Organizing Your Workplace: A First Step Toward Compliance

Pile of bills

All of the emphasis on compliance in the industry makes it more important than ever to have an organized workplace where important documents and claims histories are not misplaced, are readily available and are dealt with in a timely manner. A more organized workplace results in other benefits to your business. Establishing structure and order helps it to run more efficiently and to thrive long-term and in compliance.

Five related benefits from increased workplace organization are (click here to read more):

1. Employee Morale

“Clean Desk” requirements are being requested of and by many creditors and forwarding agencies to help ensure compliance within the office. An organized workplace also can make a strong impression on how employees view their jobs and help them to work more accurately, effectively and happily together. To customers and colleagues who visit, office organization exhibits a companywide dedication to detail, order and thoughtful planning. Encouraging employees to create a clean workspace at the end of each day makes overall performance and compliance easier.

2. Efficiency

An organized workplace reduces work-related stress, helps employees to be more productive and saves time spent looking for documents and other information necessary for compliant collections and litigation. Workers are able to accomplish more in less time and generate more business with a reputation of efficiency and compliance.

3. Confident Clients

You want clients to feel confident and comfortable working with your company. A clean, organized workplace helps ease their minds. They are more likely to think you will handle their business in a compliant and efficient way. Even when clients call your office, employees will be able to impress them with faster service and the peace of mind that comes from not being passed from person to person.

4. Improved Bottom Line

When employees have easy access to workplace essentials, they can spend more time on tasks that increase profitability. Many organizations are utilizing compliance software to provide a central repository for their document storage and ease of filing, for improved communication and efficiency and so much more. No matter what technology you use to help get organized, minimizing distractions allows your employees to focus on the duties at hand. You get a bigger return on your labor investment, improving your bottom line.

5. Prepared Employees

When a client shows up unexpectedly for an emergency meeting, employees should be able to just grab the files they need without making clients wait. Supplies, including documentation, must be in a predictable location and also be easily accessible. In our industry, constant auditing is a given. If documentation and information are in central system and well-organized, audits will go more smoothly and have more positive results.

Now that you are aware of some of the benefits of an organized office and workspace, here are four tips on how to stay organized. They come from Canada’s Arlene Dickinson of CBC’s Dragon’s Den and the president of CTV News, Wendy Freeman: 

  1. Don’t multi-task: Many professionals agree that blocking your time is far more effective than multi-tasking. Multi-tasking can negatively affect your brain in terms of memory and focus.Slow down. ”Work on one task and finish it. Then move onto the next one,” Arlene says.
  2.  Have a to-do list and follow it: Keep a daily (and, if possible, weekly and monthly) to-do list. The key is to focus on completing each task. Before Wendy Freeman leaves the office, she writes down what she needs to do the next day. ”I challenge myself to always get things done in an organized fashion.”
  3. Realize you’re not the same as your co-worker: Dickinson believes the more you try to understand what works best for you, the happier and more productive you’ll be. “Everyone is wired differently and how you stay on top of your responsibilities won’t always be the same as the person sitting next to you.”
  4. Don’t procrastinate: Procrastination increases your stress level and workload later. Do bothersome things first to get them out of the way. ”I always try to get [them] done as quickly as possible because I get a lot of satisfaction out of checking [such] items off my to-do list,” Freeman explains.

Monster.com lists five organizing tips that can “help you become known for your brilliant ideas rather than your scattered brain.” They can also help to ensure compliance where it’s needed.

  1. Use Technology Wisely: Little things like keeping phone numbers and other often-used data on your computer and/or mobile phone can make a difference. Online organizers can combine your calendar, address book and to-do lists, and send pop-up reminders about meetings and deadlines and more. NL recommends Vertiply as a cost-effective option for storing compliance documentation and team communication within your office and with your clients/networks. It also provides training/testing for your employees to help them keep up with compliance standards in the industry. We also recommend YGC, an integrated, web-based debt placement management platform to place and manage inventory, audit account and vendor activity and results; and to analyze and optimize portfolio performance. (See our complete list of vendor partners here.) 
  2.  Chuck Your Junk: Just like when you declutter at home, think about whether you’ve needed a hard copy of a document or something else within the last year. Make a “toss” pile, a “store” pile and a currently active “to-do” pile.
  3. Store, Store and Store Some More: Resist the urge to be a perfectionist in dealing with the old paperwork in your “store” pile, or you’ll be lost amid stacks of miscellany for days. Organize materials in a way that makes sense to you. Then find a place to store the less important stuff. There are vendors in the industry whose products can help you store data, collector calls and other information that you need to keep.
  4. Tackle Your To-Do Pile: Invest your efforts here for the biggest payoff in long-term, sustainable organization. Create file folders [hard copy or electronic] for each project you are currently working on, or a different folder for each client or for each upcoming due date — whatever makes sense for you. When you complete a project, go through the file and discard unimportant documents. Then file or store it.
  5. Keep Your Desk Clear: One proven way to prevent clutter from accumulating on your desk is to adopt the one-touch rule. Deal with every piece of paper that crosses your desk immediately. Trash it, act on it, file it or — if you really must — place it in your inbox until you have time to deal with it. The one-touch rule also applies to email. Respond right away, or direct your messages to appropriate email folders.

Organizing your workspace can give you some of the basic tools needed to be compliant with the many rules and regulations you face every day! Get to it!



Categories: Business Relationships, collection industry resources, Compliance, Debt Collection, NL Insider

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