Improving productivity and efficiency is a primary goal for many businesses. You want to be able to do more work in the same amount of time, as this will lead to higher profits and more business growth. Lack of productivity is such an issue that, according to Gallup, businesses lost more than $7 trillion combined due to poor productivity.
The problem is, it’s not always easy to figure out how to improve your efficiency. There are so many facets of your business, how do you know which ones to focus on for the best results? Luckily, there are simple things you can do that tend to yield better results than others. If you’re looking for ways to boost your business’s productivity and efficiency in 2021, here are some hacks to try.
Adjust the Work Environment
A simple place to start is the environment of your business. A few simple changes can make a big difference and they are changes you may not have even considered. For example, one study found that 53% of employees reported being less productive when their environment is too cold. Therefore, simply adjusting the heat a degree or two could improve productivity.
You could also allow your employees to listen to music while they work. 71% of people in this survey said this made them more productive. Or you could allow each employee to design their own personal workspace, as this study from the University of Exeter found that it boosted productivity by 32%. The point is, try adjusting your employee’s work environment, see if it results in a productivity boost, then continue to try new things.
Automate What You Can
Technology tools are now able to handle complex tasks we once had to do by hand. If there are tasks within your business that take a long time for your employees to accomplish, you should look for a way to automate them. For example, you can use automated expense reporting software to save your employees the need from sending them out themselves. Now a task that once took hours is done in a matter of minutes, allowing your employees to work on other tasks during their newfound free time.
Another great area to automate is customer service. If your customers can get more assistance without having to talk to an agent, this will significantly reduce their workload. A great way to do this is by adding a chatbot to your website. A chatbot allows your customers to “talk” with an automated system that reads their inquiries and responds with a pre-planned response. A chatbot can then answer the most common questions and only pass on those more complicated issues to your customer support team.
These are just two examples of how you can automate things within your business. Take the time to analyze which tasks take the longest or use up the most resources. If you can find a software option to automate these processes for you, you’ll likely find an immediate productivity boost.
Improve Team Communication
Team communication is at the heart of all efficiency within a business. If your team can’t communicate properly with one another, it will slow everything else down. To that end, there are two things you should focus on to improve communication.
The first is the software that you use. Make sure you are using communication software that is perfect for your business. For example, if your employees operate remotely, you’ll want video conferencing software. For those businesses within the same office, you may want instant messaging software that reduces the need for emails.
The other thing to focus on is the bond between your employees. Your team should feel comfortable communicating with one another, regardless of the method of communication. A great way to improve productivity is by hosting some team-building events. This encourages open communication, which often results in better and faster results.
It’s especially important to focus on team-building if you have a lot of employees. Team building for large groups takes a bit more effort to put together, but it’s well worth it in the end. After conducting a few of these sessions, your employees will feel more comfortable with one another, improving the communication flow throughout the business.
Reduce the Number of Meetings
A simple way to improve productivity is by having your employees attend fewer meetings. Look to only hold meetings when they are absolutely necessary. For each meeting, you should have a specific purpose and agenda to go through. Planning out your meetings beforehand, and limiting their number in the first place, allows your employees to spend more time on their work rather than wasting time in a meeting that could have easily passed as an email.
Offer Positive Reinforcement
Finally, look to provide your employees with positive reinforcement. You should make it your goal as a manager to ensure that your employees are showing up to work for more than just their salary. Look to create an environment where good work is rewarded and employees are made to feel like a part of the team.
A simple way to implement positive reinforcement is by giving out prizes or gifts for good results. For example, if a salesperson closes a big deal, you could give them a gift card as a sign of appreciation. Or, if a customer service representative receives strong feedback from customers, you could reward them with a bonus at the end of the quarter. The more positive reinforcement you show your employees, the more they will want to produce better results.
Always Look for Ways to Improve
The key to improving business productivity and efficiency is to always be on the lookout for better methods. Implementing the above strategies may yield you better results but that doesn’t mean they are the best. Try out new things, measure your results, then try something else. Also, gather feedback from your employees to see what they think they need for better productivity. By creating an environment that is always looking to improve, you make it less likely that your business will become stagnate, and instead, it will constantly be on the rise towards better efficiency.