Trim the Fat: 20 Tips to Improve Office Productivity

Trim the Fat: 20 Tips to Improve Office Productivity

Tips for increasing office productivity always include increased organisation. But as discussed by office space new Malden, Sometimes small changes at the office yield large results in office productivity. Individual differences in the meaning of ‘productivity’ can vary and should be discussed to create a uniform productivity standard.

Basic ways to improve office productivity fall into four general categories, including: 1) Time management–prioritise deadlines and work tasks to ensure employee or team goals are met; 2) Managing ‘paper’–deciding upon and orchestrating paper systems in office use, including paper flows, retrieval and paper management; 3) Electronic information systems–Information store in any electronic format, including customer records, photos, documents and graphics; and 4) ‘Anything else, stuff’–Processing anything else that isn’t distributed on paper or by electronic systems.

Begin any quest for increased office productivity by identifying problems at the outset. Then, consider these tips for increasing office productivity:

Tip #1: Start with the small things. Recognise ‘time-waster’ activities and identify solutions. Even small tasks can waste a lot of time at the office and cause productivity to suffer. Consider the amount of time employees spend in the office kitchenette, preparing hot beverages. Install an instant boiling water system to the office and your employees can make hot tea or coffee in seconds rather than waiting for the kettle to boil and getting embroiled in time-wasting chats.

Creating zones in a clean work space is a must for reducing wasted time. When an employee can’t find the work space (serious clutter), create or use a simplified file system. 

Tip #2: Track how each employee spends time and determine how to self-manage activity. Start by asking each employee to record time spent to attend to any repetitive task, then ask employee/manager to agree to small changes. Managers can help employees break down large projects into individual tasks. Agree upon employee productivity standards if these are not in place. Work with human resources partner if necessary to establish essential tasks and goals for each employee position.

Tip #3: Make an action items list to prioritise essential activities; perform these activities before less essential items. Create an action plan list to manage daily, weekly and monthly goals. Setting unrealistic goals is a big impediment to productivity. By taking the time to create an action items list of tasks that occur every day, employees don’t need to recreate the ‘to-do’ wheel every day. Managers should help employees devise and track weekly and monthly tasks to streamline production.

Tip #4: Implement the ’20-minute’ rule when entering tasks into the company’s electronic task management shared spreadsheet or system. Checking e-mails or clearing the inbox on a continual basis is a big time waster. Limiting this activity to no more than 20-minutes in the morning or afternoon is a way that supervisors and employees to avoid the ‘electronic task management’ black holes.

Tip #5: Use only one electronic task manager system for the office. Some managers insist upon duplicating task management tracking with project spreadsheets and the like. Don’t do it!

Tip #6: Devise, then use, systems and tools that require employees to make daily, weekly, monthly and annual productivity plans. Although selection of tools and systems can take some time (including time to train employees how to use them)), it’s essential to identify and simplify task management, individual and common goals.

Tip #7: Require employees and managers to conduct or participate in regular ‘production’ meetings. This is mandatory!

Tip #8: Make time to properly maintain employee time management! If built into team or one-on-one meetings, time management is the backbone of office operations best practices.

Tip #9: Identify, then use, paper management systems at the office, e.g. reference, operational or archival systems. Many office have a ‘no paper’ goal. Until this goal is reached at the office, paper management systems keep clutter to a minimum.

Tip #10: Eliminate paper-based information as soon as possible to reduce clutter and the need to touch the paper again. Supervisors and managers should make ‘no clutter’ one of the rules of the road.

Tip #11: Convert paper to files. Scan paper documents and create files for easy electronic access.

Tip #12: Create paper management system, add labels. A proper filing system is still necessary at most offices.

Tip #13: Identify-develop-implement behavioral strategies that help shift employees’ sense of information overload. Tips 1-12 will help employees manage tasks and perform better. Most managers find that an open ‘chat’ tool between employees helps people engage and address tasks better than a phone call or email request.

Tip #14: Use file naming system convention as an office best practice. Rely upon standard file names.

Tip #15: Use version controls for electronic documents. Don’t allow multiple versions of documents to circulate.

Tip #16: Use office best practices to manage e-mails and online time-wasting. As above, many offices learn they can almost do without internal email communications. This best practice avoids the employee’s need to answer internal emails.

Tip #17: Prepare for meetings with a check list; maintain a project management approach to checking off complete tasks. Preparation prior to any meeting, large or small, makes attendees more productive.

Tip #18: Make remote access to office files a secure reality. A VoIP system can help employees manage an occasional or constant need to work remotely.

Tip #19: Identify a CRM tool to avoid leaving revenues and productivity on the table. CRM tools needn’t cost money or bear large subscription fees. Some are free. CRM puts the customer first, and that’s good for productivity.

Tip #20: Avoid chaos. Small and large changes to order the work day by prioritising tasks or deciding upon office best practices is essential to improving office productivity.

Daniel Johns is a professional productivity consultant with over 9 years experience advising Australian companies on how to increase their productivity while nurturing employee morale and satisfaction.

Published by valentine belonwu


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