Creating a paperless environment and streamlining the workflow can have a big positive impact on productivity as well as revenue. That doesn’t necessarily mean though that you’ll get 100% efficiency out of every person in your business.
Productivity is the combination of intelligent planning and focused efforts, and keeping workers motivated and productive is always a challenge. There are a lot of little distractions in the personal lives of employees that can slow productivity, but there are also things around the work environment that can tamper with productivity as well.
Here are some tips to increase productivity outside of streamlining your workflow
1. Encourage Collaboration and Delegation
Even the best minds on your team need help once in a while, and team members shouldn’t be required to take on big tasks alone. But a big barrier to collaboration and working with others is trust and introversion. You have to work toward breaking down those barriers.
In order to get help from one another and work well together, team members have to trust one another, and they also have to trust in leadership. Provide team building events that help your staff recognize how their strengths work together – this is a great way to build trust and encourage collaboration.
Also, make sure to give your team all the resources they need in order to provide the best deliverables.
2. Avoid Unnecessary Meetings
Time is the most important currency in life. While communication is important, the time at your employees are at their desk or at work is extremely valuable. GlaxoSmithKline, a pharmaceutical company, realized that their staff was spending just as much time in meetings as they were on actual drug development. This led to the development of a “fit for purpose” meeting process where only the people that are directly involved in a phase of the project would attend the meeting. Others who didn’t attend would receive meeting notes.
3. Create Tracking Lists
Whether it’s a giant white board or a collaborative project management system, tracking tasks and giving staff the ability to close them out as they are completed can dramatically increase productivity. Research has proven that the satisfaction of crossing items off a to-do list drives workers to complete more. It provides a sense of accomplishment and gives a visualization of progress.
4. Inspire Breaks
The idea of letting people take more breaks might seem counterproductive, but it’s quite the opposite. Allowing workers to have more frequent breaks will help fight fatigue and keep their blood flowing. It provides a bit of time away from staring at countless pages of numbers and documents, giving the brain a much needed reprieve. Google is a great example; the company encourages workers to take frequent breaks not only to visit with children in the company daycare, but also to work on personal projects while at the office.
5. Weed Out Distractions
There are a lot of distractions in the workplace because of the web and social networks. In the U.S., over 12.2 billion collective hours are spent browsing social networks every day. This costs the U.S. economy around $650 billion each year based on each social media user costing a company roughly $4,452 per year in un-productive labor.
While blocking those social networks isn’t recommended (this can upset a lot of employees and hit morale hard) it’s a good idea to try to manage when employees can access social media.
6. Designate Times to Handle Email
We spend a lot of time each day reading emails and writing replies. With email alerts on in Outlook, and constantly checking and responding, every email becomes an interruption in work. To be more productive, designate times when email is checked throughout the day. Urgent information can and should be passed through phone calls, so turning your eye from emails will be less worrisome regarding missed tasks or urgent matters.