Keeping pace in this incredibly competitive world isn’t easy. A lot of factors go into running a successful business, and though things might run fairly smoothly, for the time being, there will inevitably be problems and setbacks along the way.
To avoid falling on your face when issues crop up, you should work on improving the overall efficiency of your business. Lost productivity is one of the toughest costs to handle.
Productivity costs associated with sickness, training, inefficient processes, employee turnover, time wasting devices and others hurt the business market to the tune of billions each year.
Fixing a few small inefficiencies won’t have a billion-dollar impact on your revenues, obviously, but you can probably save several thousand by implementing some of the cost-effective changes below in your business.
1. Improve Communication Processes
Communication is essential in every project and firm, but it’s often the primary thing that slows operations down. Communication in every form can be improved significantly by relying on technology.
Here are some of the most useful types of communication software:
- DialPad: keeps your communications organized and easy to access wherever you are
- Asana: categorizes projects and improves collaboration within teams
- Basecamp: bridges the gap between both internal team members and their clientele
- Google Hangouts: private messaging platform that enables employees to communicate in small or large groups through chat box, phone call, or video
- These are just a sampling of the many incredible communication tools available for businesses of all sizes.
2. Automate Tasks
Whenever possible, automate. “Business automation is not just a luxury; it is a necessity in today’s competitive environment,” says Sathvik Tantry of FormSwift.
“Automating monotonous tasks saves your employees time and allows them to do more productive tasks that require critical thinking or a human touch.” When a machine can handle a process so it doesn’t have to be assigned it to a human, make that happen.
3. Limit Company Interruption
A lot of things can interrupt an otherwise productive workday, including social media and personal agendas. Companies cause a lot of interruptions on their own, as well.
Meetings, donut or pizza deliveries, frequent memos, and other management-sanctioned distractions cut down on your employees’ ability to work at top efficiency. When your staff is in the zone, working hard, an interruption can pull them out of it, and make it difficult for them to re-enter that productive state.
Eliminate any distraction that’s not necessary to the success of your firm. Limit the number of meetings you have and time your interruptions so they don’t affect employees’ work activities.
4. Encourage Face-to-Face Interactions Within the Office
Employees can spend a lot of time sending emails to co-workers, texting, and posting chat messages that could be handled face to face. Chat is a useful tool when you’re clarifying a quick point, but face-to-face is almost always more productive.
Encourage your staff to talk face to face with other employees in order to improve the outcomes of in-house interactions. If workers need to speak with someone out of the office, encourage them make a phone call or hop on Skype.
It’s always easier to get the full import of a discussion when you can hear and see the other person or people. “Skype, Google Chat, and other online communication tools are always helpful when trying to shoot over a quick message to your colleagues,” says Miles Jennings of Recruiter.
“However, face-to-face interaction really speeds up the process of solving a problem, answering a question, or getting something important clarified.”
5. Hold Daily (or Weekly) Review Meetings
One meeting that really can be more productive than wasteful is a review meeting in which you go over the specific events of the day (or week, depending on your workload), and discuss changes that should be made. This can be worthwhile because it keeps employees from continuing practices that may hurt productivity and encourages them to be more mindful of their daily interactions.
This kind of meeting should be short: no more than an hour if it’s a weekly session, and less than 15 minutes if it’s held daily. If you prepare an agenda that discusses the problems facing daily productivity and solutions to combat that problem, it shouldn’t take long to get through it.