Improving Office Efficiency
Tips on Improving Office Efficiency to Give Your Business a Lift
In previous posts, we shared tips on bookkeeping and organization. Now let’s explore some ideas centered on improving office efficiency.
A well optimized workplace can lead to better production, enhanced work flow, and ultimately, higher profits. The key to improving office efficiency is simply to start small. Trying to overhaul the entire work space could distract from the actual work needed to be done. For example, if there is a certain task that needs to be re-optimized, such as checking in a client at the reception desk, it would be better to improve that one task rather than changing the entire system. It is often easier to focus on smaller problems that can be fixed quickly and save the larger ones for a time when appropriate planning and execution can be implemented.
15 Insights on Improving Office Efficiency from Admin Solutions
1. Clean Clutter Out of Your Business Office
One of the first steps taken should be to get rid of all unnecessary clutter. Getting rid of duplicate papers, old folders, and other unused clutter helps clear the office space and will improve your ability to work.
2. Desktop Management
• Taking care of what is on your desktop can help improve efficiency. On your physical desktop it is important to keep only what’s necessary on it. Things like pens, paper, and forms are all of importance and should be kept within arm’s reach. Other items that aren’t often used should be put into unused drawers or removed entirely. Utilize trays and bins for sorting, designating, and prioritizing your work.
• The desktop on your computer should be clean and organized. It is important to make sure your files and folders make sense and are easily accessible. Having the ability to easily locate something on your desktop or organized computer files will save time and frustration during the work day.
3. Calendar & Scheduling
It only takes a small amount of time each day to manage and maintain a schedule. A schedule helps you remain efficient. If you keep your schedule on a calendar, electronic or physical, you can easily manage your day to day business. You don’t have to worry about missing important events or losing track of work commitments. Maintaining an electronic calendar will give you access to alarms and notifications which can help you keep track of your working tasks and protect you from lapses of memory.
4. Keep an Organized Workplace
Having to deal with mess and clutter is disadvantageous to everyone. It requires large outlays of precious time to look through unorganized files, untidy business records, or to deal with a hodgepodge of miscellaneous clutter. Organization doesn’t only apply to physical documents but electronic files too. It is important to keep your computer records organized into easily accessible folders.
5. Email Organization
Don’t forget the importance of email organization. They can be organized a number of ways, for example- by date, subject, or relevance. Remember email software is not intended to be a permanent storage or filing mechanism. Be sure to save important emails to your secure storage or removable hard drive to ensure maximum optimization of your email software and the ability to easily retrieve important communications in the event of a computer crash.
6. Office Staff Delegation
If you have staff, it may be beneficial to evaluate and reorganize their day to day tasks so that everyone is utilized properly. It’s important for your staff to be aware of their coworkers’ general schedule and outlay of projects. In the event someone is out sick or unavailable, work flow will remain relatively uninterrupted if existing staff can fill in to handle basic tasks and fulfill work requirements. Shuffling tasks can allow for more specialized work to get done.
7. Don’t let Small Tasks Stockpile
If you can do something in less than a few minutes, don’t delay! Those small, easy to accomplish tasks that help you organize your bookkeeping can pile up and you could lose efficiency by simply putting them off. So don’t forget to check your voicemail and file those receipts.
8. To-Do Lists Make Your Business Office Run Smoothly
It is important to keep a handle on your tasks. A simple, daily to-do list can help you plan out your day to day activities. You can go through at the beginning of the month and week to write out repeating appointments and important meetings and trips. A planner or notebook could effectively be utilized to manage your specific day to day tasks. Be sure to review and update the list daily to keep your business administration running efficiently.
9. Identify Bottlenecks in Your Daily Workflow
A bottleneck is anything that causes time loss and is fixable. It is important to examine your work processes and look for ways you can improve upon them. If time is being wasted or used inefficiently, find ways to manage that time into meaningful work usage.
10. Take Advantage of Electronic Efficiency
Another key factor to keeping a well optimized business and improving office efficiency is the use of technology. Technology improves frequently and consistently and has helped make work easier. Take advantage of it! Many tasks can be shortened or even automated by technology. It is important to use all tools available to you to make your work more polished. Often times it is better to give up on the familiar, outdated techniques in favor of new ones. Email, document processing, scheduling and calendars, contact management and so much more can be improved with computers and software. Here are some ways you can use computers to improve efficiency:
11. Business Time Planning & Management
Managing your contacts, calendar, and schedule has all been made a breeze by various pieces of software. You can easily organize your contacts with a spreadsheet or word processor. There are many free calendar applications from big name companies like Google and Microsoft that are available to anyone. Information can be kept digitally and will remove clutter from the (almost) old fashioned file cabinets. Scheduling is made easy with notifications and aforementioned calendar apps.
12. Computer Hardware
Faster computers shorten boot times, increase program speeds, and prevent crashes. Higher quality internet provides quicker data transfer and prevents digital bottlenecking. Other little helpers include the use of dual or even triple monitors. The extra screen real estate allows for more programs to be used and managed at once. With two monitors you can have both an email and document open at the same time, taking out the need to constantly switch back and forth. Another hardware advantage is the ergonomics of various computer peripherals. A more ergonomic keyboard will improve typing speed and relieve stress from the wrists.
13. Business Office Meetings
Technology can make interfacing much simpler than it used to be. A face to face meeting used to require both parties to meet at a set location at a set time. Now you can use any one of the many video calling programs to talk directly to clients and associates. With the advent of Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP), phone calls can be done via computer and a high speed internet connection. There are different options that can be used for these meetings, ranging from free to paid, depending on your needs. Skype and GotoMeeting are both leaders in this industry.
14. Backing Up Business Data
A big bonus from the technology boom is the ability to back up data and access it anytime, anywhere. Using a cloud file storage service can prevent loss of important data and also allow access to documents when you are travelling or out of the office. Once something is on the cloud, other workers will have access to the data and this removes the steps previously needed for data transfer.
15. Using Email for Business Communications
One of the biggest ways to help your team work better is communication. Email provides near instant transfer of data and information. It is also important to make sure you are using your emails in a practical manner. It is easy to get distracted by non-work related emails, but you can remove that temptation easily by routing all of your work email to one folder and sticking to that folder during the work day. Keep your spam folder clean. Make sure your emails are organized into folders and sub-folders to keep them easily accessible. Also, deal with old emails by either deleting or archiving them. Remember, your email software is NOT meant to be a long term electronic filing solution. Be sure to save important, critical communications to your cloud or back up drive.
In exploring your day to day handling of tasks and processes, you will ultimately find ways to create a more efficient, useful work place that will be appreciated and welcomed by the members of your team. A happy staff is a productive staff and this will become your bottom line.