Improving efficiency and productivity usually calls for employees to work smarter not harder. In a recent survey, employees said they lost about two hours of productive time every day due to various inefficiencies in the workplace. Efficiency and productivity do not only apply to employees but to leaders and managers who have to get the most out of the team and business as well. Various factors can lower efficiency and impact productivity. Use the tips and strategies below to ensure a highly productive team and more efficient processes.
Set and Track Attainable Goals
Any improvements a business makes to increase efficiency and productivity should align with the goals and objectives it would like to see.
It is, therefore, important to start by defining key goals and considering whether your team has the capacity to reach them. If not, you can consider hiring more people or training your employees, so they have the skills required for this new dispensation.
Second, you should have processes to track progress, find areas of weakness, and try to remove these weaknesses.
Remember to keep goals attainable, even if that means breaking large tasks and projects into smaller ones. Doing so helps employees see smaller wins as they achieve the set goals, and they will be more motivated to work towards the bigger goal.
Allow Work Flexibility
Most businesses have rigid schedules where employees work at a specific time during the day. Not everyone works the same as some people are productive early in the morning, some during the day, and some in the middle of the night.
Allowing employees the flexibility to work when they are most productive and efficient improves productivity and makes employees happier. Employees are also more likely to meet deadlines when they work most efficiently.
Many businesses have adopted a hybrid arrangement where employees work from home for a few days every week and in the office the rest of the time. Some have even allowed some employees to go fully remote, especially those who live far away and those who do not need to be in the office at all times.
While many studies show working from home can increase productivity, some businesses may feel like productivity slips when employees work from home. If that is the case, they can use time-tracking software and other metrics to find out what is going on.
Let Technology Help
Businesses now have access to more technology than at any other time in human history. There is technology and software for doing almost anything. Options available to businesses can help managers achieve high productivity and efficiency in their teams and themselves.
Managers can use employee scheduling software to eliminate the need to set schedules manually. These pieces of software can help them create schedules quickly and easily, with some software even able to do so automatically. Employee scheduling software can also let employees choose when they are available, so a business can ensure it always has the required number of employees at all times.
Managers and businesses can also pair employee scheduling software with online time-tracking software. In the past, businesses used spreadsheets to track the number of hours worked. This is a highly inefficient and time-consuming process. Instead of doing things like this, managers can use online time-tracking software to save time and effort. Such software also allows managers to track hours in different ways, including by copying data from employee scheduling software and through a registration form.
Give and Receive Feedback
Feedback can drive a business to new heights, but that can only happen if leaders and managers cultivate an environment and culture of trust. Everyone has to be open to receiving feedback, and they should also understand that the feedback is not given in bad faith. To this end, the feedback should be constructive, meaningful, helpful and presented in such a way that the recipient can work with it.
Leaders and managers can ask employees what they need, the challenges they face and what they can do to improve things. They could provide employees with feedback on managing time more efficiently, breaking tasks into smaller, manageable chunks and optimising their productivity.
At every step of the way, consider where the feedback you are giving or receiving is serving the business well and whether it will help it meet its overall goals and objectives.
Improve How You Run Meetings
Even though they are an important tool for passing information and making decisions, meetings can ruin productivity. This happens when a business holds too many meetings, invites people who do not have to be there and holds meetings that run too long.
To ensure meetings do not ruin productivity, businesses should have an agenda and goal for each meeting, invite only the people involved, and ensure every meeting has a clear resolution. Doing this will decrease the number of unnecessary meetings and ensure meetings themselves are productive due to the resolutions that come out of them.
Businesses can also experiment with holding meetings in different ways. For example, some businesses have seen great results with walking and stand-up meetings.
Manage Communication Better
Communication can help or harm productivity and efficiency. Good communication helps ensure everyone on the team is on the same page, instructions reach the right people, and leaders and managers know what their teams are working on and how far along they are.
On the other hand, poor communication can lead to the opposite. We have seen this happen with too many emails or other types of messages that distract employees, taking them out of their “flow”, and costing them time as they try to get back to what they were working on.
Limiting the number of emails and messages and sending them only when required or urgent can help decrease inefficiencies and loss of productivity.
Every business leader or manager wants their employees or teams to be as efficient and productive as possible. There are several ways of doing this, each requiring some chances or investments in time and resources. Regardless of the cost, the business stands to benefit from increases in efficiency and productivity.