The Public Liability Insurance Blog

5 tips for running an office smoothly

OfficeOffice based businesses are one of the most common type of businesses in the UK. We have become a nation of generating various flavours of paperwork, so if you are part of this popular office-owners club, here are some quick and simple tips on running a smooth office.

1) Train your employees about computers and viruses

VirusUnless you work in a very unusual office, your staff will rely on computers and these computers will most likely either be connected to the internet or at the very least a each other. Regardless of your setup, you will need to take files on and off said computers at some point.

Make sure your employees know basic computer security practises, such as what a spam email looks like, to be cautious of certain file types and when to report issues. A little education is far better than just locking everyone out of everything as this can not only cripple productivity and embattle the poor IT department with demands to know why certain crucial websites aren't working, but also give your staff the impression that you don’t trust them.

You might consider computer virus etiquette to be knowledge that people just know these days and don’t need to be told, but remember, some people still think they can catch a virus from their computer.

2) Upgrade your computers

clipboardFor extra bonus points following point number one, install computer and network infrastructure that isn’t 20 years old. Computers can be expensive, especially if you are filling an entire office, but it’s a good investment to make as time is arguably much more expensive. The longer your employees are staring at an hourglass or a pinwheel, the longer they aren’t able to get their work done after all.

You might not be able to help the odd system failure or network hiccup (technical term) but you can definitely cut down on frustration levels with hardware that’s still relatively inexpensive.

3) Train your employees in health and safety

ClipboardHealth and safety related issues are almost entirely common sense things that everyone knows. Some people however need to be reminded. Talking as someone who once oversaw an office's health and safety policy, I can safely say that sometimes people have isolated bouts of stupidity whereupon they suddenly do strange things that they would never consider doing under any other circumstance.

This sounds ridiculous, but make sure your employees know how to sit on a chair. It can be part of your induction training or basic orientation, but show them a diagram of where they should be sat in relation to their computer and tell them to report any aches and pains so that you can address it as soon as possible. You should also remind anyone that does manual handling the best way to pick up boxes and encourage people to report any hazards they might spot or accidents they might be involved in.

4) The kitchen. It will be dirty. Let it go.

kitchenWhen a CEO I used to work for got a proper look at his office kitchen, he lost it. Maybe it had been a bad day, maybe it was just that filthy, but regardless he roped in a small work-party and blitzed the whole thing bitterly complaining about the mess throughout and throwing out anything that looked remotely old.

Short of confusing several of his staff the following morning when they tried to locate their Weetabix, it didn’t achieve much. It probably remained in a state loosely described as "clean and tidy" for two days at the most.

You have better things to do than obsess about the cleanliness of the office kitchen. Teabags in the sink will generate a million and one passive aggressive notes being circulated and there will be times where you just want to cover the whole thing in hazard tape and be done with it, but just let it go.

Also, don’t think that the cleanliness of your kitchen has anything to do with the quality of your staff. I’ve worked in several different environments with several different cross-sections of the intellectual and competence spectrum and the kitchen is always uniformly filthy by the end of the day.

Get a cleaner, maybe send a memo, but move on. Maybe one of your employees will take up the cause, but there are better, more interesting and more important things for you to worry about.

5) Insure it

Bet you thought this point was going to be the first one didn’t you?

Your office may have some specific needs that need covering alongside the usual public liability insurance and employers’ liability insurance policies. Have a think about what you might need and if you are in doubt, give one of our advisors a call to check you’ve thought of everything.

The running of your office will not always be smooth and will not always be without incident and there’s only so much you can take control of. It might be computer breakdown, it might be dishonest employees, smashed windows, or even the whole thing being plunged underwater due to unexpected flooding – there are plenty of things that can beset you on a regular basis that you might want a safety net for.

Written by David Hing for YOUR Insurance, a public liability insurance specialist broker for small and medium sized businesses involved in several trades and professions. You can compare quotes for your business online, or call one of our advisors on 0800 107 8949.