"Work smarter, not harder." That's how the adage goes, and it's true. When it comes to the success of your business, good workplace efficiency is critical. The average employee wastes 94 minutes of work each day. Countless hours are wasted at the workplace sorting through files, writing proposals, gathering data, or getting sidetracked. Stifled creativity and burnout cause delays in deadlines. Imagine how much your business could save in human resources, hours worked, and productivity if your employees were inspired and creative; or if your processes were on point without wasted steps. Here are some ideas to help your business achieve the efficiency it needs to succeed.
1. Put Down the Devices
While it will be an unpopular decision, having a no electronic policy at your workplace will have an immediate effect on your employees' efficiency. The average employee spends 32% of their time on social media at work. By eliminating the temptation to pick up the phone and check those posts, you will benefit your workplace. Granted, you may have a business social media account that one of your employees manages; that would be an obvious exception. Limiting device use while on the clock keeps your workforce focused on the tasks at hand.
2. Provide Creative Refuel Time
Don't be a slave driver, though. Studies have shown that people are productive in bursts. It's unrealistic to expect your employees to sit at their desks or tasks or hours at a time and be efficient, especially when denied the enjoyment of their devices. Provide frequent breaks during the day for both personal time and to engage in group creativity exercises. Encourage movement and light exercise to get the proverbial juices flowing and recharge your workers. While it may seem counterintuitive to provide more breaks, your employees will be more likely to work efficiently when they are tasking.
3. Streamline Tasking Operations
Another excellent and often overlooked way to maximize workplace efficiency is to organize and streamline your processes. Search out and use tools to help make office work easier. Education is a great place to start. For example, a short meeting showing a secure way to send files through email will get everyone on the same page and limit the need for individual training. Reduce time proofreading and revising documents by utilizing a grammar/ proofreading service; either an online program or personal freelance proofreaders will help complete those presentations faster.
Get your workforce involved in coming up with ways to make processes more efficient. Consider their ideas objectively and work together to come up with well-thought-out solutions. This could include not only office-related tasks but manufacturing tasks as well. You will be amazed by the creativity and practical solution your employees can offer. Getting input from your employees will invest them in the business and create a more willing and engaged workforce. A quick and easy way to streamline your office tasks is to use a transcription service. There are many to choose from, and all are relatively inexpensive. Imagine sitting at your desk after a big meeting, trying to remember everything that was said. Sometimes you don't have time to take specific and thorough notes. A transcription service can take the entire dialogue of your meeting and put it to paper so you can distribute it to those who need it or to be an invaluable reference for those points you may have missed. Closely related to transcription services, and another often overlooked tool is speech to text. Most people can talk much faster than they can type. Speech-to-text tools are widely available and allow a person to speak to their computer, and the words appear in the document or email. This condenses the time spent on reports and documents significantly. The ways one can streamline operations are limitless. A final idea, however, is to use better calendars. Visual, color-coded timelines are much easier for people to see and quickly understand. Divide tasks by employee with their own color on the calendar so they can clearly see their deadlines. You can also add extra information that you couldn't on a paper calendar. For example, if you have several employees collaborating on a project, it is easy to add that information to a shared calendar to work together more effectively.
4. Batch Tasks and Use the Pomodoro Technique
People work best in segments. A lucky few can see the big picture from start to finish without getting distracted or overwhelmed, but most work best when the work is broken down into manageable, smaller goals. By batching your tasks into these segments, your employees won't get bogged down with the bigger picture and perform more efficiently. They will also get a greater sense of accomplishment by checking off these smaller goals as they complete them. Touching back to the benefits of movement and exercise, the Pomodoro Technique is also a useful tool for creating a more productive environment. Start with a relatively simple task and work on it for 25 minutes. Take a five-minute break, grab a coffee, take a short walk, and then get back at it for another 25 minutes. This work-break cycle has been proven to boost efficiency and creativity.
With just a few simple tweaks to your business strategy, you'll produce a more efficient workforce and a more successful business.