Your company's bottom line may be keeping you afloat, but it can still seem as if productivity isn't at the level that it should be. It's not beneficial for anyone to waste time, effort and funds; these factors are often interlinked — a lot of stress on everyone, from owners to consumers, can be avoided relatively easily. There are several methods of reorganizing your office and its functioning to create a more efficient and cost-effective business.
Automate Monotonous Tasks
You can automate a business in many different ways; increase efficiency by taking advantage of as many as possible. Investing in some automation tools upfront will save your business money in the long run. You can also save money by diverting personnel to tasks that require critical thinking skills while allowing a computer to address routine processes (e.g., the transmission of vendor receipts or employee pay stubs, government document management system, bookkeeping).
It seems that interruptions in an office environment can be never ending. While it's not reasonable to expect no interruptions during the workday, you can find ways to limit them for your staff significantly. The ability to focus on one task for a set amount of time can noticeably increase efficiency. You might set routine times for specific staff to have no interruptions unless it's an emergency. Recruit others to take their calls for that period. Have the individuals place their computers and other devices on silent from email and chat notifications. Some apps help with this, or the device might have one built-in already.
Try to limit meetings to one day each week so that employees don't always have to schedule something outside their work. After all, having a meeting or two, plus lunch, plus breaks, and calls, emails and other employees coming in can cause numerous interruptions. Research shows that when someone is distracted, it can take approximately a minute to resume a complete focus on the task at hand. It can also be of benefit to keep break areas distanced from work areas so that employees aren't encouraged to engage in conversations by the water cooler.
Discourage Unnecessary Multi-tasking
Sometimes multi-tasking is necessary, but it doesn't always have to be if you design your day differently. Typically, it can feel like you are accomplishing more during multitasking, but it doesn't mean more productivity than completing one objective before beginning another. Having several almost-complete projects in the air can cause more stress than getting them completed one at a time. Plus, you don't have the work of one task interrupting another. Single-tasking focuses on execution rather than working on a lot at once. A person usually feels better about getting a job off his or her plate than having it hanging overhead, waiting for completion.
Avoid Cutting Corners
Deadlines are stressful and can cause employees to try to speed up the process. Racing to get work completed can result in cutting corners, which often means inadvertently missing essential components of the project. Encourage everyone to make a plan for a project and stick with it. If the procedure requires a change, inform the rest of the staff. Then, get a new strategy in place and communicate it with the team.
Encourage Open Communication
Your employees are the ones working on the front lines; they have a real perspective on daily functions. Encourage them to open up and voice concerns, give feedback and suggest better options and ideas. One employee's opinion could create a positive change for many. It's also helpful to encourage communication between departments, especially those that work on different aspects of the same projects. One team might be able to easily alter something they're doing to benefit the efficiency of everyone.
An efficient workplace is a happy, low-stress workplace. Open up communication throughout the office. Let everyone contribute their opinions and then seriously consider that input. Your employees and your bottom line will thank you for it.