For many small business owners, no matter how much we accomplish, it feels like we could do more. At the end of the week tasks hang unfinished from the list of what we thought would be done and we wonder where the time went. How do we carve out more hours from the month? Since we can’t create more time, we instead find ways to use the minutes we do have most efficiently, and honestly look at where we might be draining the clock.
The easiest way to get anything done is the set-it-and-forget-it method, and it’s worth it to automate processes which will free employees to focus on more complicated projects. Although some jobs will always be better overseen by the human eye, automating things like scheduling, payroll, or anything considered “drone work” is a huge investment in productivity.
Another great contributor to productivity is uninterrupted workflow. Let the daily schedule lend itself to long hours of straight focus with limited distractions. Give workers large chunks of time solely for work to avoid wasted minutes getting back on track after every small derailment. Each notification, memo, meeting, and chat inevitably takes longer than its intent, most of which can be condensed and are’t urgent. Multitasking also leads to diversion, split attention, and a list of almost complete projects that end up taking longer with lower quality results.
Plan shorter meetings, at consistent times and not throughout the day. Meetings should be concise and update everyone in the company with new developments and important information. This is also an opportunity for your team to provide reports and feedback, or communicate anything they need.
Have clearly defined roles for each employee to reduce confusion and backtracking, which then gives them a sense of function. Encourage communication from your team and regularly ask their opinion on how they think things can run smoother. An open environment to express input, without being micromanaged, will let your team think more about creating the best product or providing the best service, than worrying about critique.
Technology can also help keep everyone in the loop, while still maintaining minimal notifications and lagging conversations. Software platforms like Trello or Microsoft Teams put messaging and file-sharing in a single hub to track work progress faster and more streamlined than email.
To start trimming wasted time from the general office routine and boost valuable production hours, automate and give your employees as much for actual work as possible. Cut excessive meetings and reporting, make sure your workers know clearly what is expected, have open communication and always seek new ways to innovate for better efficiency. When your team sees a boost in productivity overall office morale will skyrocket which can only contribute to greater productivity.
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