Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Organize Your Office and Improve Productivity

Are you frustrated with your office space? Do you hunt for a pen every time you put one down? Is the search for documents a half-day event? Is your paper filed chronologically - working your way down the pile to 'one week ago' and unable to pull out 'four months ago' for fear of a paper flood catastrophe?

Every office deals with an excess of paper and whether large or small, your business is suffering when you aren't operating in an organized space.

So, how do you clear the clutter and gain control?

SPACE IS ESSENTIAL

The biggest problem with staying organized in an office is that people set up a system and don't give themselves enough room to grow.

If you have spent the better part of a day cleaning out a drawer and replacing the items in organized, labeled files, but you can't squeeze a single extra sheet of paper you've wasted your time and the unfiled papers will grow again.

Be certain to have at least a quarter to a third (more if possible) of growing room when implementing a system. You may need to change over at some point, but having some extra space will encourage you to keep up with the organizing.

This also goes for items such as architectural drawings or other products or documents you may accumulate.

Set aside time to purge unnecessary documents. Not only will this provide more space but will save you time that would otherwise be wasted looking through worthless paperwork.

SIMPLE FILING SYSTEM


Do not make your system too complicated or it will be hard to follow through. Color coding can be the easiest if you do not have too many categories. This is effective for systems which only require 'Income', 'Expense', 'Projects', 'Correspondence' or something similar.

For filing of large groups of clients, projects or invoices, use a single drawer for each group of related files. A tall filing cabinet can even be divided into alphabetical or chronological systems.
For items you refer to daily or even hourly you might consider a posting board near your desk. This is a great idea for phone number lists, 'To Do' lists and appointment calendars.


MAINTENANCE

A filing system is only as good as the upkeep. You may find it easier to have a small system of files located on or near your desk and daily or weekly transfer the items into their permanent home.

This also works for items which you need close at hand such as current project information or price lists etc.

STYLE OF FILING

Consider if you can realistically maintain a filing system. Perhaps labeled boxes would suit you better (especially if you tend to pile papers). The key is to find something you will feel comfortable maintaining. If papers are sorted and occasionally purged, your system will work.

EVERYTHING NEEDS A HOME

Everything MUST be assigned a home. By giving each item a place you will not loose pens, cellphones, glasses and so on. Don't crowd the items or you will get frustrated. Recognize that all of your efforts will help you run your business more efficiently, and thus productively. Reward yourself for keeping the system working!

Online Post Office Helps Small Businesses

When the internet came into popular usage many predicted that postal service would become under used as people relied less on paper documents and more on email.

What really happened is that businesses popped up all over the internet (Amazon, Toys'r'us) selling online - thereby increasing the load for home and business delivery. While couriers like UPS initially took over this area the United States Postal Service realized what small businesses would be looking for: convenience, cost efficiency and service.

Keeping up with marketing and mailing needs can easily swamp a home business. Stuffing envelopes, delivering packages and getting stamps and materials eat into time and profits.

Since UPS gobbled up the majority of residential delivery's in the first 'Online Shopping' Christmas season in 1999, USPS has been fighting fire with fire by providing online solutions for individuals and business owners alike.

What services are now available to help businesses like yours?

Ordering Postage and Packaging Supplies

Are you ready to send out the monthly invoices or have a rush shipment but no box to pack it in? Not only can you now order these items online so you never run out, but the packing supplies are FREE! Hard to beat that value.

Order your stamps and boxes ahead of time and you won't be rushing at the last minute to find what you need - or waste valuable time standing in line at the post office.
You can also check out services like stamps.com which allows you to print the postage (think: no stamps). Anything to make business faster and more efficient.


Arranging Pick Up

The competition with FedEx and UPS has instigated a positive change in the postal service's customer service. Just like the couriers USPS will pick up your mail instead of making you stand in another line up. You can even make the arrangement through their website.
Marketing Solutions


Postal services have upped the anti with the creation of mailing services for gift cards, business post cards, periodicals or even letters and flyers.

Business owners know how important it is to stay in contact with their clients, but who has the time to stay on top of the mailings? If you register to create and mail them from your computer there is no excuse. USPS will send one or one thousand - whatever you need, whenever you need it.

The internet has helped small businesses in numerous ways. Now you can get all of your mailing services with the touch of a button. Whether you need to create a mass mailing, get packing materials or pay for stamps you can get it done online - saving business owners time, money and stress.