What’s the fastest way to improve your business productivity?

Many organizations have their hands full setting basic priorities, getting things done on time and on budget, keeping everyone safe, and staying focused on the job.
There’s so much “noise” in today’s business world it’s hard to know who’s on first – with online orders, just-in-time deliveries, marketing keywords, employee accidents, customer or anonymous complaints, lawsuits, and new regulations for compliance.
In all this noise and haste, one day of spring-cleaning is great risk management.
Is it really worth it?
The simple benefits include:
  • Employee safety that comes from removing tripping and fire hazards, for example
  • Productivity improvements from getting rid of piles of old documents and obsolete forms to focus on real priorities
  • Speed and quality of customer service, project management, and order processing
Then, there are the more subtle benefits of removing red tape: streamlining core processes and deleting ancient documents, data and tax records that can only cause headaches, and extra costs in a legal discovery.
What’s Affective action? What can you clean?
  • Start with piles around the office. Clean up all work spaces and create specific places for stuff that accumulates – like, new project ideas, filing, shredding, rags, pallets, old marketing material, etc.
  • Look at archived documents. How much are you paying for storage? What better use could that space have in your workplace? Do all stored boxes have destruction dates?
  • A document retention policy (it’s really about destruction) will be your legal answer to outside questioning about what was destroyed, when, and by whom. (See Tip 111, Got Docs?)
  • Consult your legal and tax advisors in setting destruction dates.
  • Look into computer documents and email – not just paper. Review all drives and devices, and all archived files, disks, tapes, and hard drives.
  • Employees always set up their own personal storage spots. Turn over all rocks! E-discovery work by attorneys can be extremely expensive if you have mounds of old, archaic data and files.
  • Again, a document retention policy is your first step.
  • Ensure that destruction is secure and complete – especially with old hard drives and new fancy photocopiers, where simple deletion often does not remove everything.
  • Check all vehicles for obsolete tools and equipment, trash and lost or forgotten clothing, personal protective gear, and expired documents. Driver safety can be at stake with these distractions. Communicate a clean vehicle policy for all, and set the example!
  • Finally, look at your emergency supplies and first aid cabinets. Get rid of obsolete items; refresh all supplies, and set a schedule for future reviews. Lots of suppliers offer refill kits to make it easy.
Schedule a Spring Cleaning Day to get rid of spider webs and dust bunnies. Then you and staff are not “haunted” by what’s lurking in piles and old dicey emails.
And perhaps you may find that contact file you’ve wanted to follow up with, or even a $20 bill!