Editorial: A smooth operation
Is your office routine working for you?
By Colleen Cross
Heading into fall seems a good time to get our offices in order.
I had a chance to purge twice this spring – once when I moved desks and again when our company repainted. I tossed old paper files that hadn’t been looked at in three years, I changed my desk setup so it makes more sense and helps me get things done.
I did a quick re-organization of my filing cabinet – with the tabs in the right positions – and so far I’m keeping up the simple system. It’s helping me find things, make better use of that space and save time that is better spent talking to water-well drillers.
I made decisions about various mysterious piles of papers. Making decisions, I find, is an acquired skill in itself that can improve every aspect of your work and life.
It felt good knowing I had taken control of my workspace. And I now feel more confident that it makes a good impression on co-workers, managers, visitors to the company.
If this sounds smug, I must tell you I’m no Marie Kondo, I don’t enjoy organizing and cleaning, my handwriting looks like hieroglyphics when in a rush and I have found things behind my filing cabinets that, quite frankly, are best left to the imagination. I tell you all this to make the point that every person – and every industry – has a unique way of working. Everyone can make changes to their routine that make them more productive and help the bottom line.
If what you’re doing is working for you, more power to you.
Just be sure it truly is working. Some signs that it may not be:
- Customers call to update details on a job and you can’t find the file.
- The glue is coming off your army of sticky notes with phone numbers and they are threatening to float away.
- You find yourself or your team having to re-do tasks.
- You’re often scrambling and not getting to parts of your job that make you money – the things you need to be working on to grow your business.
Worse than the signs you recognize are those you don’t. Because you may deal with a customer only once, return customers may not seem a problem: either they call you with questions or hire you to deal with well issues down the line. But you can’t take them for granted because they are connected to new customers.
What if past customers aren’t recommending you to others? What about the new customers you don’t get because you forget to phone them back or their first visit leaves a bad impression?
Our goal this issue is to help you towards a smoother operation. Writer Lynn Fraser talked to drilling companies about best practices in their office and reveals in “An organized office” that it’s about much more than paperwork. As Kim Friesen of Friesen Drillers puts it, “Success is not an individual component of a company, but a team effort from our frontline receptionist to scheduling to bookkeeping and every aspect in between that has made us successful.”
Hiring and customer service are two important cogs in the wheel. “The gift of feedback” provides tips on dealing with staff performance issues. “Proactive customer service” offers ideas on how to get to customers before they need you by anticipating their needs.
For further reading, try Business Development Bank of Canada’s Entrepreneur’s toolkit, found at www.bdc.ca, a good resource to help you get your office in order.