Ambiguity in the business world is always a concern for office managers, and sometimes just plain bad for business. Time is in short supply in a world where it seems office managers need to keep doing more and more with less and less. Here are a few tips to help you get your head above the water and out of the chaos that is time-mismanagement.
1. Remove all distractions
When it comes to increasing productivity, nothing is more of a hindrance to our work than all those pesky distractions that cause chaos in keeping us focused. For instance, how often have you been tempted to open up your phone and quickly check up on your Insta feed? Those flashing red icons are there for the sole purpose of pulling you away from whatever it is you are doing. Try changing these notifications to a more subtler colour, or turn them off completely.
2. Schedule schedule schedule!
Hand in hand with removing distraction comes scheduling. It’s as simple as writing down what you want to do, when you want to do it. If you can’t totally eliminate your distractions, try to plan them out as a contingency. For example: rather than incessantly opening your phone throughout the whole day, set aside a specific period of time to check it. As for planning the rest of your activities, do it the night before as a bare minimum. The earlier the better of course. A few days, a week, this will depend on your workload and level of foresight. This way you won’t need to start preparing your days every night, can create a more holistic approach which in turn will help you to formulate longer-term goals.
3. Set routines to stick with
Don’t put off the tedious chores that come with maintaining a well-functioning office. Routine tasks such as filing, bookkeeping, and receiving are easy things to delay. It’s all too easy to put off such tasks, so make sure to set aside some time each week to get these things done. For you small business owners out there who aren’t in the position of assigning whatever boring or monotonous task there may be, jump onto it yourself! In saying that, if a piece of office equipment ever breaks down, make sure you and your staff know who to call to get it fixed, and not try doing it themselves.
4. Communication is key
There is no exception that the challenges office managers come across, although at times seems impossible, can usually be solved with better communication. Quick message applications have a few clear advantages over email for communicating internally between you and your staff, including integration with tons of third-party apps, ease of use, and greater transparency. Smash down those information silos which tend to build up through use of email.
5. Make it clear who is responsible for what
Accountability - it’s knowing who is in charge of what. Your office is an organism with different parts that each have a special purpose if something needs doing, it knows who can get the job done. For example, if your office is running short on printing paper, who is responsible? Placing someone in charge of ordering all supplies and equipment solves the problem and keeps things running smoothly. You could get staff to email the person any requests for supplies, or even have a list posted up in a public place so others can write in and add whatever they need to the list.
What about computer security? Someone should be responsible for keeping track of things such as accounts, passwords, and software. Using cloud-based systems for office software, accounting applications and data storage is a fantastic solution for small businesses, but you still need to have someone you can trust that is assigned to perform admin work like deleting/adding users, assigning permissions, and so on.
6. Outsource and delegate
In an ideal world, everyone would be working in a role they were 100% experts at, according to their ability. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case sometimes. We get dragged down by menial work that hinders us on tasks that we are great at getting done. Outsourcing not only allows you to offset menial tasks but also allows your staff to focus on their assigned work with greater focus. Lacking in after-sales support? Invest in an offshore call center for their support.
7. Organize yourself and your space
Good office management dictates that you need to be sure everything in your office is arranged for optimal safety and efficiency. There is too much equipment stuffed into offices nowadays, from filing cabinets to printing stands. Ask your staff or tips or have a third party give you tips on how to meet the ventilation, power, and lighting needs of your office space.
Using a notepad to easily separate your tasks by day is also greatly helpful in organizing how to go about your work. Try to separate tasks, errands, appointments, and notes to keep everything comprehensible. Simple yet effective.
Get everything in flow and sync your office in time with its tasks for a well-tuned production machine.