Holly, the Accounts Payable Specialist for a local company called me in to help her get her desk under control. She was getting her work done but she knew that with some help she could be more productive and less stressed.
She was tired of being overwhelmed by her constantly cluttered desk and she was tired of her co-workers joking about her clutter.
Holly’s obstacles to a clean desk
- Her work is paper intensive. Everyday there is a constant flow of paper invoices arriving on her desk.
- She did not have a system for separating and containing the invoices as they went through her work-flow process.
- She did not have a good system for managing reading material
What is working for Holly?
- She has a defined work-flow process
- The company uses a digital document management program that eliminates the need to store hard copies of the invoices.
- She has a good system for managing emails, appointments and tasks.
Holly and I rescued her desk in a half day session. We talked about her work-flow process before we started working through her piles of paper.
- The new invoices to be paid and general reference material that she should review land in her in-box.
- She opens the envelopes and sorts the invoices and reading materials into piles. She has a different process for handling single invoices and multi-invoices therefore she ends up with multiple piles.
- She enters the invoices into her accounting software
- She scans the invoices into her digital document management system
- She tosses the invoices into the shred box located under her desk.
Prior to our desk rescue session her desk would be covered in piles of paper that represented the different stages of her process.
Inevitably documents would land in the wrong pile which meant an interruption in work flow while she hunted for the lost document.
Co-workers were reluctant to add anything to her desk for fear that it would be lost.
We determined that Holly would benefit from having an action file box on top of her desk with hanging files labeled with the various steps in her process.
We ended up with two boxes, one box for documents waiting to be entered into the accounting software and another one for documents waiting to be scanned.
You can see the boxes lined up back to back just next her calculator.
We also used a set of stacking trays behind her desk to store the various publications that she needs to read.
These simple fixes allow Holly to do her job faster and they prevent her desk from being covered in papers.