Optimizing the workspace in your office can help employee productivity by encouraging collaboration, freeing them from distractions, and providing easy access to necessary tools.
We first encountered the idea of optimizing a workspace in the earliest days of our Managed Print Services operations -- visits to dozens of Oklahoma City businesses showed us the importance of considering your workflow when you lay out the office. When we analyze workflow for our customers, printer/copier placement is high on the list of considerations. Having a central printing station that everyone can access made our customers more efficient. No more emailing documents to the one or two employees who had access to a printer. Now, it’s common for printers to be on the network, and everyone computer has access to them. The physical location of the printer is just as important. Do some departments have to walk across the building to pick up papers they’ve printed? With cost-per-print services, it can be just as economical to place two printers in-house – the improved productivity can offset any slight cost increase.
This kind of thinking benefitted our customers in other areas as well. Were their main supply cabinets in easy reach of the people who needed them, or were there employees who needed supplies that weren’t readily available? It can be helpful to think of each department or employee as a station in an assembly line – each station must be equipped and supplied for maximum efficiency. Think about the workflow involved in getting your product or service out the door. Optimizing your space means every step of that workflow has ready access to the tools it needs to operate at top performance.
That’s the macro view of optimizing a workspace. For employees, the micro view is equally important. Companies should encourage, if not mandate, employees to keep their desks free of clutter. This has been shown to improve productivity and eliminate distraction. In order for employees to stay organized, you should implement policies that make maintenance easy. Are the filing cabinets close by, or are they so far away that it’s inconvenient to walk back and forth replacing files? Do employees have useable storage options at their desks for everyday items?
Encourage employees to purge unnecessary items regularly. Some companies even schedule monthly “clean-out” days – a dedicated time to eliminating. It can be tempting to let clutter slowly take over. We often find ourselves rearranging the “stuff” instead of getting it off our desks, out of view, and out of our minds.
Optimizing your space will look a little different for every company, but the goal remains the same – eliminate distractions and maximize efficiency.