Organise your workspace and stay productive? Is this even true?

Well, you may or may not have heard of the Japanese Author and “tidying consultant” Marie Kondo, but she believes so. She’s written four books on organising, one of her bestselling book being The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: the Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organising.  

Kondo’s tidying techniques, named the “KonMari Method” is a proven success for banishing clutter, managing mess and organising your home. This can and has also been adopted into workspaces, Marie Kondo, also said: “when your office space is organised, it will result in increased efficiency because your use of time becomes much more productive”.

Firstly, your work area should inspire you – not overwhelm you before you even begin your day. Kondo’s premise is that you only keep things that “spark joy”  in your life. However, for your work environment, you might not necessarily use “joy” as an important attribute when judging whether to retain something. Instead, you could ask yourself: “Does this make me more creative or more productive?” and, Does it foster a more successful and harmonious team?”

You’re likely to spend many hours of the day at your desk, organising this space will only boost productivity and increase efficiency because you’ll spend less time looking for misplaced items. You’ll also feel more comfortable in your workspace.

There are some tips below to help you tidy your office in order to create a space that "sparks joy".

Keep your desk surface relatively clear.

Tidying quickly, thoroughly and in one go is the best way to maintain a clean and organised desk area. Using KoniMari method, gather items of the same category in one place and only keep the ones that spark joy. This could be books, papers, miscellaneous items and keepsakes.

Tidy books and materials first

Start by tidying your books, following the books, paper, miscellaneous items and keepsakes. By doing this you start with the easier categories and progress to more difficult ones. For each category, gather every item in one place, then choose what sparks joy. Don’t worry about storage until you’ve finished the last tasks. The reason for this is that you won’t know how many items you have until you’ve really completed tidying. You’ll find that the items that remain fit perfectly in the storage space you already have. Until then, set aside the items that will be staying in temporary storage.

Discard unnecessary papers.

The premise for discarding paper falls into one of three categories: those you are currently using, those you will need for a limited period of time, and those that you will need to keep indefinitely. It’s easy to lose control over stacks of paper, so a large stack can accumulate before you even realise it.

Store miscellaneous stationery supplies vertically

Divide and store pens, scissors, staplers, rulers, and similar items into compartments of boxes so they can be stored vertically. By doing this you can easily see at a glance what items you have on hand to use. This will prevent you from unnecessary build up.

Add a playful touch with keepsakes

Consider adding a small ornamental plant, display items that make you smile. If you have small keepsakes to display, organise them all to fit on a small tray to keep the desk looking neat and tidy.

 Let us know your comments and views on our social media platforms: FacebookTwitter  &Linkedin. 


Published in IAM Blog

Guest Writer: Dr Peter Gisbey (IAM Fellow). 

For one thing, whilst performance management involves a range of interrelated disciplines and competencies, arguably the most important factors affecting performance in the workplace are motivation, ability and environment (Mitchell, 1982; Porter & Lawler, 1968). 

For another thing, administrative management is essential in order for a business to run smoothly (IAM, 2018), which in turn support the business in the outworking of its strategies, and the achievements of the relevant corporate goals and intermediate milestones. 

Administrative managers can and do add value to all aspects of business activity; they have significant leverage at the operational, tactical, and strategic level because they 'make things happen' for the top management team (TMT) and/or Board of Directors, who are ultimately tasked with governing the business. In short, administrative management is at the heart of all businesses. 

Since high-quality administrative management involves the effective deployment of both resources and information within a business, high-quality performance management is simply impossible without high-quality administrative management and vice versa. administrative personnel, especially managerial staff, should strive to demystify the performance appraisal process and make it as meaningful as possible. 

As the literature suggests, one of the most important operational functions of performance appraisals concerns providing legal evidence of personnel decisions. Moreover, from a tactical and strategic perspective, performance appraisal systems also help HR personnel evaluate success in hiring high-quality employees. In the absence of rigorous appraisals, organisations cannot reliably assess and reward employees for outstanding performance or discipline employees for unsatisfactory performance. Crucially, performance appraisal can serve to ensure achievement of strategic goals, if it is targeted and done in real time (Blundell, 2018; Monar Consulting, 2012). 

Moreover, if performance management systems are augmented by the fostering of growth-orientated mindsets in the relevant workplaces, this helps to embed an empowering culture of 'performance learning' (Taylor, 2017a, 2017b, 2017c). 

Effective performance management systems in the 21st century needs to pay even more attention to the individuality of employees and their ever higher expectations...

Nowadays, in developed economies such as that of the UK, it is obvious that effective performance management systems need to be tailored to the 'millennials', and latterly Generation Z workers, who demand much more from the workplace (even in the still apparent 'afterglow' of the global 'credit crunch' of 2008-9). 

...and first-rate administrative personnel must strive to ensure that performance management systems remain ultimately focused on the customer. 

High-performing administrative staff invariably view other employees within the organisation as 'internal customers', in the discharging of their performance management responsibilities, because of their commitment to quality. As a result, the 'customer-facing' staff in 'front-office' roles will be generally better primed to provide a high-quality service to the external customers of the business, the ever present reason for the existence of the firm in question. 



Blundell, A. (2018). Time's up for performance reviews. Retrieved Saturday 27th January 2018:

IAM (2018). What is administrative management? Retrieved Saturday 27th January 2018:

Mitchell, T. R. (1982). Motivation: New directions for theory, research, and practice. Academy of Management Review, 7, 80–88

Monar Consulting (2018). Performance Appraisals: Development vs. Administrative. Retrieved Saturday 27th January 2018:

Porter, L. W., & Lawler, E. E. (1968). Managerial attitudes and performance. Homewood, IL: Dorsey Press.

Taylor, R.C. (2017a). The Growth-Mindset Workplace, Part 1: Permission to Fail. Retrieved Saturday 27th January 2018:

Taylor, R.C. (2017b). The Growth-Mindset Workplace, Part 2: Embracing a 360 Mindset. Retrieved Saturday 27th January 2018:

Taylor, R.C. (2017c). The Growth-Mindset Workplace, Part 3: Purposeful Training and Development. Retrieved Saturday 27th January 2018:





Published in IAM Blog

Mind have published research which showed that men are twice as likely to have mental health problems due to their job. 

Mind surveyed 15,000 employees, of which 1,763 were currently experiencing poor mental health. The research breaks down gender differences in what men and women attributed to being the cause of poor mental health. One in three men in comparison to one in seven, considered their job to be a contributing factor to their poor mental health rather than problems outside of work. Whereas women considered both their job and problems outside of work contributing to poor mental health.

Emma Mamo, Head Of Workplace Wellbeing at mind, considers how the "macho" culture men can find themselves working in, may be a contributing factor but concerningly also preventing them from seeking help and support from their employer. Only one in three men felt their workplace had a culture where it was possible to speak about their mental health problems and only one in three men had taken time off for poor mental health. 

Emma Mamo says "In the last few years, we've seen employers come on leaps and bounds when it comes to tackling stress and supporting the mental well-being of their staff, including those with a diagnosed mental health problem. However, there is more to do and employers do need to recognise the different approaches they may need to adopt in how they address mental health in the workplace".She goes on to comment that "it is concerning that so many men find themselves unable to speak to their bosses about the impact that work is having on their well-being.... the majority of managers feel confident in supporting employees with mental health problems, but they can only offer extra support if they're aware there is a problem". 

Have you had experience of talking to your employer about mental health? Do you feel you would be able to discuss a mental health problem with your manager? Let us know on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn

Are you an employer who wants to evaluate psychosocial risk in their organisation? IQ Verify are able to audit to a psychosocial risk management standard to help evaluate and implement interventions to improve psychological well-being in the workplace. 






Published in IAM Blog
Monday, 11 September 2017 00:00

Prepare For Interview

The recruitment process is notoriously nerve-racking - particularly at senior level where the stakes are high and competition is fierce. Lisa Forrest (Head of Internal Talent Acquisition, at Recruitment Specialists Alexander Mann Solutions) explains to IAM Manager how to get ready for the big day. 

The rise of the sophisticated jobseeker, who has high expectations of how an employer brand should engage with them, and who is as adept as researching organisations as rehearsing interview scenarios, has encouraged employers to raise the bar in terms of interview process. However, there are still steps you can take to maximise your chances of success. 

You should, of course, prepare for any interview by thoroughly researching the potential employer and forming a clear idea of what you are able to offer them. If you are working with an internal or embedded executive search specialist, they will be able to provide you with useful background - such as interview dynamics and dress code - before you even set foot in the door. If you know anyone who currently works at the company, or has done previously, ask for some frank feedback. It can be valuable to have a first-hand account to complement the exhaustive online fact-finding that you will no-doubt be undertaking. 

You're A Star! 

Enter the interview armed with a handful of examples of professional achievements, and be ready to discuss these in detail in terms of strategy, perspective, evaluation and the impact on the company's bottom line. Answers to competency based questions can be given structure with the STAR acronyms; outline the Situation, Task, Action and Result. 

If you are asked an unexpected question, think it over briefly and answer to the best of your ability - be sure to explain the thinking behind your reply. The capability to be able to challenge, solve or even deflect problems is an essential skill in the workplace, and hirers may try to catch you off-guard to judge how you are likely to behave in stressful situations in the future. Remember to be confident in your capabilities - the fact you have secured an interview indicates that you have impressed with you application so far so take some deep breaths before you go in to help stay cool and shake off any nerves. 

Skill Sets 

According to a recent report by Forbes Magazine, nearly half (46 per cent) of executive hires fail within 18 months. As frightening as this statistic is, the really insightful and helpful number is this; only 11 per cent of these executives fail because of their technical ability or due to the lack of the required skill set. What this says to me is that firms are adept at hiring against a skill set; interviewers are rarely making mistakes in hiring people that can't actually do the job. Where the executive fails in by far the majority of cases it is down to their ability to do the job in that particular environment and culture. 

Be Authentic

With this in mind, it is essential that you are relaxed and authentic throughout the interview process. Never wear a mask that will inevitably slip later down the line. Technical ability can be taught, but core competencies and charisma cannot - and personality and cultural fit are essential to successful placements. It is also essential that you embrace the interview stage as an investigative opportunity. Use it as a platform to ask pertinent questions - whether that be what the organisation's CSR policy is, or if there will be the opportunity to work internationally further down the line. Remember an interview process is a two-way-street, and it's better if you find out sooner rather than later if this is not the golden opportunity you have been waiting for. 

And finally, don't forget the obvious; avoid alcohol and get plenty of rest the night before, be well presented and arrive early - and smile. This could be the beginning of the next step in your management career. 

What are your thoughts on preparing for an Interview? 

Let us know on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. There are free webinars available for IAM members - you can access them on the IAM portal, or, if you would like to participate in a live Q&A session - keep an eye on our events page. 




Published in IAM Blog
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