In order to reach their goals, some businesses ask their employees to work longer hours. While this is necessary in some cases, you may consider an alternative approach: finding ways to be more efficient with the time you have. Smart work can increase productivity more than hard work. Regardless of your businesses product or service, there are many ways to increase efficiency.
Consider the following 9 points:
1. Get a Good Start
This is key. Rolling out of bed and barely making it to the office in time isn’t going to cut it. Try waking up early. Go for a walk or a run, or maybe even get to the gym if you have time. Numerous studies, including this one from the University of Bristol, have shown that exercise increases productivity. It puts you in a better mood and makes you more enthusiastic about work. Consider the way you dress as a good representation of what you want to accomplish for that day.
2. Facilitate Teamwork
More gets done when people work together. Problems are more easily solved through collaboration. Create means by which people can work together. Don’t deprive your employees of human interaction by isolating them in dungeon-like cubicles. While talking too much amongst employees can be a distraction when they get off topic, discussion can also spark ideas.
3. Reduce Travel Time
Spending more time travelling in the car translates into more time sitting in your office. Some travel is necessary, but make sure it’s productive. Instead of travelling to off site meetings or training sessions, consider using technology to communicate. Programs like Skype or Google+ provide formats for individual interviews or group meetings. Stay on top of new technologies and be willing to experiment with them. You may just find yourself with some extra time as a result.
4. Focus on Goals
In the trenches of daily work, employees can loose track of goals over time. Set goals that everyone is committed to. Then remind your employees of those goals periodically. You may even want to display those goals in a place where everyone can see them. Every time you perform a task, look at those goals and ask yourself if it will bring you closer to those goals.
5. Provide Opportunity for Feedback
Customers of your product or service know better than anyone what works well and what doesn’t. Make sure they have an opportunity to voice their opinion. This can be done through a company blog, where you can engage customers directly. Employees also generally have important concerns. Weekly or monthly interviews, depending on the size of your company is one way to learn from them. Another option is an online forum.
6. Keep Employees Happy
When a worker enjoys what they are doing, they will be more productive. There are many ways to improve company happiness. Consider company outings, lunches, or parties. Provide means by which employees can release stress and relax for a moment. While these things may not seem to contribute directly to a company’s goals, they will lead to better work from employees.
7. Remove Distractions
It’s easy to be distracted even in your plain, perhaps boring office. Some people have found it necessary to put filters on their Internet to prevent from browsing around certain articles, video clips, etc. Don’t have desk accessories that will be time consuming to complete. Rather something that may give you a quick break, and clear your mind. Doing this can not only keep you productive, but enable those around you to follow your example.
8. Plan Out the Day
Clichés bug me, but some of them are true. The saying “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail” is certainly one of those. Some people benefit from writing their day out in a planner, or using their I-Phone to set reminders. Regardless of how you do it, a very specific plan will increase productivity immensely.
9. Create a Workspace
Often times people try to make their workspace in the office just as comfortable as their own home. This is not a smart idea. A desk is at your office for a reason. It’s ok if you want to make it a little more appealing than your average office desk, but sometimes people go overboard. Try not to keep a couch in your office, or an overly-comfortable chair. This may sound ridiculous, but overtime you will realize that an office is for working, and a home is for relaxing.
As a kid I was told a story of a fisherman. He played his flute by the ocean, hoping that fish would be lured by his song. When nothing happened, he put down the flute and cast his net into the water. He was amazed when he caught a net full of fish.
Don’t be like the fisherman. Take time to discover what works and what does not when it comes to increasing efficiency at your workplace.