If you’ve never managed an office or had employees before it feels overwhelming to know how best to create a productive, functional environment. How do you begin this part of the business ownership process if you don’t have any idea where to begin?
Develop a Company Culture and Make It Part of Training
Before you hire any employees, consider what you want your company to value and how you will establish those values when you train your eventual employees. It might take some trial and error to fully understand your company culture, since it’s all so brand new and exciting to you. If you don’t have a clue what that means, consider the following:
- Where are you located? Geography makes a bigger difference than you might think; your area might have a different set of core values than, for example, a Washington DC office space. While patriotism and being loyal to your country might be the backbone of some DC-based businesses, what do you find is important to the place you live in?
- As your business functions here and now, are you representing those values in your workday? What are some ways that you can reinforce this culture? How can you build it into your company’s work ethic and make it part of your employees’ daily workday?
- Come up with a mission statement. You define what it is that is most important to you as a business owner, now put it into words. A mission statement should not be lengthy; keep it brief and use terminology that resonates with consumers so that they are clear what it is.
Having all of this information is a great starting point when you decide you’re going to train your employees. Work your mission statement and company culture into your new employee handbook and find creative ways to get your employees to remember and live it. One clever idea is to randomly ask one of your workers to repeat the mission statement; if they remember it word for word without needing to look then buy them a mocha.
Do your part to save the trees by ending the culture to print absolutely everything. Thanks to cloud-based technology there are so many options for going paperless. Keep everything online and email items like:
- Meeting agendas
- Marketing materials such as brochures and flyers
- Newsletters, memos and TPS reports
While there will be some grumblings, telling your employees right off the bat that you are mostly no-print zone will ingrain it into their minds before there’s a chance to complain. Start early and make sure your employees are aware of your rules.
Organize, Organize, Organize
Not everyone is organized by nature and that’s okay, but as a business owner there is no room for error. This means that, while your pots and pans might be a jumbled heap at the bottom of the kitchen cabinets, you need to have a different attitude at work. Remember who’s liable in case there’s an accident or mistake: You, the business owner. Keep your office space as impeccably orchestrated as you can in order to avoid an embarrassing scramble to find the right items when you need them most.
- Filing cabinets are great in theory, but only if you’re using them how they should be used. Make sure that all your documentation that can’t be cloud-based is filed in a labeled, color-coded folder that is in a sensible place. For example, if you have only green labels to represent financial information, your orange HR files have no business being mixed up with them.
- Do you use a staff calendar? It doesn’t have to be a physical paper calendar that you stick onto the wall; digital calendars like Google Calendar can be perfect. These are great for things like employee appointments and/or requested days off, meetings with clients or general reminders for everyone to be aware of.
- Establish areas. What does this mean? Well, consider an IT department. They need a place to answer the phone and check the status of help desk tickets, but they also need a place to work on machines and still another place to properly pack and ship broken items out to clients and to manufacturers. Depending on your line of work, do you have specific stations for employees to get their job done?
You’ve built your company from the ground up, and you know what it takes to make a business plan successful and how to get a business off and running. Get your company organized and efficient to make the most of your blood, sweat and tears.