Walls in your office come in many forms – some great, some small – but they all have one thing in common. They come saddled with depreciation expenses and often cost you more than what your accounts books reveal.
Nobody likes to pay for the wall that damages earnings, hence the recent trend of “open offices” does away with cubicle walls in an attempt to boost productivity and optimize space. Yet cubicle walls are just the tip of the iceberg. To reap the benefits of an open office, you need to be aware of other not-so-visible walls in your office.
Most businesses are organized into departments based on functions performed. However, efficiencies gained from specialization are frequently lost when each department guards its resources behind department walls. It is then inevitable that costs increase exponentially with departmental barriers.
Just to imagine that your R&D team could benefit from Sales on the ground feedback on customers’ preferences. Similarly, Sales can expand their domain knowledge on products to improve their sales pitch. The key is to break down walls that limit information flow between departments in an open atmosphere.
Quality Control Wall
Having an open office does not mean opening up to shoddy quality work. In fact, breaking down walls should lead to greater transparency since everyone is more visible and therefore accountable. If quality control (QC) issues persist in your open office, it could be because you have no documented system of approval and rejection. Try implementing authorization documents using PDF signatures in your workflows. When you enforce signatures in your QC wall, the gatekeepers will be more reluctant to let poor quality work pass through.
The Great Wall of Conversion
If your office wastes time creating a PowerPoint file, presenting it, then converting them to minutes separately on paper or Word, only to keep referring to the original PowerPoint file since nobody has eidetic memory, you have hit the great wall of conversion. To avoid converting between multiple file formats for one meeting, consider using PDF apps that let you present and write notes simultaneously.
Walls for Sorting
If your business requires research for several ongoing projects, you probably know what it feels like to fumble for a misplaced document scan right at the end of a presentation. To pre-empt this from ever occurring, consider using scanning applications that let you immediately categorize scans into neat, walled-off, easy-to-find folders on your devices. It’s not enough to send scans to your email address because emails get lost (Xerox, I’m looking at you). Clear, logical walls for sorting should be part of any business’s categorization toolkit.
Do you have your own office walls? How do you overcome them? Share your ideas with us here!