Just like clutter in your home, workplace clutter has a way of building over time, eventually interfering with productivity and ability to focus. Studies show that the average employee wastes one week a year looking for misplaced materials. Does this sound like your office? We think everyone can agree they’d rather be spending that week doing something else.
This is why storage and organization solutions are always a part of smart office design, but there’s a certain level of personal initiative that has to take place as well. Not everyone is good at keeping their workspaces orderly, and for some, it’s an ongoing struggle that can really bring down their performance or affect those around them. Here, we have some workplace and management tips that could help improve employee organization:
Encourage employees to take ownership of their space
A new or young employee might view their workspace as just a place they come to sit 8 hours a day while they work. Some employees really don’t feel like the space is “their” space, and as a result, they won’t think of ways they can make it work better for themselves.
So, for those who may not naturally think of altering their workstation, encourage them to make changes that work best for them. Let them know that they’re in control of their space and how they manage their materials. Not only will it encourage them to take pride in their workspace, but more control leads to reduced stress at work. Part of taking ownership is also having the freedom to personalize a bit, such as bringing in their own organization accessories or office supplies they feel they need.
Let them know you’re willing to provide simple things that they need (like file folders, paper trays, paper clips, etc). Offering to help is the kindest way you can say “hey, you really need to get your desk organized.”
Put Organization Tips in your break room, or some other group space
Plant the seed in your employee’s heads by putting up tips on decluttering or organization. Print out studies on the effects of clutter on the mind’s ability to focus. Some ideas on articles or pointers you can share:
- How labeling can help
- Tackling to-do piles
- Using technology more wisely
- Keep a notebook instead of loose papers
- Tidy your desk before you leave
Sometimes all it takes is a little bit of awareness to make your team members put in a conscious effort towards staying organized.
Going paperless can help employees stay organized
The majority of all organization materials are for sorting and filing various paper documents, but paper trails create a lot of work to keep up with. Switching to paperless when possible can really reduce the amount of paper from piling up and floating around the office.
Of course, going completely paperless requires a new level of digital organization and backup protocols (which is a whole other article topic). But there are many daily tasks that can be done on a computer or tablet, instead of paper.
Offer incentives or make it a team effort
If disorganization is a big problem in your office, and you find that you’re often dealing with lost materials, missing information, or you’re noticing a lot of time being wasted in search of things gone missing, then you can always turn it into some kind of competition. An incentive for cleanest or most improved workstation may be the motivation your team needs to make big improvements quickly.
You can also make decluttering and staying organized a team goal. Taking a moment in meetings or weekly checking-ins to mention keeping clutter to a minimum will make your employees more mindful throughout the week.
By organizing your work space and helping employees declutter, you can greatly improve workplace efficiency. Your employees will also feel better about their working conditions and performance.