Do you ever feel as though you and your employees are trapped in a cycle of busywork without accomplishing anything significant? You may not be working efficiently. As your company grows, it’s easy to fall into unproductive patterns throughout your organization. If you don’t fix the issue, you may fall behind your competitors.
Recently, non-farm labor productivity rose by about 6 percent. Several things can contribute to a more efficient workplace, including how happy the employees are in their positions and the overall company culture. Let’s look at eight key things influencing efficiency and how you can boost productivity with a few minor changes.
1. Create Open Lines of Communication
The better your employees communicate, the less time gets wasted on completing tasks incorrectly and having to redo them. You’ll also avoid situations where more than one person repeats work already finished. Strive for more efficient communication across your company by adding cloud-based project management tools. If John over in marketing completes task A, the project board updates immediately and everyone sees the piece of the puzzle is in place.
2. Implement a Clear Leadership Hierarchy
Have you ever been involved in a project where there wasn’t a clear leader? The result is typically chaos. Make sure you put a leadership hierarchy in place. Know who is in charge of each project, department and the overall company. Define the roles of leaders and make sure they know exactly what they are supposed to do to drive your business forward.
3. Consider Employee Comfort
An uncomfortable employee, physically or emotionally, isn’t likely to do their best work or live up to their potential. Make sure workers have frequent breaks and that the building itself is cozy. Keep temperatures comfortable year-round to avoid heat stress or people shivering at their desks.
Put measures in place to handle conflict as it arises. Working with someone who makes you uncomfortable is the definition of distraction. Put yourself in the shoes of your employees and figure out what you need to do to make work feel like a place they want to come to each day.
4. Get to Know Your Employees
If you’ve done your job, you have a group of people who are highly skilled and capable of moving your brand forward. However, workers sometimes get stuck in roles they aren’t well-suited for. Spend time with each employee and talk to them about the skills they have or would like to develop. What are their interests and passions? You may need to rematch that person with a different job in your corporation to help them work at maximum efficiency. Don’t be afraid to give a role change a trial run for a couple of weeks so you can both see how the shift in responsibilities goes.
5. Stop Having Meetings
Around 91 percent of people in meetings spend the time daydreaming. Yet, the average company has approximately 31 hours of unproductive gatherings each month. Think about the reason for those meetings and you’ll likely find that a majority of them aren’t necessary. Could a quick stand-up assembly suffice to get everyone on the same page? If you trust your workers, you shouldn’t need daily get-togethers. Give them a project and let them run with it.
6. Help Employees Connect
One study found that using social mediums to help employees connect with one another raised productivity as much as 25 percent. While you don’t want workers spending hours on social media, allowing them to connect and learn more about each other is a positive for your overall company culture. Think about how you can grow your workers through the interactions.
For example, set up a private board in Mango and throw out a question each week you’d like them to answer. It can be as simple as what their favorite part of the workday is or what they like to eat for lunch. The key is to help employees find similarities and connect so they’re more comfortable in their roles and interactions.
7. End Interruptions
Think about the last time you were in the middle of a task and you got a phone call or instant message, or a co-worker stopped by to chat. You were thrown out of the job you were previously focused on, and it likely took you some time to get back into the work. There are multiple interruptions throughout the day, particularly if you work in an open-concept office space.
Set aside specified hours where no one sends instant messages, makes calls or starts meetings. These hours should be the most productive time of the day, such as from 9 a.m. until lunch. If there is an emergency, then the rules don’t apply — but you’ll find having quiet hours without distractions helps ramp up productivity across your company.
8. Add Remote Work Options
Have you ever thought about letting your staff work from home — even part of the time? Adding the option to work remotely can boost your productivity. Employees move to an environment without office distractions. Removing the commute takes away some of the stress of the workday that eats into their energy reserves. In a two-year study on remote workers, not only did productivity rise, but attrition decreased 50 percent. They took much shorter breaks and had fewer sick days.
An often unseen bonus to adding remote workers is that you’ll likely need less office space. This can save your company money by allowing you to downsize.
Look at the Little Things
Often, it is the little things that impact productivity. Two co-workers who fight every day and distract all those around them need to be separated from one another immediately. The morning doughnut break that’s turned into an opportunity to stand around and chit-chat should be replaced with a snack cart that comes by worker desks. The exhausted employee who never gets a break needs encouragement to refresh their creative side.
Look at the many ways workers are distracted, frustrated or unappreciated and fix one small thing at a time. Eventually, you’ll notice a rise in productivity and employee engagement.
Lexie is a UX content strategist and web designer. She enjoys copious amounts of coffee (with a dash of milk) and walking her goldendoodle. Check out her design blog, Design Roast, and follow her on Twitter @lexieludesigner.