One Duty Startups Can’t Afford to Ignore

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It’s Monday, and you’re on your way to own the day at work. As you open the door to your office building, you’re greeted with the overwhelming smell of last Friday’s sushi celebration dinner. Whoops, someone forgot to throw away the trash. Next, you stumble onto a pile of packages that you’re not too sure where they belong. Sounds like a little office housekeeping is in order.

Office management is something many up-and-coming businesses tend to overlook, because it doesn’t seem to directly impact the operations of the business. Except, it does.

Studies show that employees can spend upwards of one week a year looking for misplaced items. Even further, the same study found that the costs associated for full-time employees looking for misplaced items in the office tops 89 billion annually. Need a little organization makeover in your office? Here are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to managing office duties:

Office cleanliness

Open office floor plans create transparency—cleanliness habits included. If the office is left in a state of disarray, the smell of a messy office won’t be the only thing you have to worry about. According to a recent survey conducted by OfficeMax, 90 percent of respondents believe that clutter has a negative impact on their lives. That same survey found that 77 percent said that clutter damages their productivity. And let’s not forget the external perception from clients. If 40 percent of coworkers judge their colleagues on their messiness, how do you think potential clients will respond? Fortunately, office cleanliness does not have to rule your world.

Tip: Create a cleaning chore wheel that your team can follow to stay on top of office cleanliness. 

Mail logistic

Sending and receiving packages is part of running a business. Not having a designated person or plan of action for packages, however, can cause chaos. Many organizations have a designated office manager, but if you’re a lean startup on a mission, this function can be overlooked. Of course, you don’t want to worry if you’ve shipped out those patent documents or if a very important package is buried under a stack of folders, so a little organization goes a long way in this department.

Tip: Implement a shipping and receiving schedule to manage the flow of incoming and outgoing packages.

Office supplies

An office cannot run without office supplies, which are often taken for granted—until you run out of pens, batteries, or chairs. Your team can only work with what they’re given, so staying on top of office supplies is a must. Helping employees feel prepared for their job is a signal that you value them and their time.

Tip: Make a monthly supply trip (or online order) to stave off “pen famine.” Have your team leads take survey of what their teams needs to compile a list of items. This lowers your time spent on administrative tasks while ensuring that your people have everything they need.

Setting your people up for success

In order for people to do their jobs well, they must have access to the right tools and a healthy environment. Keep a cleaning chore calendar so that old sushi is never an issue. Stay on top of your mail, and be sure to keep a healthy amount of office supplies. While office management is sometimes treated as an afterthought, a well-run office alleviates stress for everyone and helps the business function.

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