Lost Time Equals Wasted Dollars: Tips for Small Business Workers to Stay Efficient

A desk should reflect a place where you’re well organized and performing at your professional best.

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.
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  • 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).
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  • Close to four in 10 (37%) of office  workers have gone into a work meeting feeling unprepared.
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  • 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.
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  • 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*.
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  • 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.
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  • 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.

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