How to bring structure to your chaotic work environment?

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Communication is key, and I am not talking about the communication between you and your mother-in-law… I am talking about the communication between you and your team members. Unclear and ambiguous communication leads to confusion and confusion is one of the main reasons employees endure stress, frustrations and anxiety at work. With all these ingredients in place, a chaotic environment is easily created. Less easy, however, is to reorganise this chaotic environment. 

A chaotic environment: a vicious cycle

structure to choatic workplace

It is obvious that poor communication causes confusion concerning day-to-day work activities. Who is responsible for which task and what does that task entails exactly? Vague task descriptions will confuse employees. They will put off assignments because they do not know how to execute them.  Unproductivity makes its appearance. Extra mails, calls and questionstall other colleagues and work starts to build upEmployees can’t keep up and that’s when stress and frustrations get the upper hand The once so peaceful work environment turns into a chaotic war zone. With no time for proper conversations concerning new or ongoing projects we find ourselveback at the beginning of the vicious cycle: poor communication.  

 

How to break the cycle?  

1. Analyse the current situation  

By analysing the current situation of your business, you get an overview of all that is going on in your organization. List all the demands that are being made. Do not just focus on your employees but go beyond the physical boundaries of your workplaceInclude your main stakeholders, such as your customers and suppliers, as well.  

You can obtain this list by holding a meeting with your employees where, together, you define (re)occurring problems and possible solutionsIholding meetings with all employees and stakeholder isn’t possible for your business, we suggest putting out detailed surveys about specific workflows or activities. Leave room for open questions and motivate the respondents to answer them to make sure you get to the hidden problems within your organisation as well 

After gathering all this information, try to prioritize the list based on what the costs would be to fix the problem and what the benefits would be for your businessFocus on the most essential demands, the ones that are at the top of your listThis is the core set of demands you will begin to address amid the workplace chaos. Share the list with your employees so that they know where your priorities lay and can open the discussion. It is important for managers and employees to be on the same page about the order of the problems being tackled.  

 

 2. Define workflows  

Defining workflows is a crucial step in the process of structuring your chaotic workplace. When starting to define workflowyou need to ask yourself 3 questions: 

  • What exact jobs are being done? 
  • Who is responsible for what?  
  • What is the time frame for each task? 

Sit down with your teams and determine the best workflows for problematic document processes, as well as for the most common ones. Use the list of demands (previous point) to see where flows need to be fixed. Defining workflows can be done for basically any process within your business. From taking calls and passing on messages to complex document handling 

Share the fixed workflows with your employees but try to avoid confusion or information overloadShare only relevant workflows by categorizing your workflows in a way that each department, and each team within that department, knows which workflows apply to them. Be open to feedback. Chances are many workflows will need changes after implementation. Defining workflows is an ongoing process. Your business is growing and changing, so do your workflows.  

 

 

3. Digitize your workflows   

 

The implementation of workflows is difficult if you rely on the individual capacity of each employee to remember the steps of each workflow. On top of that there is no guarantee your employees will work according to the fixed workflows. Turning your workflows into a digitized automated process means more control over the execution of workflows and less chance of unnecessary mistakes. 

Digitizing your workflows can give you insights as to why a stagnation takes place. It will enable employees to work more efficiently instead of wasting time trying to solve peripheral issues. More structure, more productivity, less stress, less issues Definitely a win-win-situation for your employees and your business.  

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