Q+A on staying organized in the workplace
Organization is the key to getting work done. A maintained work space creates a better environment for accomplishing day-to-day tasks. One survey revealed that 90% of Americans believe that clutter has a negative impact on their lives and work, and 77% believe that it actually hinders their efficiency.
Sandy, our meticulous finance manager offers up some great advice on keeping a tidy and productive work area.
Q: Why, even in today's digital world, is having an organization system for paper files important?
A: The key to keeping organized is to have enough categories/files but not too many that you can't find what you are looking for because it is too broken down.
Q: What types of files should people aim to digitize vs. keeping hard copies?
A: I know that I'm old school on this but I like to keep hard copies of important information such as what is needed by the IRS to verify employment eligibility, quarterly payroll reports and company tax returns. I feel it's safer to have these kind of files locked away vs. on a password protected computer. I also make copies of all checks received and attach to the actual bank deposit slip. Things that I have digitized are what I can access from another source so that I always have a back-up place to access my information. Some examples include payroll tax payments, credit card payments, online bill payments, etc.
Q: A person's desk can easily become a dumping ground, how do you keep yours organized and mess-free?
A: What works for me is having an "inbox" in the corner that all new things which I haven't reviewed yet (mail, purchase orders, shipping information and receipts) go into. I have an area on another corner of my desk that holds all the job jacket folders that contain everything pertaining to that job. An area to the side of my laptop is "active work". This system helps to keep me organized and prevents me from overlooking anything.
Q: What about digital files - any tips for organizing an email inbox?
A: I stick to the basics, using the tools in Outlook to organize my emails. My inbox is color coded for easy reference. My categories include: accounting, clients, production department, account managers, vendors and miscellaneous. The emails stay in my inbox until they have been dealt with. Once complete I move to the appropriate folders or subfolders.