Tips for a successful office makeover
Kathleen Day, chief organization officer at LifeSmith University, loves working with business owners.
“They give their heart, soul and the majority of their time to their companies. Sometimes the environment and the schedule get the short end of the stick. My intention with an office makeover is to create an immediate difference in those two areas, in a way that the clients can embrace, and most importantly, maintain,” says Day.
The biggest challenges for the entrepreneur and the employed professional are the following:
- Office environment/systems (including managing paper)
- Catching up with projects and commitments
- Learning how to follow through/better habits
This list of challenges is completely tied together. When the office, desk or storage is “out of control,” it makes keeping up or catching up with projects really hard to do. Almost everything is a visual distraction or worse, a rabbit hole that takes you away from what’s most important and turns priorities and your schedule into an etch-a-sketch proposition at best.
The hot spots
The “hot spots” that get people into trouble are not having a consistent, meaningful answer to the question, “where should this go?” as in, being afraid to file things because you fear you will never find it. “I’ll just put it ‘here’ for now” is usually a desktop or other handy surface, drawer, cabinet or bag. Day calls this the Haystack Method. The paper and “stuff” pile up, and then it’s like an archeological dig to find things.
Most of the time the result of this scenario is not having an answer to another key question, “where do I start?” That leads to a lot of wheel spinning and a tendency to create another system and not necessarily a better one.
It’s hard to find the time to hit the pause button, think outside the box for appropriate solutions, organize it all and, at the least, create a rapid prototype set of systems that you are dedicated to testing out and fine tuning. The process can seem disruptive to an already hectic schedule.
Day thinks it’s a really smart investment in productivity to collaborate with a professional about what your systems should be. It’s hard to be objective AND thorough when left to your own devices.
I worked with Kathleen Day after winning a silent auction bid at the Safe Homes Gala fundraiser event in October. We worked for six hours in my office purging, shredding and developing systems.
- Basic steps for an office makeover
- If you are going to “go it alone,” here are the basic steps Day uses with private clients to conduct the office makeover:
- Step back and evaluate the big picture: Infrastructure — do you have the right furniture and equipment?
- What are the main recurring problems/issues? What regular steps would eliminate them?
- Purging your storage is a good place to start.
- Keep like items together.
- Take the time to develop systematic protocols to effectively handle paper, digital documents, processes that forward your business.
Personally, it’s taking a lot for me to shake that “Haystack Method,” but I’m working on it. Kathleen Day (645-7713) is based out of Orange County and works with people in the NY Metro area, including New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Connecticut.