Taking a stroll through your office often offers up a scene reminiscent of any good stationery catalogue. A huge number of items are in use every day, however, when budget cuts must be made, often the first area to be hit is the stationery cupboard. While it may seem to make sense to buy a slightly cheaper brand of copy paper or hole punch, your employees who use these supplies every day are sure to notice the difference in quality. While it may appear on the surface to be a purely money saving endeavour, your staff may incorrectly infer that you are unsympathetic to their working environment, or don't care about their needs. For this reason, it's important to be aware of the types of stationery your employees require, and the best ways to budget for the stationery expenses of an effective administration department.
Types of stationery
The most effective way to find out the types of stationery which your employees use most frequently is simply to ask. Have your employees write suggestions on a board in the stationery store, or simply ask them directly about which types of stationery they find most helpful, and what they just can't do without. It's by far the best approach to leave your staff to use the types of stationery they are most comfortable with, and to simply act as a facilitator for these reasonable needs.
Distributing supplies effectively
Items of stationery can be distributed very generally into three groups based on the type of use they receive:
- Everyday use - items which your employees use many times each day, such as staplers and computer interface devices, should be distributed on a one-to-one basis, with each employee having their own clearly labelled item. This is a critical tactic in order to avoid conflict between stressed staff who may argue over use of the same item. While the initial expense of purchasing a set of stationery for each desk may seem extravagant, it will be more than made up for by a decrease in misplacement of stationery, and a more efficient use of employee time.
- Infrequent use - these are items whose expense prohibits them from being purchased for each employee individually, or whose use is so infrequent that it would not make financial sense to give each employee individual access. These infrequent use items, such as guillotines or comb binders, should be placed in a central location which is easily accessible.
- Consumables - items such as file folders, pens, paper, and other consumables will ideally be stored in a central stationery store, which is freely accessible to all of your staff. Providing each of your employees with an individual hoard of consumables is not only inefficient in terms of storage and ordering, but it does not build company spirit. You'll reap the rewards of placing stationery in a communal location by encouraging teamwork and boosting employee morale and productivity.
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