Controlling Office Chaos

A Clean Office DeskA clean desk can make you work more efficiently – Photo Courtesy: Puchie Darcy

Do you misplace things? Is your open-door policy making it difficult to get work done?

As an administrator, you have an important job to do. Disorganization can be your biggest enemy, and controlling office chaos is the best way to get yourself back on track.

If you have found that things aren’t operating in your office as smoothly as you would like them to be, here are five things that you can do to improve performance immediately:

1. Get Into a Routine

There’s little doubt that you have to perform the same tasks on a daily basis. From returning phone calls to reps to answering emails from your employees, cleaning your computer to sorting through your files, these are all common tasks that you’ll perform more quickly if you establish a routine and stick to it.

For example, allot the first 30 minutes of each day answering your emails or sending out your own inquiries. Before leaving the office for the day, sort through your files and put them where they need to be. When you do the same thing each day at the same time, you’ll get things done effortlessly.

2. Delegate

Remember that you’re the administrator and that there are things that only you can do. On the other hand, since you’re the administrator, there are things that you shouldn’t be doing. Micromanaging is a virtual task-killer. Whether you have a single assistant or a room full of them, make sure that you are delegating jobs appropriately. Give your employees responsibilities and then let them get down to business. You’ll find that not only will your office run more efficiently, but the company as a whole will operate more smoothly.

3. Maintain Records

When you decide upon your daily routine, make sure that part of your morning or afternoon is dedicated to record keeping. When you’re jotting things down and deciding what to save and what to shred, make sure that you have an understanding of the Privacy Act; compliance is a requirement if you hope to remain lawful. Whether you’re looking at client records or personnel files, you’ve got to stick to the law. In any case, you should have a customer database, an employee database, and any other information that you need as dictated by your role in the facility.

4. New Eyes

While you may be comfortable with disorganization and find things more easily under a pile of paperwork, a disorganized office looks unprofessional. If your office could use some sprucing up, ask an employee or co-worker to come in, have a sit and give you his or her honest opinion. Find out what someone else would change when it comes to your office space.

Having a fresh set of eyes may be just what you need to turn your office from a teenager’s bedroom into corporate chic. Think of your office as an extension of yourself as an administrator and decide what impression it is that you’d like to leave people with.

5. Communication

While you may want to be approachable as a manager, you can’t be so approachable that it hinders your performance. Establish a communications protocol and stick to it. Your protocol can be as simple as letting co-workers and employees know that a closed door means that you aren’t to be interrupted. Instead of answering emails immediately, you may want to tell your employees that you will answer their queries within 24 hours. There are ways that you can establish communication preferences and stick to them, and still be approachable.


Managing the chaos in your office is an important part of your day. By following the five tips above, you can get a handle on both your environment and your practices, and you can get back to the work that you were hired to do. Once your office is under control, you’ll be amazed at how much more you are able to get done throughout the day and just how efficiently the rest of the workplace operates.


Ivan Nichols is a writer for private practice health care. If you are considering a career change or furthering your current career, earning your health care administration degree online may be the first step towards achieving your goal.

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