Organize Your Construction Office Space

Organizing your construction contracting office space has advantages.

Organizing fundamentals

Establishing three organizing fundamentals in your construction contracting office will aid you and your staff to be more efficient and therefore, more productive. Yes, having an organized space will give you an advantage.

Benefits of an organized office

Taking time to organize your office space well allows you and your employees these benefits:

  • Knowing what resources are available
  • Feeling less stressed and distracted
  • Finding what is needed quickly
  • Avoiding accidentally throwing away something important
  • Gaining a feeling of pride and accomplishment

Before getting into the how of creating your organized office space, let’s take time to look at basic organizing principles.

Organizing principles

Keep these basic principles in mind as you make plans for organizing the various spaces in your office. They will aid you in making the best decisions concerning what goes where and why.

  • Leave room for growth
  • Group elements by the task
  • Store like things together
  • Label spaces rather than things
  • Stash heavy gear in lower places
  • Put frequently used items in places that are most accessible
  • Never label anything “Miscellaneous”
  • Look for ways and space to do batch processing

No matter how big or small your office space, these principles allow you to make the most of what you already have. And speaking of what you already have . . .

Don’t organize everything

Keep only what is necessary. Don’t waste your time storing the “stuff” you don’t want or need. Get rid of the things which are no longer of use. Dried up pens, cracked coffee mugs, and broken office equipment are all candidates for chucking. You know what I mean. There are likely plenty of things in your office space that need to be dealt with in one of three ways:

  1. Toss
  2. Donate
  3. Sell

Look at your space with fresh eyes. What is taking up space and serves no useful purpose? That doesn’t mean you should take down your family photos or remove the lovely plants; if they give you joy, keep them. But, keep in mind, if you happen to be clutter-blind, you may need to ask for help from others you trust.

Barbara Hemphill says, “Clutter is nothing more than postponed decisions.”

First Fundamental – Establish zones

The first step in establishing zones is to determine which spaces are communal and which are private. (Each of these will be handled in different ways when you get to the third fundamental.)

Then, determine which functions will take place in each zone. Some zones are easier than others. For instance, what takes place in the storage zone is the placement and retrieval of stored items.

Other zones to consider are based simply on what types of tasks occur in each zone. A list might include:

  • Data entry
  • Customer Service
  • Human resources
  • Reception
  • Financial issues
  • Presentation or proposal preparation
  • Regulatory compliance

By establishing zones, it is easier to determine what furniture placement, equipment designation, and room allocations are needed to accomplish the tasks at hand.

“Ah, if only it were that easy,” I hear you saying. That is where the second fundamental comes into play.

Second Fundamental – Establish ownership

Who does which task? Beyond the fact that individuals have different needs and skill levels, there is a real situation that often different members of your staff wear multiple hats. The receptionist may also be the data entry person. Or, the person in charge of regulatory compliance may also oversee human resources.

Of course, cross-training is recommended and may skew office placement somewhat but knowing who is in charge of which task helps determine where to put all the “stuff,” which allows your office to function at optimal levels.

Think in terms of who needs which item most often. Be sure that the item is in or near the space designated to that person.

But, don’t get stingy. Sometimes it is helpful to have more than one given item. Here’s an example from our home. We have multiple scissors scattered in various places. There are the kitchen shears stored in the kitchen, several paper cutting scissors tucked away in a drawer in a hall, crafting scissors stored in each child’s craft “stash,” and sewing scissors (mine) hidden in a safe space in my room because they are used only for cutting fabric.

Third Fundamental – Establish systems

Remember, I mentioned zones would be handled differently in this section. For the most part, the private spaces you and your team members inhabit will be organized to meet the needs of individuals. Duties, skills, and work habits will lend themselves to establishing order and routine for each private zone.

Leading well in the organizing habits and establishing base expectations allows you to give your team members some amount of autonomy when it comes to arranging and maintaining their private workspaces.

It is the communal spaces that can cause some organizing angst.

Conference rooms, kitchens, storage rooms, and collaborative spaces can be challenging to organize and maintain.

Here are three methods which have been tried:

  1. Taking turns
  2. Assigning people to oversee specific areas
  3. Enforcing the expectation that people deal with their own messes

From experience, I’ll tell you the first and third usually fail. Here’s why.

You likely know how this story goes. It is titled, “Whose job is it anyway?”

There was an important job to be done and Everybody was asked to do it. Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it. Somebody got angry about that, because it was Everybody’s job. Everybody thought Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it. It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody, when Nobody did what Anybody could have done.

Putting space organization in its place

Use the three organizing fundamentals in conjunction with one another to determine the best use of each space in your construction contracting office.

Get rid of time and space wasters.

Start small (perhaps a desk drawer) and move to larger areas and spaces to complete the organizing tasks.

Develop a plan for organizing the spaces in your office. Let everyone on your team know what the plan is and how it will be achieved.

Expect your team to follow your example – for better or worse.

There is more

This article is the last in a 4-part series concerning organizing your construction contracting business. You can find the first concerning Organizing Your Mind and the second about Organizing Time,  as well as the third discussing Organizing Tech by linking through.

 

We desire to familiarize you with business concepts, which will make it easier for you to be a better commercial construction business owner through our blog posts. Some are new ways of looking at things, and others are refreshers. 

Schulte and Schulte Provides Accounting, Contract Document Management, and Advisory Board Level counsel for small to medium commercial construction subcontractors.

So you can Run With the Big Dogs! Call us 866-629-7735

How to Hire a Knight in Shining Armor

Hire the right people and your kingdom reigns.

Hire the right knights

Hire someone soon or see your kingdom hurt.

So, you’re the King (owner) of your construction subcontracting business. And you find you’re in need of a few Knights in Shining Armor (skilled tradesmen) to keep your kingdom healthy. Where in the world do you find them?

You know many nearby kingdoms have robust knights in their service and if you’re to compete you must have the same. Yet don’t be fooled, even the large kingdoms are having knight recruitment problems of their own.

Here are the 3 keys to finding your knight

  1. Understand where your kingdom stands
  2. Be sure what your kingdom has to offer
  3. Know which damsel in distress your potential knight seeks

Where your kingdom stands

Whether you’re the new king on the block or a king who has been around for a while there are things about your kingdom which make it unique. What are they?

  • Does your kingdom have great potential for growth which is sure to bring its knights along with it?
  • Have you been around long enough to show your kingdom strength is stability?
  • Are you actively seeking ways to use construction tech to appeal to a generation of knights which is attuned to screens and clicks?
  • Do you have seasoned knights in your kingdom willing to pass on the information and skills they possess?
  • Are you a king whose strength is sharing the kingdom vision?
  • Does your kingdom have knights who know how to have fun and work in harmony?
  • Is your kingdom one where Squires are welcome?

Take time to think through and list all the things about your kingdom (subcontracting business) which make it unique at this point in time. They’re likely to change as your kingdom grows. Yet, for now, what makes the grass greener in your kingdom than the grass of kingdoms nearby?

Tidbit from Medieval Life and Times

“Knighthood training was a long and often arduous process. Knighthood training began in early childhood when a basic education and good manners and rules of etiquette were taught at home. At the age of 7 young boys were sent away to the castles and homes of wealthy lords or relatives to embark on their knighthood training. From the age of seven to fourteen these young boys were given the role of a Medieval Page. From fourteen to twenty-one these ‘apprentice knights’ were referred to as Squires . The different types and styles of Knighthood training depended on the age and strength of the apprentice knights. Knighthood training was focussed (sic) on weapon practise (sic) which included enhancing skills in horsemanship, the two-handed sword, battle axe, mace, dagger and lance.”

What your kingdom has to offer

If you were to have town-criers stand at the gates of your kingdom (and you should) what would you have them say to those who might be seeking a knighthood in your realm? If you can offer all the items in the list below, then by all means have your town-criers (marketing and advertising) call them out loud and clear. Otherwise look for those you can provide and make sure every knight in your realm has opportunity to see what you have to offer.

  • Excellent salary
  • Paid training
  • Life insurance
  • Profit sharing
  • Medical insurance (medical, dental, vision)
  • Kingdom culture (including fun work environment)
  • Opportunities for kingdom advancement
  • Safety practices
  • Bonuses (including sign-on bonus)
  • Paid vacations
  • Kingdom provided cell phones
  • Retirement programs
  • Kingdom outings
  • Food (weekly breakfast, lunches, or other meals “on the king”)
  • Steads (kingdom vehicles)
  • Organized yard
  • Efficient offices
  • Clothing (free kingdom uniforms)
  • Weapons (use of kingdom tools)

Where to have your town-criers stand. Everywhere!

  • Job fairs
  • High schools
  • Tech schools
  • Community colleges
  • Veterans organizations
  • Inmate rehab organizations
  • Job hiring services (use more than one)
  • Your family and friends
  • Through referral bonuses to employees
  • Social media channels
  • Craigslist ads
  • Even newspaper ads

Which damsel in distress?

Every knight who comes your way has a pretty good idea of which damsel in distress he is seeking. (That might change – but hey, for now, the knight has a damsel in mind.) For example, we recently heard of a subcontractor who lost two of his skilled tradesmen to someone who doesn’t offer the high-level of pay they had been receiving from him but has a robust benefits package.

So, while some (many) will indeed look for the bottom-line dollar amount, there are those who will be concerned about other damsels. Therefore, take home pay, benefits, and company culture will play a big part in the decision-making process for potential knights, yet there are other considerations. The best knights will come to your door with certain useful attributes and will welcome the opportunity to use them in the service of your kingdom and for the well-being of their particular damsel. Watch for them.

Among them are:

  • Those who will want to build their skills concerning establishing customer rapport and relations. (Hint: they’re usually friendly and outgoing – they like people.)
  • Others will want to know that they’ll have a job which doesn’t interfere (often) with their home time. They want to go to work, do a good job, then go home at night without having to worry about the next day.
  • Then there are those who’re anxious to learn, to add skills to their list, and find a path to advancement.
  • There are those who are good at teaching. They’ll welcome the opportunity to teach both their fellow knights as well as your clients. They like being able to help others learn.
  • Some will find their happy moments in connecting people. They want to help you gain new referrals and repeat business. There may be some of the “knowing which side their bread is buttered on” in the process, but mostly they simply enjoy being good connectors.
  • Others will be determined to maintain a clean, organized job site, and well inventoried truck.
  • There are those who pride themselves on being accurate and timely.
  • Some will know how to “take the edge off” with humor or whatever it takes to keep the crew working together.

Each of the traits these knights bring will indicate which damsel they seek. Of course, you’re seeking knights (highly skilled tradesmen) who can and will do their jobs efficiently and with your client’s well-being in mind. They’re not always easy to find, yet you can grow them if you’re willing to build on the traits potential knights bring to the (dare I say it?) round table. (Forgive me, I simply had to do it.)

Hire well!

My mission in presenting the foregoing information has been to bring forth encouraging news, wherewith you, oh King, may make progress in the building of your majestic kingdom.

Or said another way – hope this has been helpful, Mr. Subcontractor.

You can take your place on our waiting list to receive our accounting services by getting in touch here. Simply state you want to be added to the list.