How to Make Your Office More Efficient
A typical office environment operates according to certain established procedures. There might be a certain way to log paperwork, or a specific order of steps to follow when taking a new order from a client. Often, these are the steps that form the outline of how a day can progress, and how much work can be done. When one of these systems doesn’t work efficiently, whether by causing confusion or by taking unnecessary amounts of time, it may be worth looking to see if it can be improved.
Benefits of Reworking Office Procedures
Long or complex office procedures can have expensive costs. They can take up vast amounts of company time, bog down the efforts of individual employees, put deadlines at risk, and create a bad impression on customers. At the very least, the procedure will continue to cause frustration and headaches in the office. It can be even more of a hindrance if the office has no formal processes in place.
The process of reworking in and of itself can be a great team-building exercise. By inviting employees to explain where frustrations or complications arise in their day-to-day work, a more comprehensive, streamlined system can be implemented based on their suggestions. Issues that might be invisible to upper management can be addressed and fixed, creating additional time in the workday and freeing employees to focus on other tasks.
Where to Begin?
Any process or strategy that needs to be reworked should first be mapped out to get a clear idea of the steps involved. Mapping it out needn’t be complicated. Simply describe the task as you would to a new hire, detailing what needs to be done and where all the required resources for the task are located.
Once each stage is outlined, it’s time to identify the problem areas.
- Which step is the most problematic or takes the most time to do?
- Which step causes frustration or confusion?
- Is the system as straightforward as it could be?
Redesigning the System
Thanks to the mapping exercise, you should now have a clear idea of what needs to be fixed or amended. Are there directories that could be merged? Would it be more efficient to scan papers into a digital file instead of requiring employees to walk down the hall to retrieve them? The changes may take time to implement, but you’ll notice an immediate difference in your new workflow.
Brainstorm with your team to determine the most efficient way to accomplish each task, and what level of importance should be placed on each. For example, if an employee only has a few minutes left in their day, is it more urgent to take out the trash or to make a quick update to customer records? Establishing a hierarchy of tasks can help ensure that important work is always completed according to schedule.
Some tasks, like the trash mentioned above, might be able to be outsourced. This decision can be extremely cost-effective, as it can allow employees to focus on their specialties and strengths while simultaneously ensuring that the task is completed satisfactorily and by a trained service.
One of the biggest issues for companies that deal with customer information is how to safely dispose of it. The image of a lone employee, hunched over a supply-store shredder with piles of documents at their hip, is comedic, yet unfortunately still a reality. Handling sensitive data disposal in-house presents a host of challenges. The process is certainly not efficient, as it monopolizes both time and office space, and it presents ample opportunities for bits of paper to be missed or improperly shredded. This in turn introduces the company to a higher risk of legal liability.
Outsourcing this work to a fully certified, dedicated disposal service can be a strategic move in several ways. Continuing with the example of document disposal, scheduled paper shredding can streamline the process in several notable ways. Instead of just throwing papers into any old bin, the shredding company will work with you to figure out a secure, safe place to collect them according to privacy standards.
Instead of an employee being tasked with recurring shredder duty, a mobile truck will arrive according to whatever dates you request for your scheduled paper shredding. The shredding will take place on-site, and you will still be able to watch the process to make sure it’s done according to specifications. A shredding service will also eliminate the need to dispose of the shredded paper, as they will then securely transport the particles to a recycling facility.
Call (865) 986-5444 to learn more about our shredding process and to determine if one of our scheduled shredding services would be right for your workplace. You can also request a personalized FREE quote online.