A disorganised office environment or workspace can often hinder productivity and lead to increased time wastage, essentially draining businesses bottom line. The introduction of technology into the workplace was designed, among many other functions, to assist with this, by giving us a central platform for creating and storing documents. However, digital disorganisation can be just as detrimental for productivity.

Lyndy van den Barselaar, Managing Director at workforce solutions company Manpower South Africa explains says: “The number one expense in most businesses is labour, which translates into time. Time spent searching for misplaced items in a disorganised workspace or searching for lost files on a disorganised computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone is time wasted. More so, it can negatively affect the ability of those working within the space to be productive.”

With spring upon us, now is the ideal time for business owners and management to start implementing spring-cleaning and organising processes.

“For most businesses operating in the modern business environment, 99% of their work is carried out using digital tools. The nature of the tools and the resulting files will differ depending on the nature of the business in question,” explains Van den Barselaar.

To avoid disorganisation, she suggests that businesses should have a central platform where all documents and files can be saved and stored safely, as well as processes that should be followed in the storage of these files to ensure they are organised and easy to locate for future reference.

“With hundreds of emails being sent and received every day, and thousands of documents being created, digital disorganisation is extremely easy to succumb to. Before you know it, your desktop is full of icons, and you’ve lost track of which ones have been saved already, which ones need further work or which ones need to be moved to your junk folder.”

She provides the following tips for avoiding digital disorganisation, increase productivity and avoid time wastage:

  1. Schedule time to read your emails

“A constant inflow of emails can be extremely distracting, especially while you are engaged in a certain task. Schedule certain time throughout the day to read and respond to emails, and stick to this. This will allow you to use your time effectively and to concentrate fully on the task at hand,” she says.

  1. Set realistic goals and make lists

“Set daily and weekly goals, in order of importance for what needs to get done or what should be worked on each day. This will allow you to de-clutter your mind, your desk and your device, as you have a clear view of what you’ll be working on throughout the day.”

  1. Do one thing at a time

“In order for your projects to be of the best quality, it is important that you focus completely on the task at hand. This will not only ensure your work is of the best quality, but will also mean you need less time to finish a task.”

  1. Create folders

“In order to remain organised, create folders within your digital device where all your files and documents can be filed and saved. This will ensure that your desktop will remain tidy and organised.”

  1. Dedicate time to filing each day

“Dedicate a small amount of time each day, twice a day, to saving and filing your documents, emails and files into the correct folders. This will ensure you will not waste any time searching for lost or misplaced information.”

  1. Avoid social media in between tasks

“Social media can be very distracting, especially between tasks. If you must check your pages try to stick to using your personal social media accounts during your lunch break, for example. This will ensure your mind remains focused on your tasks at hand, and will assist in eliminating time wastage.

  1. Take short breaks to clear your mind

“Much like our desktops, our minds also become cluttered while trying to take in all the information we are presented with at our finger tips, through digital devices. A few times a day, get up from your desk and take a short break to clear your mind. Do some stretching, have a cup of tea or a glass of water, or even have a quick chat with a colleague. It is important not to become completely immersed in the digital environment.”

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