It is a well-known fact that happy employees are more productive than unhappy employees. A satisfied employee is also one that is more loyal to the employer. By working together, both can reach this status and reap its benefits.
OBSERVE AND ORGANIZE
A cluttered desk results in a cluttered mind. One way to declutter is to stand in the doorway and take a look at how the workspace looks.
- Are there file folders stacked on top of each other in every spare space?
- Are the file folders overflowing with paper?
- Are there pens, pencils and other office implements scattered about the desk, possibly buried under mounting papers?
- Is it difficult for you to find a free spot on the desk to move your computer mouse?
- Are there cables, cords, and wires tangled around the computer and the floor?
- Is there a coffee cup with last week’s remnants still waiting for you to hop over to the office kitchen or break room?
If the answer is yes to one or all of those questions, it’s time to get busy organizing.
The TRAF rule:
Toss – Toss any material that is no longer needed or out of date. If documents need shredding, grab an empty copy paper box and toss items in it. Delete old emails and/or email folders no longer needed.
Refer – Documents that should be referred to someone else can be easily labeled using post-it notes. Email notes can be sent to the person who needs to take action on them.
Act – Is the document actionable? Does it need an approval? Does it need a decision to be made now or later? Flag paper documents with post-it notes and digital files with the email program’s organizing labels.
File – Documents and file folders, both physical and digital, should be moved to file cabinets and corporate servers for others to find when needed.
Take 10 minutes before diving in the day’s tasks to write down priorities, and sort through incoming email. Use the email program’s organization icons to flag which are most important and which can be delayed. Take 10 minutes at the end of the day to move tasks from today to tomorrow or later in the week. Use a notebook, if that helps.
Human beings are like elephants. They are social, family-bonding living creatures that need and thrive on inter-connectivity. Humans embrace each other, they embrace each other’s success and mourn a loss. When joined together to work to accomplish a goal, elephants can lift the heaviest of items. Humans, when joined together, can achieve common goals. Good health, both physical and mental, is needed by both species to accomplish life’s daily challenges.
Stress is a known health-buster and negativity inducer. Human beings are not built to work long, stress-filled days sitting in chairs of air conditioned offices with bad lighting. Hold a staff meeting and encourage people to get up, stretch, close their eyes for a few minutes, or go outside and walk around. Offer a monetary reward for people to quit smoking.
Insist staff take a lunch break and leave at the end of the work day. No more eating lunch at the desk. Employ a “use it or lose it” PTO policy. Provide healthier snacks in vending machines and host a company picnic or sports outing.
Even one work-from-home day can make all the difference in keeping employees happy and well-balanced. The freedom to get work done from home, in a less hectic space, might just mean that more work will be done and productivity will increase.
People are not so stuck on a strict work schedule. Smartphones, instant chats and connecting to company servers are three means of staying connected when working from home.
But, keep in mind that not everyone is a good work-from-home candidate. It takes diligence to focus on the work at hand and not on the dog chewing someone’s shoes, the TV tuned to a talk show or the latest flame war on Facebook. However, it is honestly the single most appreciated action employer can take to keep employees happy, focused and loyal.
Along this train of thought is also understanding the need to make your work space look and feel like home. Having pictures of loved ones around when away is among the first things that come to mind. Order customized calendars with pictures and motifs of people and things you love. Keep a vase for your favorite flowers or use air fresheners that have a similar effect. While open flames are not allowed in standard offices, nothing can stop you from enjoying their glow and scent in your home office. Be careful, however, because we tend to forget about the world around us when focused on work and the open flame around the paper, hair and fabric can accidentally start a fire.
RESPECT, TRUST, SHARE
Trust stems from respect and respect is a two-way street. One of the easiest ways to gain it is to give it. Respect someone’s work. Acknowledge their contributions. Appreciate their position within the company. These statements work for both employees and employers. If two people respect each other, the trust will start and grow and strengthen.
Share important milestones with each other. Cheer the successes and work smarter to resolve challenges. Share company news with everyone. Invite someone from a different department to sit in on meetings to gain a new perspective.
HEY, WE DID IT
The organized, happy, flexible workplace is not an illusion or a fairy tale. It takes diligence to accomplish it from every aspect of the business. Clear the clutter from physical and digital space. Take every break and every step to gain better health. Flexibility gives both employer and employee the freedom to get the job done well. Above all, respect and trust each other. The equation for success takes work.
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