A few years ago, I noticed something about my office. The copier (at the time we only had one) sat beside two men who used it about once a month, twenty or so feet away from the secretary who used it every day. As silly as it might sound, it had never occurred to anyone how ridiculous it was to have the copier there. As soon as the secretary had the copier closer to her desk, the time spent doing the daily invoicing was reduced dramatically. Later we replaced the copier with one that had a top-feeder, which allowed her to leave simple copy jobs running while she performed other tasks. The new copier also had a reducing function that allowed four copies to go onto one page. Suddenly, instead of boxing half a year's records in six boxes, the whole year could be boxed into four. With those three simple changes, the back office became so much more efficient that when two part-time employees left, we didn't have to hire anyone to replace them.
Sometimes a thing as simple as office layout can breed inefficiencies. Those inefficiencies can add up to hours, hours that cost money. I learned a lot about the importance of a good office layout in that process. We also removed walls that forced employees to walk a long way around a room to a door that was straight in front of them upon entry. Just recently we also reorganized our office to have a work flow layout on the billing desk, and to give the billing area a more private place to work without concern for people monitoring the process. Each of these improvements have made it possible to move billings through more rapidly than ever, helping us avoid overtime during the heaviest times of the year. A few technology investments along with the right design has helped more of our revenue get to the bottom line. Studying the ergonomics of an office - the workflow and its layout - is well worth the small amount of time it can take to analyze it and redesign it.