You wake up, you get to work, and you go about your day as expected. Everything seems fine and normal. You know- business as usual.
This is a very common narrative for many business leaders. However, in order to run and grow a business or business unit, continual effort should go toward improving business efficiency.
Generally speaking- this is the act of making a decision to adopt processes and/or software that can help your business or business unit run more efficiently. Business leaders should seek to regularly analyze the overall efficiency and effectiveness of the business processes, and evaluate if changes should be made.
All too often, small, medium and even large businesses tend to focus the most attention on cost savings, and less on efficiency. An interesting fact is; improved efficiency can often lead directly to improved cost savings.
Below you will see some tips that can help businesses across all industries increase efficiency and get to a stronger organizational standpoint:
By far, employee morale is one of the most important aspects to analyze regarding efforts towards increasing efficiency. Low morale can lead to poor collaboration, increased stress, lack of enthusiasm, and increased turnover. It’s important that all employees and staff members feel part of a team. Increased morale gives life to the enthusiasm regarding work and inevitably has a positive effect on efficiency through enhanced collaboration and open communication. It’s important that employees feel their work is more than just a job, but something to be proud of.
One thing that can hurt businesses of all sizes includes the ever-prevalent red tape. Red tape often shows up because it is important that all organizations have checks and balances on the things that are critical to the success of the business. However, if your organization has implemented too many barriers, and projects need to be approved by too many people, this may impede efficiency.
Generally, the more hands that need to touch a given piece of work, the more time it takes to actually get things launched. Whilst some opinions, viewpoints, and QA checks are a necessity, be sure that your business doesn’t have projects spending too much time in an inbox of someone that may not be critical to the review process.
We all know it’s better to be busy than bored at work. Being busy helps the clock run down faster without you taking a look every five minutes…. (Yes, we’ve all done it) However, what about being extremely busy? Some people work well under pressure and some people can’t stand it. But one thing stands true for both parties- they’re human. And humans forget! If you have an extensive task list, it’s best not to leave anything to memory. You can utilize project management software to help manage your tasks and follow-ups.
Many software providers allow you to load in your projects and tasks, set due dates, set priority, add notes, and much more. Utilizing project/task management software can allow you to see what stages projects are in, who is responsible for the next steps, and what are the bottlenecks for different types of projects. Another great benefit of project management software is the fact that it helps reduce email back and forth, and notes/responses can be logged directly in the software with each task. Could you use a smaller inbox?
Additionally, when you have your tasks loaded in the software, in list format, it can help you properly prioritize. Without a doubt, you will be able to have a clear picture of what’s actually a priority and what can be pushed off.
Vague goals lead to vague results. Dealing with a large task list can often lead to tunnel vision on particular tasks within a larger project. Don’t get me wrong, there definitely isn’t anything wrong with having a strong focus on what you’re working on. However, if one task is unachievable and it is holding you back from continuing on to the bigger picture, then maybe it’s time to switch gears in order to keep moving forward.
One way to help avoid getting stuck on one task is to manage expectations and set goals that are achievable from the very beginning. Let your team know what’s achievable, what’s expected, what’s the priority, and where the responsibility lies. When you do this it will be much easier to pull yourself out of the tunnel and know when to switch gears or escalate any issues with the current project.
It’s 2019…. Yes, double-check the year. Running on software and hardware that is outdated and several versions old may be hurting your business. Often, new versions of software include security enhancements and feature additions. Companies like Microsoft, Adobe, and Konica Minolta (shameless plug) learn from their user-base. With thousands of users, companies often take feedback and implement improvements in their software to add features that aid in productivity. For example, the Microsoft Office from 2009 is nothing like the modern Microsoft Office 365 in the year 2019. Speed and feature additions significantly increase productivity by allowing you to work more efficiently.
Upgrading to modern hardware and software can show improvements in productivity and speed. If you are running on a computer system built in 2012, then it’s safe to say that you are probably not benefiting from the latest technological developments and improvements in speed.
Does your organization use paper? Well, that’s a trick question, so I’ll assume the answer is “yes.” Paper-related processes can be a burden to business growth and efficiency. If you spend time printing, shipping, filing, storing, or converting to digital form, then Konica Minolta’s Enterprise Content Management Services could potentially be of great help.
Konica Minolta’s content management experts can help take the pain away from the time-consuming tasks, and let your business focus on what’s most important- growth. They can help you increase document/record security, decrease storage space, and even centralize your content for online access.
Whether someone works in an administrative position, design, development, marketing, or another area- there is always room for growth. Business leaders should seek to keep their employees learning and adding to their skillset. Everyone can benefit from new skills, yet many businesses don’t help their employees grow. In many organizations growth is secondary and the businesses leave it to the discretion of their employees.
If business leaders were to foster an environment where their team learns and grows together, then the business could potentially see a significant positive effect on efficiency. Formal certification courses, workshops, seminars, or even video tutorial subscriptions like Lynda.com can make a big difference to the work output of the employees.
Avoid the “Well, we’ve been doing it like this…so let’s keep it…just because….” We all know what busy is. And while busy, it is very tempting to just focus on the next, instead of fixing the now. Often times, whether it relates to software or processes, it may be quite easy to try to focus on getting more work done, instead of fixing issues. Granted, the business shouldn’t be held up on the smaller things, but if these smaller things can be fixed now so that they don’t cost additional time and headache in the future, then it may be worth investigating.
Additionally, some people get caught up and overwhelmed with work due to their inability to say no. If requests are coming through, then upon receiving each request, everyone should evaluate their task list and avoid continually attempting to squeeze in one last-minute project. If you often squeeze in one last-minute project, then these last-minute projects will continue to arise and continue to be a burden on workload. Always manage expectations, and commit to only what’s realistic and what’s necessary.
There you have it. 8 tips that can help improve business efficiency across all industries. If you are faced with these issues or recognize you are the culprit behind them (yes, no-one’s perfect), then have no fear- improvement is knocking at your door- you just have to be willing to open…