Productivity at work is a popular topic and we are continuously striving to do more in a shorter amount of time.
Working from home is really efficient – have you heard it before? Telecommuting is another trend as many have cumbersome travels to the office, however being in a service industry we have to be available to our clients.
Being in the services industry, we like many others, are under pressure to deliver more at faster turnaround times for less money…
Can this be done? Yes and no. Technology helps, structure helps, document control and office etiquette.
Office etiquette can be misunderstood as dress code etc. How you dress is certainly part of it, but how you go about your business makes a huge difference to your client, co-workers and your bottom line.
We have had reason to think about and experiment with how we work together over the years and would like to share some of our findings with you.
- QUIET HOURS - Instead of working from home with small laptops and partial access to files we have two quiet hours per day. During this time we only receive emergency phone calls and we refrain from making outgoing calls so we don’t disturb each other. After 20 years, we still have been spared emergencies that require immediate action.
- TIDYNESS - Have a clean desk and file policy. If someone is sick and a colleague needs to jump in, it should be clear what actions are needed. This should be possible without adding an enormous amount of time to sift through an unsorted mailbox and small notes of papers all over the place. Everyone’s files should be easily transferred to someone else without missing too much of a beat in the process.
- NOTE TAKING - This may sound silly, but we have all received the messages such as “I think his name was Frank… something, and he didn’t leave a number. But he wanted you to call him as soon as you got off the phone because it is urgent and it sounded like you know him… “. A phone message should be clear, concise and have the relevant information for a call back. While quizzes are fun on your free time, it’s best left there. It is very easy to get the complete information when on the phone while having a wild goose chase can take quite a bit of time.
- GETTO – short for “Get to work” and limit socializing to lunch and set times of day. It’s good to build team spirit, many staff members though have squeezed schedules and to meet their targets they need to utilize their work hours while some may be able to stay on at night and finish off their work.
- SORTING - Have a clean in and outbox policy. Make sure that everyone files away and store emails in appropriately named folders. Sifting through hundreds of emails is time consuming AND boring. The inbox and outbox are equally important.
- JOINT DOCUMENTS - Documents belong on a joint server, Sharepoint, DropBox, google docs or whatever… but don’t put it on the desktops. That makes it cumbersome for a summer temp or stand in.
- MASTER DOCUMENTATION LIST - Create and have a stringent policy on how and where to save it and you will save eons of time. Folders should have understandable names and don’t create too many of them. Most companies have plenty of content and resources, if people could only find it. That way you can streamline operations and each person doesn’t have to reinvent the wheel. Documents are resources. Use them more than once.
- INTERNAL SPAM - Have an anti- spam policy. Discourage staffers to send out chain letters, jokes, funny stories its best left to share at FaceBook and other media with friends. You want to trust that the email is professional only.
- PLAN - Schedule calls – don’t call back and forth is a good way to have a well thought out call with an agenda rather than ad hoc calls without preplanning.
- DEADLINES – meet them. Someone else is waiting to do their piece and can’t move forward until you have completed your portion.
- DOCUMENT and TRACK - Have a tracking tool where all the info is stored for the next week, year or generation.
- RELEVANT DATA - Keep the tracker relevant, a status update is just that not an essay.
- MEETINGS should have a purpose, an agenda and a cap on time.
AND not least – Do it Right The First Time! That is how you move forward and how your clients get the real benefit from engaging you. As has been pointed out by Harvard School of Business many times – the difference between a successful company and others is keeping track of things. Not wasting time searching for things as it kills your bottom line.
We want to be a successful company so we can add to our client’s lives – we are happy to share more of our practices in webinars. Are you interested since here so we can invite you to the next office management webinar.
Contact us at Info@newcomers.se, put Productivity in the headline and we will send you an invite for a 15-20 minute webinar that will also be made available on demand.