Line-ups at the printer – organizing your office/workplace


Is your company or department losing time to frivolous and, avoidable hold-ups? Much is made of downtime due to system failures, strikes, illness etc., but what about some things you may not have thought about? Here are some basic ideas for increasing the flow of your physical workplace. An organized space is a space where people can thrive.

Line-ups as staff members wait for their print jobs to come out, people taking papers that weren’t theirs or, god forbid, shredding the document you’ve been looking for before you find it. The cost of that wasted paper PALES in comparison with the cost of the employees’ time while they look for their print jobs. Consider investing in the latest technologies as a matter of routine. Newer office hub printers have “Dropbox” solutions for individual users. NFC (near field communication) technology can enable immediate login and instant print functions. The value of avoiding employee frustration is also important.

The kitchen is one of the few areas in the office environment where all employees/staff members are, for a brief moment, equal. No manager gets their coffee quicker than the worker bee, and it’s first come, first served on the microwaves. A messy/disorganized kitchen or cafeteria area creates chaos and frustration when it comes to break time, especially if the work is shift based and breaks mean the area is crowded. 54% of Americans drink coffee every single day, and those who do average 3 cups a day. That’s over 300 million cups daily. If you’re a coffee drinker, you know that waiting for that cup of Joe isn’t one that can be avoided – there’s a line up at the coffee maker? Well, John Doe sits and waits. The result is hundreds of thousands of lost hours of productivity every day. Offices in the UK routinely have a “tea boy” – a lower level employee or intern whose job it is to get the drinks made to make the place tick.

Employee parking is a great perk, but after a stressful commute, no one wants to line up to park their car, or search for a spot for too long. Consider organizing your parking lot into designated spots for employees, if you haven’t already. Also, consider not being elitist about it, managers getting the best spots can have a reverse effect on BOTH sides – imposter syndrome can creep up on the managers, while the entry-level employees are already upset about it. Rotate your parking privileges. Being communistic about fringe benefits adds more synergistic value than you can imagine. 

This one largely depends on the caliber of employee base, in terms of their abilities to self-manage, but there’s an argument to suggest that the default approach should include trust and reliance on their abilities. With a non-regimented break schedule, employees feel like they’re being treated more like adults and, for the most part, will show themselves to be as such. By allowing, and erring on the side of, multiple smaller break periods (so, five minutes for a smoke/coffee here and there, rather than 15 minutes every 3 hours), managers often discover that employees spend MORE time “on shift” than off, often after a quick period of adjustment, where a change to regimen has been made. 

It’s hard to imagine a business operating in a Tertiary Industry these days not just without email, but that doesn’t almost WHOLLY rely on email as one of two primary communication channels. The average American sends or receives 120 emails per day, in 2014 – office based workers average more like 200. Either way you look at it, that’s between 30,000 and 50,000 emails sent or received, per employee, per year. (based on 250 working days). Consider educating your staff on email search syntax (if they use outlook). I dread to think the amount of time wasted to idly scrolling through emails looking for something “I know I received [it] last week…. Um… Bob, I think it was from…”.

These are just a few. If you have any small picture ideas for organizing your office/workplace chi, let us know in the comments below.

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