Efficiency is a pretty generic term. It gets thrown around a lot in corporate managerial settings, but few business leaders know how to properly maximize it. By proactively addressing the issue in your own office, you may be able to significantly impact the bottom line and move your company in a positive direction.
5 Steps to Greater Workplace Efficiency
What are your corporate objectives? Are you trying to make more sales calls, engage more customers online, or produce more units of a particular product? Whatever the case may be, you can take strides towards establishing greater workplace efficiency by doing the following:
1. Properly Optimize the Work Environment
Practically speaking, efficiency in the workplace starts with a properly optimized work environment. This includes workspaces, processes, and systems that are conducive to productivity. Options include:
- Studies show that using a multi-monitor setup can increase productivity from 10 to 40 percent, depending on the industry. Consider supplying your employees with a dual screen set up to allow for seamless work.
- Ensure workspaces have adequate lighting – either natural or artificial. If overhead lighting or windows aren’t sufficient, try installing task lighting in individual workspaces. Warm/soft lighting tends to enhance productivity more than harsh white light.
- Think about the ergonomics of individual workspaces. Supplying employees with the right chairs, desks, and adequate space will make a world of difference in their ability to get stuff done.
If you don’t feel like making a bunch of changes to the overall work environment, you can always give employees the freedom to personalize their own individual spaces according to their preferences.
2. Schedule With Purpose
Scheduling has a significant impact on employee productivity. If you’re still working on a traditional 9-to-5 schedule, you may be holding your team back. By migrating to a flexible scheduling system, you could see significant boosts in productivity.
Flexible scheduling takes employee preferences and optimal productivity windows into account by allowing each individual to set their hours according to their own needs. So if a person is more productive in the morning, they can set their hours from 6-to-2. If another employee prefers to start slow and hit their stride in the afternoon, they can set their hours from 11-to-7. Not only does this optimize productivity on an employee-by-employee basis, but it also increases the company’s overall office hours. So instead of only having employees on the clock for eight hours per day, the overlap in the schedule means someone is on the clock for 13 or 14 hours a day. In customer-facing positions, this is beneficial.
3. Streamline Repeatable Tasks
Try to identify a dozen or so tasks that are mundane and repetitive, yet extremely time-consuming. Then look for simple ways to streamline these tasks.
Take document approval and paperwork as an example. The process of having multiple parties sign a document can take days to complete. There’s emailing, printing, scanning, faxing, etc. But with InsureSign, the electronic signature software rated No. 1 by G2 Crowd for usability, companies can secure signatures in seconds from anywhere, while enjoying many efficiency-improving features, like auto reminders, auto archiving, text-message signing and more.
Website analytics is another area that small businesses often spend hours of precious time each week. By using an automated website tracking solution like Kissmetrics, businesses can gather data and even track the behavior of individual users over time. It’s a huge help!
So whether it’s a cumbersome process like document approval or an insightful task like studying website visitor behavior, there are cost-effective solutions designed to streamline the repeatable and save your employees time – time that can be used to tackle core business tasks.
4. Minimize Distractions
“Modern office interruptions seem similarly subliminal,” Joseph Grenny writes for Harvard Business Review. “For example, email alert chimes trigger feelings of anxiety and curiosity. In order to relieve the itch, many people disengage from a more important task to check their inbox or phone. While they may not enjoy this disruption, few people pause to consider that they can control it by silencing the phone — or better yet, silencing the phone and banishing it to a purse or drawer, out of view.”
Take some time to meet with employees and talk through the distractions that impact their workflow the most. Then work on solutions to remove these distractions from their daily routines. By adopting a personalized approach to distractions, you can encourage higher productivity all around.
5. Encourage Time Off
In many businesses, employees feel guilty for using sick days, vacation time, or personal days. They feel as if they’re being lazy or letting coworkers down. However, it’s been shown that well-rested employees with good work-life balance are actually more productive when they’re on the clock. Thus, you should be encouraging your employees to take time off, rather than putting in extra hours.
Boost Your Team’s Efficiency
You can’t force anyone to be productive. At the end of the day, it requires some initiative and personal desire. But you can set people up for success by making it easier to be efficient. Hopefully this article has provided you with some insights on what it takes to create a workplace environment that minimizes friction and maximizes output. Put these principles to use and see what happens.