By | Samantha Higgins
The speed in which your business can complete vital processes, like order fulfillment or product R&D, dictates how fast you can scale it. Unfortunately, there isn’t a red pill or a magic button that can instantly speed these things up. There are, however, realistic and sustainable ways to do it. Here’s five of them:
Remove Productivity Zappers
Look for and eradicate all tasks that affect your workforce’s productivity. This includes but is not limited to unnecessary meetings, excessive email notifications regarding non-work content, status updates on social media, gossip, smoke breaks, etcetera. Although these things seem harmless individually, they can add up to hundreds of wasted hours and manpower every year. In fact, according to a recent Human Resource survey, as much as 94 minutes are wasted per employee per hour. And that does not factor in lunch or short breaks throughout the 8-hour work shift.
Establish a Reward System
Reinforce new workplace restrictions, such as website blockers, with a positive reward system. This pulls focus from the new workplace restrictions you just enforced and makes it about something positive. A reward system can be as simple as discount coupons to their chosen merchants or something as extravagant as a paid vacation in some remote island. In addition to a reward system, promote from within. A pay bump or even just a new job title can have a great impact on employee morale and productivity. That being said, make sure it’s not just about the money. Reward your employees with praise as well as prestige. You can feature employees who exceed their quota on the company newsletter or website.
Upgrade Your Tools and Services
Any improvements in how efficient your labor force moves can be negated by outdated tools and equipment used in the workplace. From an outdated version of MS Office that takes minutes to load to high-cost merchant accounts that accept limited payment methods, this can severely impact how an employee can complete his/her workload. Upgrade your MS Office suite and look for a low-cost merchant services account that gives you state-of-the-art payment processing capabilities. Giving your employees easy-to-use and innovative tools empowers them to build more proprietary tools that your business can use. It enables them to pursue and build on ideas that can help bring value to your customers and business.
Automate Your Workload
Any task or process that is compatible with an artificial intelligence solution should be automated. The most common example of AI taking over mundane and repetitive tasks is in a business website’s help desk. Chatbots are now being employed to greet, inform, and answer any general inquiries that visitors have. This enables 24/7 customer support with minimal to no human intervention needed. Other processes you can automate include administrative functions, such as auto-renewal of service contracts that your business uses, employee shift scheduling, customer support ticketing, etcetera. Automation doesn’t just speed up your business processes; it also yields more predictable and consistent results by eliminating the risk of human error.
Tear Down Barriers
Office workflow can be bogged down by barriers, both physical and digital. Teams that have intersecting projects and objectives may find it difficult to collaborate and hit their respective milestones if they don’t know the work progress being done by one another. This is especially common in businesses that have teams in different regions and time zones. Build a centralized workflow or platform where your employees can access the data they need in real-time without having to ask other employees for it or having to physically obtain a copy themselves. Up-to-date information, including emails, documents, spreadsheets, and decks should be all in one place. This offers a big-picture view of critical information in real-time, enabling executives to make better decisions faster.
Any modifications done to speed up your business processes should be planned for meticulously to avoid any undesired side effects to the existing parts of your operation that are running without issues. If you switch to a cheaper database management system, for instance, you’d want the system to be intuitive and easy to learn otherwise retraining costs and productivity losses due to the complexity of the new system could eat up any savings that you hoped to secure.