When it comes to spring cleaning, most people spend a lot of time cleaning up and organising their homes – but if you’re a business owner or manager, getting employees engaged in keeping the office organised is not always easy, but spring cleaning the workspace and systems can have several benefits.

Create engagement and get everyone involved, you could make it a team or company initiative.  There’s no hard and fast rules for cutting distractions, and including people could increase motivation and productivity too!

In fact, Cascade HR reported in November 2018 that employee engagement ranked the highest of the list in their poll, with 40% of the 423 respondents believing it would be their biggest challenge over the next 12 month period.  Having a spring clean and review could work towards addressing this challenge.

Here are some of our thoughts this month for organising and fresh-beginnings, we will definitely be in need of some of these too…

Systems & Processes

Why not look at your current processes and see if they are in need of some dusting down?   Maybe time, money or staff resources could be saved or improved for your business.

Are the systems/processes:

Relevant to the work being completed?  The way work is carried out can change as time goes by, with use of technology, different communication methods and actions to take.

Being duplicated?  Sometimes we don’t even realise that a task is being carried out unnecessarily (how often do we hear “it’s always been done this way”?)  Get workers talking to each other about their work in a discovery session or do a review of documents, workflow or observations perhaps.

Being done in the most efficient way?  Processing of paperwork can be a time-drainer and communicating by emails.  Software like instant chat applications could help save time lost through emailing internally by offering group chat features, quick file sharing, and the ability for staff to know when others are active.

Being followed correctly by staff?  Training might be needed on the equipment, systems or work processes.  Having an internal manual with procedures can help with this, and save HEAPS of time!  Giving staff clear access to the procedures and getting them involved in the updating process gives a sense of being engaged with the company too.

Workload

Having your “eggs all in one basket” might be putting pressure on the team.  Is there work that could be delegated to a temporary member of staff?  If there’s a large project on, this can be a perfect time to hunt for some support! 

Talk to the team to make sure that the work is being spread equally, and that some team members aren’t sacrificing their own time to make up for others who put in less effort.  Remember the office “workhorse” could be overloaded, which may end up in resentment.

Practical tips written by Rebecca Knight in the Harvard Business Review surrounding delegation are as follows:

Do

  • Devote time in your schedule for thinking through your strategy for delegating.
  • Make a list of all the work that needs to get done and then assign tasks according to your team members’ specific function, position, and strengths.
  • Create a culture that values productivity over hours worked by openly praising strong performance.

Don’t

  • Be overly rigid about your workload delegation strategy; when projects crop up and priorities shift, you need to be flexible.
  • Burn out your top performer. Before you lean on her more, identify the projects that can go on the backburner.
  • Beat around the bush with an employee who’s not pulling his weight. Be direct about your expectations.”

Do you need to hire a new member of staff to spread the increasing workload evenly?

Environment

Having a pleasant working environment can be something put far down on the to-do list!  Why not take a little time this spring and see if the office needs a new lease of life? 

Paperwork and files can be a drag on creativity, productivity, energy levels and produce general “clutter anxiety” .  Maybe break-down the work into 20 minutes every day to FINALLY clear those piles of paper.  Remember to consider GDPR, for example shredding confidential data. 

You could hire a temp to help with the task and watch the paper disappear quicker than you can say “April showers”.

Take the time to organise desks; if staff can’t efficiently find what they’re looking for, it might be time to change the system.  Plus, everyone works differently, so the desk environment will affect productivity – so make it individual to the owner!  In fact, some people will work better in a more hectic environment.

Computers attract a lot of clutter and we’re all guilty of quickly saving items and just as quickly forgetting they’re there.   Deleting unwanted files and downloads and tidying up files into relevant folders can help improve concentration.

Plants can be a relatively easy way to brighten the office and add some oxygen to invigorate the team.  The University of Exeter reported that according to studies, introducing plants into the workspace helped immensely with employee performance.  Overall productivity  was increased by 15% plus memory retention and other basic tests improved – that’s a massive result for a relatively simple and cost-effective change!

Overall it’s a great time of year to spring clean the office and clear out the old.  This can really push motivation as we head into quarter two, and involve team members in the process which will hopefully improve engagement.

Happy workers are more productive and creates a better atmosphere around the office too, which can only be a good thing for morale.

Are you getting the best from your team?  What ways do you make your working environment comfortable and productive?

We can help with staffing requirements, including permanent and temporary members for your growing team.  Get in touch with us on 662165 or email anne@abilityplus.co.im to discuss your spring clean!

Ability Plus ‐ April 23, 2019