During the week, the office is buzzing with activity. Whether it’s reading or sending emails, answering calls, attending meetings, researching and working on projects, there are always things that need to get done and never enough time.
With all this activity, and usually chaos, something is bound to fall between the cracks…balls will get dropped. Usually when something goes wrong, someone gets the blame, but often the problem can be traced to how the office is organized, or should we say ‘not organized’.
Here are 11 tips that will help you manage your office like a Swiss clock and keep your office functional even under pressure.
1# Manage to do lists with a purpose
Every task or project you have on your desk should be on a to-do list. This allows you to manage them according to priority, context and timelines. Never file them as miscellaneous, it’s not a category. When you keep a task “hanging”, you sentence it to “task purgatory”.
2# Create a trusted workflow for tasks
Make sure that once you open an email, a document, receive a phone call, finish a meeting, that there is a predefined workflow for managing any tasks that arise. Follow your workflow like your life depends on it…your office efficiency certainly depends on it!
3# Do follow-ups and reviews
Creating a system to check the status of any task and project is imperative in every office environment to keep everything functional. If you want to maintain a high level of control and prevent from tasks getting lost, do your reviews on a weekly basis!
4# Organize smooth delegation processes
If you have employees or colleagues that can help you on a task, delegate it. Develop a method and use tools that enable you to transfer tasks effectively and communicate instructions clearly without scheduling unnecessary meetings. Recurring tasks most likely should be delegated because it’s been done before, making it easier to review and perfect.
5# Store reference materials online for easy access
Make project reference material available online! It will speed up office communication and prevent unnecessary talk between employees about the whereabouts of certain docs. All project materials should be known to the team members and easily accessible online. All team members should be able to add information to this central repository. Information should be categorized properly and connected to the relevant project and tasks.
6# Handle files and tasks only once
A lot of people have a tendency to open a file or an email and close it immediately after, saying they’ll return to it later…Drop that habit ASAP. Once you read something, make a decision about it, trash, reply, relate it to an existing task or project, etc. You can’t imagine how much time is wasted on reading and re-reading emails. Once it’s related to an overall task or project, you’ll know to address it in the right context, priority, and timeframe.
7# Schedule breaks!
Breaks are really important for keeping office efficiency at its peak. Taking mental breaks from your tasks can improve your focus and help you get into the zone much faster. Especially when doing repetitive tasks, breaks are important. Repetitive actions and thoughts are regarded by our brains as unimportant; to the point the brain becomes ineffective in processing them.
8# Share office objectives and goals to motivate everyone
Do you have a shared calendar in the office or an office workspace that allows you to take a look at the progress of shared projects? Seeing in real time how far/close you are (as a team) to complete a common goal makes everyone work harder. By sharing updates and dates from goal completion on the same board, you can harness the entire office to work harder and boost morale.
9# Limit the number of meetings
Meetings are poison. Nothing gets done while you’re in a meeting and although it might give you an illusion of doing; you’re actually not making any progress. Now I don’t say eliminate meeting completely. Make sure each meeting has a clear objective and set timeframe. Manage the meeting in such a way that people do no digress to other topics. Stay on point and stay focused! Of course, clearly document, assign and circulate the meeting notes and actions. Go back to Step #3 to make sure they get done.
10# Use Common methodology and terminology
When everyone talks in the same language and works with the same methodology, it’s easier to get things done. Create a culture in your office based on a productivity method, e.g., Getting Things Done by David Allen. Hand a copy of the book to your employees and equip them with practical knowledge that will help them to get tasks done faster.
11# Give your team the tools to succeed
The method is one aspect, but a method without a tool is like a fishing pole without the lure. When everyone works and collaborates on the same platform, it’s easier to manage and achieve the office tasks, projects, and objectives. Everything is clearly listed, delegated and communicated amongst the team.
We’d like to invite to create a lean and mean office-efficiency machine. IQTELL will help you and your teams get organized by connecting everything in one place!