I have been in more than 100 practices over the years of meeting with practitioners about their businesses, and have seen with my own eyes the state of the nation regarding the desks within. Some have been very impressive and were designed in a way to give the impression of a calm, cool and collected office. Most were not however.
Some desks are old and some are scarred and battle worn by years of patients or clients kicking the **it out of them. Even that would not be so bad if there was zero clutter, post-it notes stuck all over and unfiled papers and files piled high in baskets or all around.
Did I mention the bosses desk in the private office? It is often the same way or even worse because they get tons of mail … from suppliers, insurance companies, patients or clients, and so on. Sometimes (a lot of the time) I couldn’t even SEE the desk top.
What to do, what to do. Can these situations be fixed?
- You should go drop in on a few practices in your area and pretend to yourself that you are a new patient or client. What do you think could be improved? Now go back to your own practice and do the same. What do you see that could be improved. Be ruthless with yourself … you want to IMPRESS the heck out of patients or clients, especially the first time they come to your practice. First impressions are very important.
- Start with your own desk as the practitioner. How can you expect your staff to do other than follow your lead? If YOUR desk and office are messy, it will be hard for you to expect your staff to do differently. You may find it best to set up a special time for you to take on the clutter once and for all … for instance, set aside 2 evenings this week. Just come in and get it DONE! It’ll be off your mind and you will enjoy coming into your oasis.
- You may need to buy some file folders that are a special colour just for your own stuff as distinct from patient files. You may need some labels. You may even need a little filing cabinet if you don’t already have one. Figure out a filing system that works for you. Generally, alphabetical is best by company name or by type of mailing piece. Then just file them. Easy.
- Once your own office is sparkling clean and neat, then you can work with your staff on achieving the same high quality at the front.
If you feel a little overwhelmed with the idea of decluttering and don’t know where to start or don’t want to do it yourself, there are professional home and office organizers for hire who do this for a living and are geniuses at it.
Reflect your level of professionalism in your office environment. People DO judge books by their covers and therefore your professional skills by what they see!
Besides, for you to walk into a decluttered office is like fresh air for the brain.
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