10 Ways to Organize Your Business More Efficiently
Maintaining a clean and organized office is essential to an efficient and productive workflow. Yet many small businesses struggle with organizing and maintaining a tidy space. Over time, papers pile up, icons crowd your desktop, and the mess threatens to destroy your motivation and, ultimately, your bottom line.
If you’ve let your office fall into disarray and you can never find what you’re looking for, it’s time to clean house. Moreover, it’s time to create a system that will support organization for the long haul. Then, you won’t have to spend time cleaning up messes week after week. Here are a few tips and tricks that will help you accomplish this:
1. Keep Digital Records
In many offices, paper tends to pile up, creating clutter and leaving desks in a state of disarray. Even with folders and filing cabinets, you may still end up with stacks of loose-leaf paper and missing documents. If this describes your office, try transitioning to a digital archiving system. Shred files you no longer need. Then, begin transferring the necessary information to your computer. Scan and digitize receipts, documents and payroll to organize files and make them easier to locate.
2. Declutter Your Desktop
You might also declutter your desktop, especially if you’ve been keeping digital records for a while. Begin by clearing your downloads and trash folder, removing duplicate files and uninstalling apps and programs you no longer need. Then, reorganize your documents, placing them in folders with concise names to help you find the exact file you need when you need it fast. Clearing and organizing your desktop will make you more productive and allow your computer to work at maximum speed.
3. Create a Filing System
If you must keep paper records, create and maintain a filing system to organize them. Store older documents you may need in the future in filing boxes or cabinets and keep them in a storage closet. Keep other files that you reference regularly in drawers or folders in your office and organize them by color, file type or letter of the alphabet. You might also keep the entire teams’ files together in one place for quick and easy access.
4. Use That Calendar
Avoid double-booking yourself or miss a meeting with a client by using an online calendar that you can sync across all your devices. For instance, if you use Gmail, you can access your Google Calendar from anywhere and even attach documents or notes directly to events so both you and your team can view them. Schedule event reminders, group meetings and video calls, too. The best part is that all your information is in one place, saving you time and lots of confusion.
5. Streamline Your Email
While you’re on your desktop, you might as well clean up your inbox and organize your email. It’s best to sort your mail as soon as it arrives. However, if you’re out of the office for a few days at a time, messages can pile up quickly. File away anything that doesn’t require a response in your archives and organize incoming emails into folders. Lastly, unsubscribe from spam and newsletters you never read to keep your inbox clean.
6. Clean Out Company Vehicles
If your small business relies on a van, truck or another type of vehicle for distribution, prioritize cleaning it out as well. Do your employees drive it around most of the time? Make organization their responsibility and create a checklist to ensure the car remains neat and tidy. You might also install shelving, so every item has a home and your team doesn’t waste time scrounging around for tools and documents.
7. Purge the Office
Meanwhile, you and the in-office staff can begin purging your cubicles and desks of clutter. Throw away pens that don’t write, scrap paper and that half-eaten bagel from yesterday. Then, set up a donation box for things the office no longer uses but that another small business might appreciate. Delegate smaller cleaning and organizational tasks to employees and make sure every drawer, closet and cabinet has a purpose and label.
8. Utilize Online Tools
As your team grows and changes, your needs will too. Take stock of the apps and online tools you already have and decide which ones are still important to your business and which ones you could do without. Likewise, if you don’t use online productivity trackers or a document sharing system like the Cloud, download some apps and give them a test run. Many even offer 30-day free trials so you can find one that best fits your needs.
9. Streamline Communications
Frantically searching through emails, texts, group chats and voicemails for a client’s phone number or meeting time isn’t fun for anyone. Make business easier and more efficient for everyone by streamlining your communications. Use one or two modes of communication to share important information or utilize a project management app like Basecamp, Salesforce, Trello or Slack to allow for better collaboration and data sharing.
10. Master Time Management
Of course, one of the best ways to organize your business and make it more efficient is to master the art of time management. Use your natural 90-minute ultradian rhythm cycle to boost productivity and alertness. You might also limit distractions during the workday, make an hourly schedule and consistently take short breaks. Share your tips and tricks with your team so they might get more done during the day, too.
A Team Effort
As the saying goes, there is no “I” in team. As the head of your small business, change certainly begins with you. However, it doesn’t end there. Everyone on your team must be on the same page to create an organized office and support efficient daily operations. Make sure everyone has a role to play in keeping things neat and tidy, and consider leading them through an introductory course to new apps and online management systems.
Once everyone understands the new procedures, your office will be clean in no time, and maintaining an organized space will be a breeze.