1) What does a well-organized workplace mean?
Many of us (probably the overwhelming majority) spend a great part of our lifetimes being at work, attending our workplaces, carrying out our duties, completing tasks, earning money for our families and welfare, pursuing goals of our professional careers, etc. Since it is so, our workplaces should be at least pleasant enough for staying there so much time. Of course, every workplace has its specific limitations in terms of acceptable comfort and adjustments, but there is always certain leeway that we are free to use at our own discretion. Workplace is a result of cooperative efforts applied both by employers and employee, combining their mutual interests.
Every employer wants to see his or her employees working diligently and productively, but not all of employers consider importance of proper workplace organization which might become a part of a good strategic approach that an employer can adopt for better business results. “Golden Rule” is not a secret (and it is very simple): the better people feel themselves at their workplaces, the less stressed they are – in a result the better they work. To arrange such an advantageous environment where workers feel comfortable it is necessary to make their workplaces suiting the following goals:
- Individual: it is about personal identity of every employee, being transferred to certain options of his or her individual workplace. Something there should say: “this is my workplace!” and it is completely ok, since all of us have a right for self-expression. It could be just a favorite mascot placed on the desk. In spite of this, some old-school managers feel quite prohibitive against their employees exposing talismans or other trinkets at their desks: “workplace should be organized, but they litter it with silly toys and other rubbish” they say, however, HR experts believe that a workplace shouldn’t be “extremely official”, especially for back-office workers, and employers shouldn’t prohibit employees to bring their individuality to the places where they work daily.
- Healthy: it is a liability of every employer to make sure that lighting, noise level, ergonomics, hygiene and many other workplace requirements have been met properly (adequately to enacted safety standards). It is obvious that having their employees strong and healthy is a wise policy for any modern, success-aimed company, hence a number of medium & large employers wishes to go much beyond these minimal workplace requirements: organizations additionally provide their employees with regular medical screenings, health coaching, fitness, wellness and weight control programs, and even with smoking withdrawal programs.
- Convenient: it is about workplace ergonomics first of all, and this closely refers to health of employees, as prolonged working in conditions of inconvenient workplace may cause health impairments. It is strongly unadvisable for employers to economize on acquiring convenient, adjustable and comfortable furniture or working tools which can minimize employee stress and prevent many “professional” sicknesses caused by prolonged working periods in uncomfortable harmful positions. Therefore, convenience at a workplace demands from employers providing their employees with adequate friendly environment where bodies and minds of workers would feel good enough, without any excessive stress.
- Optimized: a workplace should be arranged in a manner to maximally assist people in carrying out their tasks and functions. An optimized workplace is one that is free from cumbersome old units of furniture, any excessive items which cause troubles, and any obsolete tools that are still unreasonably utilized. It is a task for all employers to help their employees in optimizing their workplaces: rearranging them according to rational needs, improving inventory, and updating all intensively used instruments to be technologically fit.
- Organized: it is about clutter-free workplace. Employer needs to maintain proper discipline and self-organization at workplaces to prevent any inefficiency. In ideal a need for organization at a workplace shouldn’t be delegated from the management, but employees should become owners of order at their workplaces, so skills for organization will be natural, requiring no more control and supervision from outside (well-organized workplaces increase productivity and make work of employees much easier).
2) Actions to organize effective workplace and office space:
- In the premises where a group of people works, it is advisable to have the distance between the computers not less than 2 meters. Make sure that the distance to the monitor is at least 70 cm;
- Arrange the light fixtures in a manner making light evenly distributed over the whole working space. Avoid rays falling right into people’s eyes;
- Acquire only ergonomic components of the workplaces: furniture, computer items, etc;
- Make sure the furniture in premises is arranged in a convenient manner: the areas with the most intensive traffic and the most frequently used routs are free from obstacles, so your employees can get around easily and can move out from their desks quickly;
- Consider minimizing inventory at workplaces down to “hot” items only, let’s say: an ergonomic chair, a desk, individual lighting fixture if necessary, personal computer (and other devices), and some special containers for files and papers;
- Ask employees to sort out documents they have on their tables: all unnecessary filing should be carried to repository or stored in individual paper cabinets. This step will stimulate employees to get rid of clutter and reduce amount of dust in the air;
- Make sure that the employees have their computer items, such as monitors, keyboards and mice, adjusted and used in an ergonomic manner. Give them guidelines on organizing their seats to be convenient and safe (for example a monitor should be placed just in front of the eyes);
- Encourage your employees on reducing tiredness of their eyes, necks and backs by promoting a schedule tolerant to small, but regular breaks enabling the employee leaving their workplaces to have some walking, exercising or light sporting activities;
- Install a good air-conditioning system for proper ventilation of premises: people need fresh air to be productive. Control humidity level of the air to keep it healthy;
- Don’t use too dark paints or wallpapers in the interior of working premises, as well as don’t use too bright colors: if possible, employ a professional interior designer to decorate your working rooms in a manner that will stimulate people to work. Use living plants for decoration;
- Remove any items that may distract an employee’s attention from work. Identify all objects that might have a negative impact on health of people working nearby – consider what can be done to mitigate situation;
- If the daily duties of an employee include a big number of phone calls or prolonged business conversations by phone, then replace his or her standard telephone receiver (or mobile phone) with headsets or hands-free devices;
- Train employees on organizing their tools and items used in their working processes to be put at their specific suitable places, so they will be always within an easy reach;
- Identify a limit to which employees can modify or decorate their own workplaces: their efforts shouldn’t violate safety rules, harm company image, ethics, and their professional confidence;
3) A simple way to organize your virtual workplace in VIP Task Manager:
VIP Task Manageris a client-server product that stands for collaboration between people, so it enables its users to adjust their individual interfaces to be maximally convenient for productive co-operation with teammates. Let’s consider simple step-by-step instructions to adjust your interface settings using this product:
Instruments to be used:
- Study the default interface within the modes of Task List, Task Tree and Calendar, and decide what panels you don’t need to be visible (for example employees don’t need to have Permission panels at their screens);
- Hide and rearrange panels as suitable to your feeling of convenience;
- Check the working field: what columns (task attributes) you need for work?
- Call “Field Chooser” and pick up columns that you need for work;
- Hide columns that seem to be useless for your needs;
- Rearrange layout of columns as suitable (move and resize columns);
- Inspect toolbars and their icons (to operate with the tasks, their attributes, etc);
- Replace toolbars if necessary, remove excessive icons or add some missing ones;