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Business Productivity Matters: Here’s How To Increase Yours

7 March 2018 No Comment

No matter what field of business you are in, productivity is always a concern, after all, if your business isn’t getting things done in a time, and cost-efficient manner it won’t succeed in the long run. This issue often leads company leader to ask the question: How can we improve productivity for our particular businesses? A question that they just might find some answers to that they weren’t expecting. Read on to find out what they are.

Bye-bye overtime.

Surely the most productive companies are the one that can convince their employees to work the longest, with the shortest time in between shifts or days? Then they will have as many people working as possible, so more is bound to get done, right? Well, contrary to popular belief, encouraging lots of overtime on a regular basis isn’t always a good idea.

In fact, it can be detrimental, especially because it can subtly pull down motivation and morale. After all, if people are at work all the time and they are immersed in a work environment that expects this, they will be missing out on other value parts of their lives. Parts of their lives that are enriching and in line with their values outside of work, like spending time with their families, doing fitness activities, or giving back to the community.

Missing out on such experiences can be such a drain on morale, because it may be these very things that are the source of motivation and self-esteem for your employees. Therefore by limiting or denying their access to them, it can have a negative effect on productivity.

To that end, if you have a culture of expected overtime within your business, it’s time to eradicate it. Now, we are not staying that occasional overtime isn’t necessary, but it should be rare and well paid to offset the inconvenience to the employee when they commit to doing it for you. Then the there level of motivation won’t suffer too much over the long term, and you can maintain a high level of production.

Breaks are not a waste of time.

Some bosses are hot on timing breaks and ensuring that no one goes a minute or two over their allotted allocation. Some bosses even see breaks as a total waste of time.

However, as well as being required by law, breaks are a good thing for productivity. This is because as humans we are just not cut out to maintain a constant level of concentration for long periods of time. In fact, many scientific studies suggest a 40 minute period is the longest anyone can efficiently concentrate on a single task. A time that may even be decreasing as we become more and more used to instant online entertainment.

With this in mind, forcing people to work for long periods without the chance to get up move around, make a hot drink, or take a quick walk is hurting your business. That is why a regular break schedule should be implemented for all staff, and break times should not be removed as a punishment for doing something incorrectly, or not working hard enough. Otherwise, you may end up hurting your productivity level while trying to improve them.

Communicate face to face.

Emails, texts, and instant messengers are great, right? They allow us to fire off communications to practically anyone we know and the recipient can get them instantly. However, they are not always the best productivity tool in the work environment.

This is because things can so easily be misinterpreted and confused in an email or message. A problem that means the recipient has to send another for clarification, which the sender then has to reply to, and you can see where this is going! Before you know it you have a long chain of messages that require review and action when a few face to face words would have done equally as well.

OK, so maybe you can’t do this for someone working on the other side of the world in a different time zone, but for most businesses, internal messages can be eradicated for the most part. Also for clients not on site phone call work equally as well. The latter also has the benefit of helping to nurture a business relationship between the two that are speaking. Something that can be incredibly valuable for your company in the long term, especially if you run into difficulties, as a closer business relationship will help to smooth things over much quicker and in a way that is acceptable to both parties.

Streamline tasks.

Streamlining key tasks is another strategy for increasing productivity in your business. Such a tactic works on the simple basis that if you make regular actions quicker and less complicated you will save time and money in the long run.

What actions should be streamlined? Well, anything that is done on a regular basis and that takes a considerable amount of time or effect to complete. In particular, planning and disseminating employee rotas can be a time consuming and complicated task, making services like the ones you will find at Employee Scheduling Software | Sling a smart choice regarding productivity.

Scheduling software is a smart choice because it allows you to move shifts and notify those involved instantly. It can also alert everyone that there additional shifts are available, something that makes filling vacant slots way easier and more productive than calling around your entire workforce person by person!

Production tasks should also be streamlined to maximize productivity. Of course, how you streamline them depends on the task that is being completed and the industry you are working in, although the principle is largely the same.

For example, a kitchen may streamline the task of creating salads by prepping all the individual ingredients separately and then having one person make up each one as they go along. Whereas, in an office environment using document management software to create instantly updatable and accessible templates for letters and papers that many different people use can be the best way to boost productivity.

Batch tasks.

Another form of streamlining is batching key tasks that need to be done on a regular basis. This is when you group the same sort of task and schedule in particular time to do this. To make this batching strategy as effective as possible you need to be able to work uninterrupted, so that means turning off your email and phone notifications for the duration. It also means limited your access to the internet for the time that you are doing the task can help a lot.

In addition, it is vital to remember that when engaged in a batching task you are quite within your right to say no helping others, or answering their questions during this time. OK, so this is something that some employee will struggle with, and with this, in mind, it can be usual to institute a system of office hours. This is when there are certain times in the day that questions can be asked, allowing the rest of the day to be left uninterrupted for work.

Be aware too that batching tasks works best for productivity purposes when you to group the same or similar tasks together. For example, if you have a pile of invoices to do, as well as calls to make, and email to reply to, you pick one of these tasks and do that only for a set amount of time.

This allows you to get into the flow of what you are doing, and can help increase the speed of each step, something that is well worth doing to improve productivity. Batching in this way also helps our concentration, so we do not constantly have to pay attention to the minute detail of many different tasks. Something that can improve productivity by preventing the confusion, burnout, and stress of individual employees.  

Multitasking is BS.

Last of all, if you think you are a productivity wizard because you can eat your lunch, write an email, and answer a coworkers verbal query all at the same time, you may just be sadly mistaken. In fact, what is happening is that you are taking your focus and dividing it three ways, meaning that each of those tasks only gets around 33.3% of the focus it should. This is something that can lead to mistakes, and stress and is definitely no good for productivity in the long run as the video below shows.

To that end, create a one thing at a time policy within your company. That means no matter how busy your employees are they know that they are expected to do one thing at a time well and in an efficient manner. Reinforce that this is much more desirable for productivity in staff briefings and by leading by example too, and this should get the message across that employees splitting themselves into much less productive and inefficient parts, isn’t something that is required by or beneficial for your business.

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