockeysville, MD. She provides office organizing for small businesses and helps them to create and implement a productive environment so that they can be successful. Her focus is paper management and file set up to help clients reduce stress and increase productivity. She has been organizing in the fields of education and business for over 36 years. Barbara is a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers and Director of Professional Development for the Baltimore chapter of the National Association.