A cluttered desk or computer can be problematic for employees on a number of levels. A messy workspace may cause distraction and time wasted as employees search for that important piece of paper or Word document. It could send the message to colleagues and others that you’re inefficient and counter-productive. A desk should reflect a place where you’re well organized and performing at your professional best.
In an effort to demonstrate how wasted time can amount to wasted dollars, Brother International Corporation released a recent survey, “P-touch Means Business,” revealing that an estimated 76 working hours per person each year are lost as a result of disorganization in the workplace. For example, employees lose time searching for items around their desks and offices or have misplaced files and documents on their computers.
By calculating the average hourly wage of part-time and full-time office employees and the overall number of "office professionals" documented by the U.S. Census, Brother determined that over $177 billion is wasted annually looking for misplaced items in the office and on the computer, which may drastically impact the bottom-line for large companies and small businesses alike.
Other key findings from Brother’s survey include:
- Disorganization is a key reason for lost time at work with 66% of office workers who responded to the “P-touch means business” survey indicating they spent up to 30 minutes of time during a typical work week looking for things they have misplaced at their desk or around their office.
- 46% of office workers have lost one of the following items in the past year (file folder, mobile phone, calculator, flash or memory drive, a briefcase, suitcase, or luggage, lap top computer, or a PDA).
- Close to four in 10 (37%) of office workers have gone into a work meeting feeling unprepared.
- 87% of office workers say when their workspace is disorganized they feel they are less productive than when their workspace is organized
"As we have seen now more than ever, small businesses are trying to find unique ways of saving money and time, while becoming more efficient," said Bill Henderson, Vice President, Marketing, Brother International Corporation. "These results are staggering and suggest that companies need to take workplace organization very seriously and implement the right tools and practices to improve efficiency and drive cost-savings."
To combat workplace disorganization, Brother suggests small business workers follow these tips:
- Give your office drawers a makeover: Help eliminate clutter in your desk drawers by going through one drawer at a time and throw away (or give away) items you haven’t used in the past year. Replace the useful items back in your drawer, but make sure you organize these items logically. For example, place items you use frequently within reach and items you use less often can be less accessible.
- Label IT!: Labeling the seemingly endless items in your office will help you to find exactly what you are looking for when you are looking for it. There are a number of labeling systems on the market. For example, Brother offers a variety of professional P-touch labelers to aid in office organization, including the PT-1880. This is a easy-to-use desktop labeler designed for use in any busy office. The PT-1880 has an estimated street price of $49.99*.
- Make the most of your technology: Have your computer inspected to make sure it’s functioning properly. If it’s sluggish or has a habit of crashing contact IT support. Having enough storage space is also critical to saving important documents so make sure you have plenty of space on your drives.
- File away: Depending on how much money you want to invest and how much space you can spare, there is a variety of file cabinet options to help you stay organized. For example, if you need to maximize space, try a lateral file cabinet that takes up less depth and provides a top for a secondary workspace. If you need to archive old files for storage try cardboard file boxes that have lids that are perfect for long-term storage needs.
*Estimated street prices may vary
About the “P-touch Means Business” Survey:
The “P-touch Means Business” survey was conducted online by GfK Roper Public Affairs & Corporate Communications (www.gfk.com) among approximately 800 part-time or full-time U.S. employees, between April 9 and April 18, 2010. The respondents spend either a great deal or a fair amount of time in an office setting and work (25+ hrs a week), and their average income is $68,638. Interviews were conducted among a representative sample of the online population from GfK’s Consumer Online panel of approximately 1 million U.S. households. Completed interviews were weighted to ensure accurate and reliable representation of the total online population, 18 years and older.