With businesses getting increasingly competitive in 2020, it is absolutely crucial to revisit your existing processes and operations as you look for means of increasing your productivity. A productivity audit can help you identify your business’ weakest links that are slowing you down. Tweaking those elements and reevaluating your business efficiency will help you stay ahead of the race. If you’re unsure where to start, then these productivity tips will set you off in the right direction.
Remove all kinds of distractions from the workplace
Encourage your employees to use breaks for their private conversations. These minute changes go a long way toward enhancing the annual output of your business. Also, prohibit your employees from using social media for personal reasons at work.
Improve workplace conditions
Your employees spend a good chunk of the day at the workplace. By improving workplace conditions, you can positively influence their productivity. This can include setting the right temperature in the office, using essential oils to enhance focus, and even investing in high-quality furniture and other office amenities. Office lighting is another factor that can increase output.
Invest in the right technology
Information technology and business are becoming inextricably interwoven. I don’t think anybody can talk meaningfully about one without the talking about the other.
– Bill Gates
Make sure that your business is equipped with the right technology solutions to maximize your output. In addition to industry-specific tools, you should also consider communication apps, time tracking tools and collaboration apps that are known to boost organization-wide productivity.
Outsource unimportant tasks
Stuck at something that’s not the core specialty of your business? Consider outsourcing it. Outsourcing is a great and cost-effective way of improving business productivity by delegating unimportant tasks to an individual or a company that specializes in that area. You not only get to focus on the core strengths of your business but also take care of any elements that are affecting progress.
Set realistic goals for your employees
While realistic goals can enhance the employee output, unrealistic goals may have the opposite effect on employee morale and productivity. If an employee is constantly underperforming, offer them support for getting back on track.
Use positive reinforcement to encourage good habits in the workplace
Where constructive criticism may be necessary for an underperforming employee, it is equally helpful to reinforce good behaviour using positive reinforcement. A simple gesture like a complimentary lunch can make a big difference in the way your employees think about their workplace. Positive reinforcement impacts the mind at a deeper, subconscious level.
Strive to achieve ‘kaizen’ or constant improvement
Kaizen is one of the core business philosophies of Toyota though it has been adopted by many other leading business players in other industries as well. Kaizen is a Japanese word, meaning continuous improvement. This philosophy encourages any business to continuously revisit existing business operations with the aim of identifying better ways of getting things done in the business environment.
Foster a learning environment
Businesses should constantly strive to promote a learning environment. On-job training, skill-enhancing workshops and industry-related seminars are some ways of achieving this objective.
While it seems to boost output, new research indicates that multitasking can reduce productivity by up to 40%. This article from Psychology Today Canada shows that every time you switch tasks during multitasking, the brain goes through a start-stop process that can sap energy levels and make you unproductive.
Apply Pareto’s 80-20 rule
“Focus on being productive instead of busy”
– Timothy Ferris
Pressed for time and looking to get more done? Apply Pareto’s 80-20 rule. Pareto advocates that only 20% of our efforts are responsible for about 80% of the output, while 80% of the efforts only yield about 20% of the results. So he advocates businesses to identify and focus on the 20% tasks first that are responsible for the most results, before devoting time for the remaining 80% of the activities.
Work in 90-minute sessions
According to this study, the brain is more productive when it is engaged for intervals or sessions lasting between 90-120 minutes as opposed to working nonstop for 5-6 hours or longer. This is why it is scientifically recommended to give your employees several short breaks throughout their shift. For even more improved focus and productivity, you should consider splitting different tasks by allotting separate spurts of 90 minutes.
Work proactively, not reactively
Don’t wait for the problems to surface. Having a proactive approach means looking out for ways and mechanisms that could potentially disrupt your efforts and taking care of those problems before they even surface.
Intrapreneurship refers to the act of empowering employees to act as entrepreneurs within the organization. Intrapreneurs are responsible for identifying and implementing innovations within the company. Any employee who proposes ideas and plans that lead to innovative processes and/or ventures is an intrapreneur.