Office organization is always a challenge for small businesses because they tend to channel most of their labor resources into “productive” work that directly generates revenue rather than into ancillary functions. Still, a properly organized office is necessary to maintain a positive atmosphere that is tidy and structured. To replace chaos with sanity in your office, use these 7 office organization tips for small businesses.
1. Create procedures
Even the most mundane procedure in your business should be documented so everyone knows exactly what needs to be done and how it needs to be done. For example, incoming paperwork should be processed in a way that it is processed through a single handling process of action and then filing. This type of policy keeps those disturbing piles of printed matter from cluttering desks and being either difficult or impossible to locate.
2. Set a schedule
Small businesses tend to run wide open for as long as possible as long as there is work that needs to be done. To avoid burnout and to promote a sane working environment, however, office hours should be set, with scheduled breaks, so everyone involved including workers and customers knows what to expect when they arrive and when they can come and go. This structure makes it easier and more predictable to work for a small company.
3. Use virtual assistants
Repetitive tasks like editing documents, printing reports or answering phones can be done by anyone, so consider using one of the many virtual assistant services that are springing up to get the routine work done at a super-low cost to your business. This frees up your time and others’ for productive work.
4. Have a computer backup plan
Small businesses often end up being disabled for days or weeks at a time just because a key computer or server crashed, losing all the information it contained. Small businesses should have a backup plan in place where all their computers, servers and external storage devices are backed up so when the worst happens, the work can go on. Consider using one of the modern online backup services, so you always have a copy of your work.
5. Set goals and monitor progress
One of the biggest problems with businesses and individuals is that they lack direction. They don’t know where they are headed and – because of that – they don’t know how to get there. Get together with all your employees right away and start setting some goals for your small business, and then have a simple chart set up in the office where everyone can contribute to monitoring their achievement.
6. Define responsibilities
Small businesses get into the habit where everyone just assumes that everyone else will always do what they have always done in the past. This “seat of the pants” management approach may work for a while, but as new employees come into the mix, they will be frequently left dead in the water, not knowing what they are supposed to be doing and who can address the various issues that arise. Take some time to create some job descriptions and make sure you have periodic meetings to make sure everyone is working from the same page.
7. Maintain records
Record keeping in small businesses is often inadequate because no one has time to archive records or pay attention to regulations that stipulate what records must be kept. When tax time comes around or when your business is audited for compliance with various privacy and labor statutes, businesses are reminded of the importance of keeping good records.
Take some time to figure out what records must be kept and how to keep them, and then make it a team responsibility to carry out the plan. If everyone does a little bit, record keeping won’t be much of a chore.
Use these 7 office organization tips for your small business to start bringing order out of the chaos that currently reigns in your office. The extra time and attention to these issues will be well spent will be rewarded in a more efficient, productive and profitable business.
This guest post was submitted by James Adams. James is a full-time writer and a reviewer at CartridgeSave, an online specialist suppliers of HP cartridges.