Nonprofit Invests in Getting Workplace Organized
Some of our favorite workplaces to organize are nonprofits with a good cause. We recently helped Willamette Humane Society (WHS) get their administrative offices and animal exam workplace organized.
WHS has been outgrowing their space for a while. They have offices in closets, storage in hallways, and many shared workspaces. There were traffic flow issues that were frustrating for staff, and inefficient workflow issues that impeded daily tasks.
Like many nonprofits, Willamette Humane Society relies on donations and volunteering. They have a constant influx of donations from the community to be processed and stored.
They also have animals arriving at their office at all hours of the day and night that require proper care. Their staff works hard to make sure that the animals that come through their doors are well cared for.
However, they have been struggling to get organized for the past decade! They had exhausted all their own ideas and frankly, didn’t have the time in their daily schedule to take on the massive reorganizing project that was needed to relieve workplace congestion.
As BJ Anderson, Executive Director, put it “We needed somebody to come in and show us how to and give us systems that we are going to be able to maintain. We are all about training dogs to change their behavior, but we’re not necessarily really good at changing our own behavior. So, we had to get a new trainer in to help show us some new behaviors that are going to stick with us.”
To ensure that these new systems were actually adopted by the staff, WHS put a big investment into getting organized – they involved their entire team in the process and dedicated two full work days to the process! For one of those days, they actually shut down their animal shelter. They were ready to go the distance and fix the problems for good.
Now, many businesses may think they couldn’t afford to do something like this. But, the amount of money wasted by work inefficiencies are too expensive to ignore! Most employees are easily wasting 13-40% of their workday, according to studies by Fast Company and Wall Street Journal. That’s a minimum of 6 work weeks per year per employee!
Tip: Organizing your workplace successfully requires full days, not an hour here and there. With 8,760 hours in a year, you can spare 8-24 hours (depending on the size of your company) to overhaul your organization!
By investing in their offices and their staff, WHS is setting themselves up for long-term productivity and efficiency gains and curbing attrition rates. Further, they wanted to optimize their physical space so they could optimize their facility without a major remodel or expansion.
According to BJ, WHS brought Restoring Order in “for the animals to be cared for properly. For our staff to be able to do their jobs efficiently means they are going to be happier and they’re going to stick around. The longevity of our staff here means the animals are getting a lot more experienced handling and support.”
In WHS’s case, they had completely run out of room and ideas on how to solve that problem. They knew they couldn’t fix the problems they were facing themselves. They needed someone outside of the organization to come in and give fresh perspective and ideas.
The first step in this process was teaching the employees and management HOW to get their personal spaces organized. Instead of coming in and doing it for them, we started Day One with an organizing workshop to equip everyone at WHS with the knowledge and skills it will take to establish and maintain the systems. We taught the sorting process as well as effective paper and space management.
Tip: To undertake your own workplace organizing overhaul, teach your employees HOW to establish and maintain space and paper systems. This will not only provide immediate direction, it will improve productivity and standardize office organization.
After learning our organizing principals, they went back and put that knowledge into action, organizing their work spaces. Our Order Restorers circulated around the administrative offices and animal exam space and helped facilitate this process.
In two days we helped 50 employees and managers get their workplace organized!
Next, we addressed the exam area. There was a quadrant desk in the middle of the room where animals are brought for examination upon entering the facility. This desk was the main work- and traffic-flow issue in the exam side of the office.
Too many activities were happening at this Grand Central Station, and it was clogging up foot traffic AND the space itself was attracting every kind of supply as a result.
To address this issue, we again brought all the staff together for a round-table problem solving session where we creatively mapped out how we were going to bring efficiency and order to this space.
Together, we decided to move the animal adoption function to another space in the building with exterior access. All examination and adoption related supplies – like leashes and harnesses – were moved to this dedicated room.
We also agreed to remove the animal medication function to a new area close by. All medication was moved to accommodate this goal.
In addition to the resolving the overstuffed quadrant desk area, we reunited items from random storage areas and hallways. For example, all animal food and feeding supplies were gathered from multiple locations and stored together in shelving units in a few shelter bays.
Our Order Restorers worked alongside WHS staff to completely overhaul and streamline these community-use spaces. The WHS staff worked enthusiastically at this process, thrilled that they were finally resolving problems that had plagued them for over a decade!
Tip: Take areas within the workplace that have become “Grand Central Stations” and separate their functions into different sensible physical areas.
This was a truly epic project, spanning many work areas and storage spaces. Because we had the dedicated time for the overhaul, along with the buy-in and help of the entire staff, we were able to solve the problems that had long been plaguing the organization.
WHS invested in their employees by setting aside time not only for them to learn how to organize, but to roll their sleeves up and physically do the organizing itself and they are thrilled with the result.
One of the staff members said, “Vicki and her team came to our shelter to help us streamline and organize. It was an amazing experience! I love how we learned what to do and then put that immediately into practice. Our work areas have been dramatically transformed, and Vicki gave us the infrastructure to STAY organized. Surprise bonus: this was a great team building experience!”
The investment WHS made in getting their workplace organized the right way – with a holistic view of the company – is sure to pay off for years to come for this amazing staff and company.
We hope this has inspired you to get your workplace organized! Learn more about how we can help.