Increase Productivity, Efficiency and Profitability
By Pat Heydlauff
Research shows there is a direct correlation between
productivity and clutter. Productivity and profits decline when
clutter and chaos rise. Do piles of paper, disorganization and
information mismanagement take over your workplace while efficiency
and effectiveness vanish right before your eyes?
According to the National Association of Professional
Organizations, paper clutter is the number one problem for most
businesses. Studies show the average person wastes 4.3 hours per
week searching for papers, which adds stress and frustration to the
workplace while reducing concentration and creative thinking. The
average executive loses one hour of productivity per day searching
for missing information. And, according to the Small Business
Administration, the biggest burden for small business is the
inability to properly service customers, increase sales and improve
the bottom line because of mishandled paperwork.
In addition, many companies deal with stress daily, and
unfortunately clutter can help add to the stress of the daily grind.
Statistics show 75 percent or more of all physician visits are
stress- related, and by un-cluttering you will not only increase
productivity, security and profits but reduce overall stress and
medical care costs.
Whether you are
working in a huge corporation or a one-person office, there are
several benefits to un-cluttering and organizing:
productivity and profitability increase
information confidential and secure
overload and stress
workplace accidents and spills
Save time and
Your first step is to devise an information management
system, not just a filing system. Information comes from many
sources, including snail mail, e-mail, text messages, cell phones,
and courier services, to name a few. All of this information needs
to be organized, in order to be profitably utilized, put into
permanent archives or tossed. You also need to have the necessary
tools to make the system efficient and uniformly useable such as
file folders, filing cabinets for current information, boxes for
archives, and scanners with backup capabilities for managing
Whether you are
responsible for creating your own information management system or
if those higher up are in charge, it’s still up to you to take
action and make it happen. Here are some steps:
Set aside time
weekly to manage and organize information. Adhere to that
commitment like an appointment and you will stay ahead of the
your desk at the end of the day, so at least 80 percent of the
desktop is visible. This will make going to work each morning a
joy because desk stress and mental overload will decrease while
your productivity increases.
anything on top of your desk that is not used often. Put
everything else into drawers, cubicles or containers that are
easily accessible. Your efficiency will double and your fatigue
to only one personal photograph, placing it in the southwest
section of your work area to energize relationships. This will
increase focus on the work at hand not others.
If you need to
access files at a moment’s notice or need a reminder to follow
up on specific projects regularly, use a vertical desktop file
sorter instead of stacks, and color-code them. Use green folders
for new clients, red folders for established clients that
provide you good business and good fortune, and yellow folders
for less important but still necessary information. You or
colleagues can quickly find client information, which improves
client relations and results.
information only once whether on paper or in your e-mail inbox.
Make a decision as to whether it takes action or can be tossed
or deleted. You will become more efficient and lower your stress
Information Management System:
Once you have devised your information management system
and put your plan into action, you must focus energy onto it to
keep it operating smoothly on a daily basis. It won’t become part of
the corporate culture or a personal habit if you don’t do more than
just un-clutter and organize once or twice.
Create a Clean
Desk or Clean Workspace Policy, and establish a reward system
that is handed out weekly, such as a small trophy for each
office that qualifies. If the trophy stays with that person for
six months or a whole year provide them an extra reward, perhaps
a day off or preferred parking for a month.
of the winners in your employee lounge or common area, and
recognize them at company meetings.
employees to put something one personal, creative item on their
desk, where stacks of paper used to be. This will serve as a
reminder of how easy it is to stay clutter-free and stress-free.
Stress, clutter and disorganization cost businesses thousands of
dollars in lost profits, productivity and time. By creating a plan
to stay organized, and implementing these tips on a regular basis,
you and your company can reap the benefits and your employees will
be happier and healthier.
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