Published on September 27th, 2023
Work is supposed to be a place where teams get jobs done. Moments of impromptu co-worker conversations about the weekend aside, people usually look productive. But while your employees can appear busy, it doesn’t mean they’re accomplishing their tasks efficiently.
In business, time wasted translates to money wasted. Excessive overtime, customer churn, and a lack of progress can impede a company’s success.
However, it’s not uncommon for roadblocks to efficiency to crop up as teams and organizations evolve.
If you want to ensure your employees are working as efficiently as possible, here are five innovative approaches to try.
1. Use Cutting-Edge Tools
Some say technology advances faster than the speed of light. While the saying may not be 100% based in fact, it’s an analogy with a grain of truth.
You could be expecting too much if you’re using slightly outdated tools and aiming for high efficiency.
There are so many new tools to help business teams speed up tasks. The latest tech improves accuracy while supporting mobile, flexible offices.
Cloud-based apps are an example. You don’t have to always rely on VPN, company-issued equipment, and in-office days to collaborate.
Collaboration can also be enhanced with tools like a screen recorder, which captures what someone sees on their device.
The screen captures help convey complex ideas, reducing the time it takes to overcome potential miscommunication.
Screen recorders are also ways for technical staff to troubleshoot problems and guide others through complicated steps. Software like this simplifies communication, removing one of the biggest blocks to effective teamwork.
2. Implement Flexible Schedules if You Can
If it’s possible to adapt your business model to remote and flex schedules, it’s worth a try. The data shows remote workers tend to be more productive and work longer.
One study revealed a 13% boost in performance speed and productivity. Another study unveiled a 10% jump in weekly hours.
Without commutes and office distractions, workers tend to focus more on the tasks at hand. It’s also easier to start a bit earlier or stay a little later when you have a home office.
Because they save driving time, they can clock in the additional hours they’d spend behind the wheel. In addition, flexible scheduling lets employees work when they’re at their peak.
Some team members might run on all cylinders in the mornings, while others perform best in the evenings. As long as good communication happens, projects can still run smoothly.
Furthermore, flex scheduling accommodates employees’ personal lives. Juggling family and outside obligations becomes easier, so missed time from work goes down. Therefore, tasks don’t get stalled as often.
3. Create Zone-Out Spaces
Office spaces with only row after row of cubicles tend to be uninspiring. The look of these spaces doesn’t exactly spark creativity.
It doesn’t calm everyone’s nervous systems, either. Add in all the background noise, and some employees are bound to feel stressed out.
When employees feel the heat, they’re less likely to be efficient. They won’t focus as well, take longer to understand assignments, and find ways to avoid work.
Avoidance tactics include taking unplanned PTO and sick days. When one team member is out of the office, their impending workload increases stress for everybody.
A survey shows that 40% of employees find their jobs extremely stressful. Redesigning office spaces so workers have a way to manage their stress helps put productivity back on track.
Examples include meditation, music, and relaxation rooms. If employees have a space to get away from it all for 15 to 30 minutes, they’ll improve their mindset. They’ll be able to focus and tackle tasks quickly while getting a boost in creativity.
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4. Reduce Multitasking Through Automation
What do employees do when they feel pressure to accomplish more in less time? They attempt to multitask, believing they will get everything done faster.
However, multitasking usually has the opposite effect. Work becomes riddled with mistakes and omissions. Plus, the quality of the results can drop.
Consequently, multitasking may result in do-overs. What seems like an efficient way to tackle many competing tasks becomes a lesson in futility.
Your team wastes time re-doing assignments, potentially leading to project delays and unsatisfied clients. A better approach is to identify tasks that are ideal candidates for automation.
Instead of manually sending form letters via email, automate the process. You could also schedule online content to publish according to your calendar.
The team won’t feel the pressure as much, allowing them to concentrate on their complex responsibilities. Quality will increase, along with overall efficiency.
5. Trim Down Your Workflows
Efficiency may take a hit because your team is attempting to accomplish too much. Your focus might be too broad and not produce the results you want.
For example, your social media team could maintain pages for multiple platforms. But are all of them necessary?
Say you gain the most leads from two platforms while the others don’t produce. You could probably consolidate your efforts by focusing on the two with the highest, most consistent performance.
Getting rid of your presence on the other sites won’t impact your lead gen and outreach activities much. And your social media team will have less on their plates, giving them room to be more efficient.
Similarly, you could remove layers involved in approval processes and workflows. Maybe there doesn’t need to be five bosses’ opinions weighing in on marketing’s creative materials.
Too many conflicting perspectives could create unnecessary obstacles to completion. By identifying opportunities for simplification, you’ll make processes less of a barrier to the finish line.
Teams get distracted, which can lead to drops in productivity. Yet most of the obstacles employees must overcome are due to a lack of efficient tools, policies, and processes.
Thinking outside the box when it comes to technology, scheduling, office design, and workflows can increase your team’s speed.
Feature Image Source: Alexandr Podvalny