Claremont Blog: How to eliminate chaos in the workplace?

May 9, 2019    Richard Merrick   

Chaos in the workplace can lead to a lack of productivity and poor wellbeing, not to mention have a detrimental effect on the customer experience. So how can you eliminate the sort of chaos that could be costing your business?

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs suggested that we need a mixture of chaos and order in which to thrive – however chaos in the workplace undermines process, demotivates employees, reduces productivity, erodes efficiency and impacts the bottom line.

Chaos most typically manifests as a result of poor people management, inefficient working practices, out-dated technologies, ill-equipped workplaces and unhealthy workplace cultures.

While moments of chaos are par for the course and to be unexpected during periods of seismic change, such a mergers and acquisitions or new system roll-outs, it is consistent and institutional chaos that is so damaging to business. Here are eight ways to eliminate chaos in the workplace:

1. Look at workflows. Map how work travels through your organisation and look at each of its touch points as it moves from department to department. Is the flow of work efficient, straightforward and simple? Is client feedback positive? Are projects being delivered on time or are there backlogs, inefficient sticking points and poor information sharing?

2. Invest in a digital workplace. Chaos can be minimised by putting the digital tools in place to encourage order, improve workflow efficiency and speed up innovation – be that cloud-based file storage and sharing, remote-working technologies or new collaborative technologies.

3. Carry out a culture health check. Is your culture cohesive, supportive and welcoming? Do people ignore requests to recycle or leave meeting rooms in a state of disarray? Do they support each other? By making it clear to all new employees what is expected of them as a company citizen, it is possible to instil positive workplace behaviours and order.

4. Spatial needs. Consider whether the workplace is actually supporting how work is done or adding to the chaos. Are there ample places to work , do employees know how to use them and can you support workplace agility? Or is the office over-subscribed, uninspiring and struggling for space? Taking a renewed look at your spatial needs and office layout can provide the foundations for a well organised and well-equipped environment that helps employees to thrive.

5. Get rid of the jumble. By taking a closer look at your storage practices it is possible to improve the disorganisation often associated with storing and retrieving files and ensuring a workplace to be proud of, rather than one full of box files. Putting clear storage processes in place (be that on-site or offsite) can help to minimise the physical material that can add to a chaotic feeling.

6. Assess training needs. 0rganisational chaos can be a symptom of a skills gap. Try and identify where the chaos is coming – is it from new systems that employees just don’t know how to use or because of inexperienced personnel mismanaging their teams? With the right approach to skills development and training, order can be introduced to individual and team’s working practices.

7. Shared purpose. When employees feel they have a shared purpose it naturally brings more order to proceedings. Consider whether your internal communications practices and staff engagement activities could be improved – do employees know the company’s goal and how they fit in? are they kept up to date with performance figures?

8. Personal chaos and wellbeing Do you trust your employees and empower them to choose how, when and where they work? By allowing employees to make their own decisions you can help them to better manage their own ‘chaos’ and wellbeing. People-centric employers are taking more rounded responsibility for their employees’ needs – providing mental health support, fitness coaching, financial guidance and more. Consider whether you’re creating a workforce that feels well, motivated, focused, valued and trusted.

Despite the focus on eradicating chaos, we are not talking about quashing creativity or spontaneity in favour of overly-staid, corporate and formal working practices. Instead the search for order is about creating functional, efficient and high-performing organisations and workspaces where employees are able to do their best work and be happy.

Organisational chaos can be insidious and has the potential to derail your financial performance if not addressed quickly. If there are signs, however small, it’s time to make changes and reinstate order. Have you asked yourself, could chaos be costing your business?

If you’re interested in more information on how to develop a productive workplace, book a free call back with one of our Workspace Consultants now at hello@claremontgi.com

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