Neat desktops and orderly desk drawers only scratch the surface of what good organization means. Instead, getting your employees organized often means going behind the scenes and tackling office organization from the inside out. It can also mean incorporating a bit of creative thinking, as well as traditional and obvious measures, in your approach to getting employees organized.

Stop Multitasking

Although it may seem that multitasking is a good way to get more work done, working on multiple tasks at one time both decreases productivity and thwarts your attempts to get employees organized. According to the American Management Association, the net decrease in productivity can be as high as 75 percent. Establish a clear rule requiring your employees to prioritize activities and tasks, and work on the highest-priority task or activity first. This not only improves productivity and reduces stress, but also results in better organized workflow.

Set Up an Information Repository

Identify and set up a central location, such as a Web-based application framework or shared network drive, for storing forms, document templates, copies of company policies and any other information employees share or access frequently. Having one location for storing commonly accessed information makes for easy access and helps keep everyone organized. In the same way, a central, shared company or department calendar both informs everyone about what’s happening and assists employees in creating daily and weekly plans.

Meetings and Communications

Set clear expectations, delegate tasks and give advance notice about changes when possible. Letting employees know what you expect and what you want them to work on allows for advance planning and better organization. Hold weekly or monthly individual and group meetings to assess progress on meeting assigned goals. Address good organization directly through workshops, featured speakers and working with employees who struggle with improving their organizational skills. Encourage note taking during meetings to reduce the chance that forgetfulness will affect good organization.

Allow Time for Planning

Require employees to set aside 15 minutes for planning at the end of each day. Include an additional 15 minutes every Friday afternoon to review the next week’s schedule and prepare for the upcoming week. Helping your employees improve their planning skills also improves organization by allowing them to prepare materials or information in advance. Advance planning can also help employees see where they might be trying to fit too much in a workday, which indicates a need to reprioritize daily goals or ask for help.