7 Hacks for Improving Efficiency in the Workplace in 2020
Improving efficiency in the workplace is about your employees working smarter, not harder. Nor is it enough to “crack down” on employee efficiency.
It’s important to take a well-rounded view on all the factors affecting employee productivity such as the work environment, job satisfaction and effective leadership. Our seven hacks below will help you find the right tools and strategies to boost employee morale and engagement and increase efficiency at your company.
In this article, we’ll cover:
- Allow Flexible Work Hours
- Update Your Technology
- Map Processes
- Encourage Team Building
- Foster a Happy Work Environment
- Stop with the Meeting Madness
- Find Ways to Automate
1. Allow Flexible Work Hours
Flexible work hours lets employees work when they’re the most productive and efficient—whether that’s late at night or early in the day. Giving employees the ability to choose their hours will also make them happier and more likely to stick to work-related tasks when they’re on the job.
You might even consider making your team completely remote, or at least offering more work from home days. Having a remote team improves productivity by 13 percent, according to Entrepreneur.
You wouldn’t be alone; startups and online businesses like Zapier and Groove have fully remote teams. Nixing commuting saves employees lots of time and gives them a more comfortable place to do their work.
Tip: If you suspect work from home productivity is dipping, try having employees use a time tracking tool like Time Doctor.
2. Update Your Technology
Research technology developments in your industry and put in place any that will increase work efficiency. Buying iPads for your employees can help them work on the go, especially if they’re working from home. Or use an iPad system in your reception to help receive packages and notify employees of guests quickly and easily.
Tip: Try a virtual whiteboard like Jamboard from Google during your conference calls. Consider giving employees a headphone allowance to let them concentrate.
3. Map Processes
Inefficient workplace processes can make normally efficient workers into frustrated, unproductive ones. Map your processes to see if there’s anything unnecessary that’s slowing down productivity. Change these processes or eliminate them altogether.
Tip: Try mapping a workplace process in a meeting with sticky notes before you commit it to a program like Microsoft Visio. Input revised and new processes into project management software like Asana so your entire team is onboard.
4. Encourage Team Building
Work productivity increases when employees learn to communicate better. Find ways to get employees to work together as a group on projects or for different departments to improve their flow of information. Team-building activities or off-site adventures are great ways for employees to learn to communicate and work together.
It’s even better if you combine these team building efforts with ways to encourage employees to get active or nurture their overall health—both physical and mental. Healthy employees take fewer sick days and are more productive. Plus, these types of activities help employees bond in a stress-free, fun way that boosts morale and improves engagement, says ProofHub.
Tip: Organize a charity run, a sports day or fitness competition. Get employees to volunteer for a charity effort for an entire day. Or sponsor a wellness day with yoga, massages and workshops as well as a healthy lunch and snacks.
5. Foster a Happy Work Environment
Employees who are happy at work are more efficient with their time, do their jobs better and are more productive overall. They also tend to focus on the task at hand instead of getting distracted by non-work tasks, like checking personal social media accounts.
Start by analyzing your office space, recommends ProofHub. How is the lighting? Invest in better lighting to reduce eye strain as well as blinds for windows to let employees adjust how much natural light they want.
Poll employees about their workspaces—are their chairs comfortable enough? Can you install a couple of standing desks? How about casual areas so employees can work on the couch?
Tip: A quick change in office layout can energize employees. Organize an initiative to declutter and move furniture around (ask employees to collaborate first). Buy plants or new art or decorate for a holiday.
6. Stop with the Meeting Madness
U.S. companies spend over $35 billion on meetings every year and employees spend on average 37 percent of their time in meetings, according to Entrepreneur. Consider if your company has too many meetings—you could be wasting both time and money, not to mention affecting your employees’ happiness.
Having the right project management tools will help eliminate the need for many meetings. Of course there will always be a need for face-to-face meetings, but maybe not so many of them.
Tip: Slack, Asana and Basecamp are all great communication and project management tools that can be used in lieu of meetings.
7. Find Ways to Automate
Multitasking actually hurts productivity. Rotating between different tasks constantly can cause employees to lose 40 percent of their productivity, says Wrike. Here’s where technology can shine and take over small jobs that aren’t as important. Try automating your social media campaigns, using email marketing services that send automated email campaigns and automating your sales and lead-generation work.
People also ask:
- How Can I Work Smarter and Not Harder?
- How Can a Business Be More Efficient?
- How Do You Improve Team Performance?
How Can I Work Smarter and Not Harder?
Here are some suggestions to work smarter and not harder:
- Track your time: Use an app like Rescue Time to see exactly what you’re spending your time on every day.
- Do it in two minutes: If you see a task you can do in two minutes or less, do it now. It’ll take more time to do if you get back to it later.
- Suggest standing meetings: Cut down on meeting time and increase engagement with standing meetings.
- Forget perfection: Perfect is the enemy of done is especially true in the workplace.
- Stop putting out fires: Plan a specific time of day to respond to emails and messages.
- Beautify your work space: Add plants, candles, pictures or whatever else makes you happy. Inc. says an aesthetically-pleasing workspace can up productivity by 15 percent.
- Work for 90 minutes: Work for no more than 90 minutes at a time and then take a break to go for a coffee or walk, stroll around the office or have a quick chat with a coworker. Research has found that top performers are more efficient when they work for 90 minutes tops at a time.
How Can a Business Be More Efficient?
For tips on how a business can be more efficient, consider our seven hacks above.
How Do You Improve Team Performance?
Here are six tips to improve team performance:
- Set team rules: such as no cell phones or laptops at meetings and to respect out of office hours
- Be clear about purpose: always be clear about the purpose of a project or goal and why you’re taking the steps you are to get there
- Reward good work: extra vacation days, bonuses, company-wide emails and in-person congratulations are all good ways to improve team performance
- Encourage use of collaborative spaces: employees need to see senior managers using these informal spaces
- Schedule informal chats: pick up coffee and pastries and have a quick morning meeting or take everyone out for an afternoon coffee
- Focus on strengths, not weaknesses: identify the strengths of each team member and put them to use. This is more effective than focusing on weaknesses.