Did you know that businesses lose a shocking amount of money in wasted labor hours due to disorganization? Brother International (the label maker company) has published a whitepaper demonstrating the link between misplaced items and low productivity. Labeling is one way to reduce the time people spend looking for lost stuff. But they also have to be trained to start putting things away where they belong throughout the day. Office cubicle systems that make it easy for employees to keep supplies and files in their proper place could help minimize financial losses associated with disorganization. With so much money at stake, taking a closer look at whether your workplace furnishings promote order or chaos is certainly worthwhile.
The researchers at Brother International reviewed survey results from over 775 office workers in the United States. They found the following:
- The average employee spends about 38 hours total per year (almost a full week of work time) looking for lost or misplaced materials. These range from file folders to memory drives and office supplies. Calculators are among these commonly mislaid items.
- Workers apparently tend to have an unrealistic idea of how organized they actually are. 85% of survey respondents claimed that their cubicles are more organized than their coworkers. This is unlikely unless the vast majority of individuals who participated in the survey are among the “organized elite” in the workplace. The respondents did confess that when their workstation is cluttered they feel that their productivity drops.
- The results of the survey indicate that the dollars wasted by the search for misplaced items in the office total $89,840,657,069 per year. This doesn’t include the time spent looking for files on the computer (another huge time suck).
Helping Employees Get Organized
Office cubicle systems that provide adequate personal and business storage space help workers organize their office supplies and belongings. There should be ample room for hanging file folders, drawer space for notepads, calculators, and other incidentals, and an area that employees can designate in their desk for keeping purses, cell phones, etc. Shared file cabinets and shelving units should be accurately labeled so everyone knows what goes where. Finally, it’s a good idea to have a dedicated, lockable storage space for briefcases, laptops, and other items on the “frequently lost” list.