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STAFF SOLUTIONS. How To Help Your Staff Get Organized

How To Help Your Staff Get Organized

Disorganization in the workplace can be caused by many factors, such as frequent interruptions and hidden time-stealers. By identifying and combating these chaos-causers, you and your staff can get more accomplished in less time. Here are five tactics to try yourself and recommend to your staff to increase their organization at work.

Avoid Frequent Visitors

Interruptions are one of the major causes of chaos in the workplace. If you and your staff experience frequent interruptions, which are eroding productivity and causing chaos, recommend that they establish a ?quiet period? which occurs the same time each day or week. This period is a time to focus on doing important work, taking no phone calls or visitors. It doesn't have to be a long time, perhaps only an hour or so, but everyone needs to make it clearly known when they are in the midst of their private work time so that others can plan accordingly. Suggest each person create a sign to hang on the desk or door that says, ?QUIET WORK PERIOD IN PROGRESS 11:00 TO 12:00? to alert visiting co-workers who may be apt to stop and chat.

Consolidate Communications

A follow-up to establishing the quiet period is to limit as much visiting and phone calls between staff as possible. If people are frequently going back and forth to each others? desks and calling each other with questions, there is a lot of walking and talking going on but perhaps not a lot of productive work. Encourage each person on your staff to consolidate trips by keeping a notebook or folder for each other co-worker that they frequently need to communicate with. Label each notebook with a person?s name and every time they have something to ask ell/consult with that person about, they make a note in their notebook. Then once or twice per day, they can make their rounds, visiting each person whose notebook has entries for that day. This system of consolidating communications serves four purposes:

1.It keeps people from running around the office all day losing productive time.

2.It lessens interruptions and forces people to seek their own answers instead of automatically defaulting to asking someone else.

3.It streamlines communications between co-workers.

4.It creates a written history of the communications within the office.

Set Time Boundaries On The Phone

Frequently, phone calls can be long and drawn out, wasting time and putting you behind schedule. To avoid the long-winded caller, set some time boundaries from the beginning of the call. If you are the one placing the call, start your conversation by saying, ?Hi Steve, do you have a minute to answer two questions?? This will let Steve know that you intend your call to be short and to the point.

Another time-saving phone tactic to use when someone calls you is to set the tone from the beginning by saying ?I was just on my way to a meeting, but I have one minute I can give you.? Again, this clearly indicates that you are available to the caller, but only for a very short time. When you end the call quickly, they will have been expecting it.

Create A Phone Log

Create a phone log where you record all your phone messages and telephone numbers for return calls. Having to search several places to find the scrap of paper where you wrote a message or phone number greatly increases the chances of losing the information completely. Keeping all the information in one place allows you to flip back and forth to see messages from days and weeks prior, as well as serving as a record of who you talked to when, and the subject matter discussed.

Consolidate Callback Times

It is easier to stay organized and focused when you are doing one thing, as opposed to jumping from task to task. Consolidating your telephone callbacks is a good way to knock out several phone calls quickly. Record a message on your outgoing voicemail which says you will return today?s phone calls ?between the hours of X and Y.? This simple tip allows you to use the phone as a tool for productivity rather than be a slave to it and lets people know when to expect to hear from you.

By implementing these five simple tactics in your workplace, both you and your staff will improve your communication, your organization and ultimately, your effectiveness.

About the Author
Monica Ricci has been an organizing specialist since 1999, and her motivational presentations teach effective organizing and simplifying techniques for home and work. She also offers free email tips and ideas on how to make life simpler and more organized. Her topics include clutter control, paper management, time management, organizing space and procrastination.Contact Monica at 770-569-2642 or

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