With the cost of poor productivity estimated around $576 billion for businesses in the U.S., the need to identify effective ways to increase productivity is a major concern for many executives. Poor productivity can result in lower quality products, decreased revenue and even bankruptcy. So, here are 4 strategies you can start implementing today in order to get the most out of your workforce.
Track and Manage Your Time
In order to improve productivity, you first need to address what areas are most in need of improvement. A great way to do this is by tracking the time your employees spend on different projects and tasks. Identifying the areas that you spend too much or too little time on allows you to know what tasks you should optimize or eliminate from your business altogether.
A great way to track how much time your employees are spending on these tasks is by implementing a time tracking tool like Toggl, which records the time a person spends on various tasks. Toggl allows for a simple click to start tracking your time and provides a report on what tasks you spend the most time on. For example, if your team is building websites, your designer and web developer would both log their time separately using the tool. They could then look at the Toggl report to identify which areas they are losing the most time on. If they realize that the homepages are taking the most time, they now can look at ways to make the creation of homepages faster, by introducing new tools or adopting a more formulaic approach to creating them.
Update Your Communication Tools
Advances in technology have made virtually every industry more efficient, and business communication is no different. Wherever there is poor productivity, a poor communication strategy isn’t too far behind. Any organization looking to increase productivity should be investigating ways to improve their communication capabilities. You need to take a hard look at how your organization communicates to find out what does and doesn’t work. Then, you should do some digging and see what communication tools can make up for any inefficiencies.
Finding the tools that fit your business will take some trial and error, but universally helpful tools to introduce into your workflow are unified communications tools. Systems like these allow your customer service platform to seamlessly integrate with customer relationship management software and engage with customers via chat, email and social media. These tools also allow employees to quickly and securely communicate time-sensitive information with key stakeholders no matter where they are in the world. With flexible communication mediums and safe connections, unified communication platforms are the surefire way to make customer and employee communications more efficient.
Automate to Save Time
Efficiency is a key component of what it means to be productive. As you become more efficient, you should also become more productive. A great way to boost efficiency is automating wherever and whenever possible. Automating your workflow processes is a great way to boost your productivity. Automation can reduce the time spent on various tasks from days to seconds, which is another reason why it’s so important to track your time.
With the increasing availability of artificial intelligence tools for business, both the complexity and variety of automated tasks has multiplied. Today, you can automate tasks such as revenue forecasting, reporting, and manufacturing. There are also free tools, like IFTTT, that your employees can use to automate the repetitive daily tasks that may be holding them up. For example, IFTTT can put a notification on your calendar every time you get an email, while simultaneously scheduling a social media post on each of the company’s social media pages. While this task may have traditionally cost your employee several hours a week, now it will only take a few minutes. It is true that not everything can, or should, be automated but as the field of AI advances and more tools like IFTTT are created, it will be easier than ever to automate your business. Ultimately, automation will be one of the biggest factors in your company’s ability to be productive.
Build an In-House Database
A common problem for many large companies is their ability to transfer information across departments. This is referred to as siloing. Siloing makes it difficult for the different departments to stay aligned with their goals. This lack of knowledge transfer can have adverse effects on the company’s productivity and innovation. Siloing general company information can also be detrimental when it comes to the goals and expectations of employees. Providing an open company-wide database is a fantastic way to combat information siloing. This database can serve as a FAQ about the company as a whole, including what each department does, and what their respective objectives are along with other important documents such as an organizational chart. It also allows employees to easily procure information from other departments without requiring them to waste time sending emails back and forth. A final benefit of the database is its potential to accelerate the onboarding process because new employees could quickly read through the database and see how each department and the company operates. If you’re looking to implement your own in-house database, a great tool to check out is wikidot as it makes it quick and easy to set up your very own internal wiki.
There are many more ways to increase productivity, but these are certainly some of the most effective means of doing so. Growing a company with these four strategies at the core of your plan is a solid way to guarantee an increase in both productivity and revenue. Rather than sitting on this information, take action and really look at how you can begin implementing these strategies in your organization today.