Getting your office set up for the New Year
Prioritising tasks and creating procedures
by Kathryn Fox, GippsDairy
Organising your office is the first step to completing efficient and effective farm business work to ensure you can manage the financial aspect of your business successfully. This includes physical office organisation as well as implementing processes for key office activities.
Physical Office Set Up
When initially setting up your office space it is important to consider what you want the function of your farm office to be. This includes determining who will be using the office, when it needs to be used, how many people will be in the office, will heating and cooling be needed, will a bathroom and/or kitchen be necessary and how much space is needed for the required equipment.
It is also important to consider safety when determining the placement of equipment within the office. Consider the tasks you would normally do at your desk in order to determine the best place for each piece of office equipment and furniture. Place items you use frequently close to your desk and ensure they are easy to access.
Blocking out regular time to work in your office will help you stay on top of incoming paperwork and will help reduce the pressure of attempting to complete all of your office work when it is due.
Prioritising work is important in order to be as productive and efficient as possible. Some tips that can make working in the office more productive are:
- Book out a regular time of the week to do your office work
- Make a list of tasks to complete
- Tick off your tasks once done
- Set a time limit to achieve your tasks and make it reasonable and don’t procrastinate
- When you’ve finished your tasks then check your emails, internet, weather, etc.
In smaller businesses, particularly smaller family businesses, procedures are sometimes not developed or established when only one or two
people are responsible for jobs. But what if the person who performs a task in the business wasn’t there? Would someone else know how to do that task? If the answer is no, then it is worth making sure that someone does, or ensure procedures are documented so that someone else can make it happen.
Having written office procedures can also be valuable when more than one person completes a task as it ensures there is more consistency in performance. This can also be useful when a task is only required to be completed a few times per year as it saves you from potentially needing to relearn how to complete the task each time. Creating a procedure is simple and just requires that you write or type up the steps taken to complete a task. You can also include photos or videos to make the instructions even clearer. Procedures can be written for any task undertaken in the farm office. For example, you could write procedures for the following tasks: managing incoming mail, allocating items to the correct business cost code, filing documents.
Using office procedures can:
- Help reduce or eliminate human error
- Save time by creating a logical and fast system that everyone can follow
- Save money by avoiding late fees on bills and invoices
- Helps coordinate filing and storage of documents