When you are running a business, efficiency is a critical key to success. If your organization is operating inefficiently, you’ll be minimizing your profitability, and no business owner wants that. By increasing efficiency, you can increase outputs and reduce waste, which can equate to generating a higher turnover and better profits.
Although most managers and business owners are aware that their organization needs to operate with maximum efficiency, they don’t always know how to make changes. Surprisingly, become more efficient isn’t as difficult as it may seem.
If you want to transform the way your enterprise runs, simplify workflows, and improve productivity, take a look at these simple ways you can maximize efficiency now:
Undertake Efficiency Audits
If you’re going to make changes to improve efficiency, it’s important to know where you’re starting from. This enables you to identify key areas for improvement and measure the gains you’re making. Efficiency audits allow you to uncover wasted time or resources within your business, which gives you the opportunity to make meaningful changes.
Remember – efficiency audits aren’t a one-off activity. With regular audits, you can ensure that you’re consistently maximizing efficiency and modifying operations to improve outputs.
Create Designated Quiet Spaces
Open-plan offices can be a great way to strengthen team bonds and cultivate a collaborative working environment. However, it can be difficult to concentrate when you’re surrounded by colleagues, which may mean that your staff aren’t operating as efficiently as possible.
By incorporating designated quiet spaces or making some offices available to any member of staff, you can ensure that your employees have somewhere to go when completing tasks that require high levels of concentration. When you provide these facilities, individual employees can decide which type of working environment works best for them and become more efficient in the process.
Doing multiple things at once may seem like the most efficient way to get to through your To-Do list. In reality, our brains aren’t designed to multi-task, so you could be wasting more time than you’re saving. Multi-tasking means you’ll actually spend longer completing tasks and the risk of errors or inaccuracies will increase too.
If you want to become more efficient, stop multi-tasking, and devote your attention to one task at a time. This will allow you to focus more fully and complete the task more quickly. Furthermore, you’ll be less likely to make mistakes, which means your accuracy and productivity will improve too.
Digitize In-House Processes
If you’re still using paper-based systems, then you’re certainly not operating as efficiently as you could be. When you digitize in-house processes, you can drastically reduce the amount of time it takes to manage a workflow. See how DocuWare digitizes the invoice process to gain insight into the benefits digitization can bring. While invoicing is one important area that can be streamlined with digitization, there are many other processes that can benefit from the same approach.
Digitizing your processes automatically saves you time but it also increases collaboration, allows employees to access data in real-time, and makes it easier to monitor workflows. When you can see which members of staff have accessed a file at a glance, for example, you’ll know exactly what stage of the workflow a particular project is at. This ensures you can manage time more effectively and foster a more efficient set of workflows.
Turn Off Notifications
Whether it’s an incoming phone call, a new email, or a social media pop-up, there are endless notifications that can interfere with your day and disrupt your train of thought. Even if you ignore the notification, the noise and awareness will impact what you’re doing and reduce your efficiency.
Turning off your notifications might seem like a simple way to improve efficiency but it’s remarkably effective. By minimizing distractions, you’ll be able to focus on the task at hand and avoid being distracted. This means you can complete tasks more quickly and, therefore, operate at a higher efficiency level.
Use Time Management Software
If you want to become a time management pro, then using dedicated software will help you to achieve your goals. By inputting tasks and projects into the platform, you can monitor your performance and keep track of where you’re at. You can also use visual stimulus to motivate you into using your time more productively.
However, time management software isn’t only useful for monitoring your own efficiency. It’s also a great way to ensure your workers are operating efficiently too. Monitoring multiple projects and employees can be tricky. In fact, it can add a significant amount of work to your day. By using time management software, however, you can follow the progress of y0ur employees and yourself in seconds and identify potential issues or delays before they occur. This allows you to take action swiftly and maximize efficiency at every juncture.
Take Regular Breaks
When you’ve got a million things to get through, putting in long hours and refusing to take a break might seem like the best way to get everything done. As a business owner, you’ll be acutely aware that the ultimate responsibility for getting things done lies with you, which may make it tempting to work excessively with little respite.
Of course, this is rarely a recipe for success. If you don’t take regular breaks, your level of concentration will naturally fall. This means you’ll take longer to complete individual tasks and your level of accuracy might drop too.
In the long-term, working excessively without taking routine breaks can increase your stress levels and make you more prone to executive burnout. By factoring regular breaks into your day, however, you can re-energize, step away from your desk and resume working when you’re able to fire on all cylinders.
Cut Out Meetings
If you have daily or weekly meetings simply because that’s what you’ve always done, it’s time to stop. In most cases, scheduling meetings is an inefficient use of your time. Typically, any information conveyed in a meeting-style setting could be communicating in a fraction of the time via email, phone, or a quick face-to-face conversation.
As meetings often include heads of department, managers, and key personnel, they cost a significant amount and take critical members of your team away from their day-to-day tasks. By cutting out meetings completely, you’ll find that staff will still collaborate when it’s necessary to do so but won’t waste their time attending a meeting because they’re expected to.
If you don’t feel ready to get rid of meetings completely, switch from boardroom meetings to stand-up meetings. By doing so, you’ll reduce the time each meeting takes and ensure that everyone is able to deal with important matters in a more efficient and effective way.
When you’re first starting out as a business owner, you often take on tasks that aren’t really in your remit. If you don’t have a full team to support you, for example, you might move from sales and marketing to IT support in the space of a morning!
As your enterprise grows, however, you should have more support from employees, freelancers, and subcontractors. When you do, it’s important to recognize and trust in their ability to complete the tasks you’ve set for them.
Attempting to micromanage your team means you’re wasting your own time, which inevitably has a negative impact on efficiency levels. Furthermore, no-one enjoys being micromanaged, so your actions could have a negative effect on employee morale and satisfaction too. When employees aren’t happy at work, their efficiency and productivity levels drop.
By taking a step back and trusting your team to perform, you can enhance efficiency across the entire organization and cultivate an empowering and motivating working environment.
Set Clear Goals
If you don’t have clear goals to work towards, you’ll struggle to operate efficiently. Instead, your work days will become a mix of completing tasks that need to be done and undertaking jobs you think should be done. Often, this means that core business functions get overlooked or don’t get given the time they deserve.
Setting goals allows you to drive your business forward with clear targets in mind. If you want to grow your business, for example, you may aim to increase profitability by 10% over the next quarter. Alternatively, you may want to expand into different geographical regions over the next two years.
Whatever your commercial goals are, break them down into smaller targets. This will give you and your team consistent aims to work towards and encourage you to operate with maximum efficiency.
Making Time Work for You
If you regularly get to the end of the day and wonder where the time’s gone, you’re not alone. Instead of trying to cram more into your day, aim to work smarter. By delegating tasks when you can, improving your focus, and streamlining your workflows, for example, you can make major improvements to how efficient your organization is. By doing so, you’ll see just easy it can be to reduce waste, boost productivity, and optimize your profitability.