productivity tips

Having a truly efficient organisation is one of the easiest and most effective ways of getting ahead of the competition and being successful in your industry. With the same number of staff and resources at your disposal as every other competing company, you will find that greater efficiency allows you to get more done, secure more clients and achieve higher profit margins. At SmartPA, we allow businesses to delegate tasks that are decreasing their productivity levels and instead let their team focus on their responsibilities. So to help you further streamline your business and get ahead in your industry, here are six productivity mistakes your business may be making, and how you can fix them today.

1. A lack of systems

Problem

If you feel like there is little coherence in the way that you and your team deals with day-to-day tasks and problems, then it’s more than likely that your business as a whole is running far less efficiently than it could be. With no common way of doing things, it is not only difficult to train staff, but it’s awkward for members of your team to keep on top of what needs to be done and who is currently running part of a project.

Solution

Every business looking to run at optimal productivity needs every member of that organisation working in the same manner and in the same direction. Installing good systems early on is an effective way to do exactly that. It means that everyone approaches a project or problem in the same manner, and any other team member looking in can quickly get up to speed with what’s going on. Systems are particularly useful for helping to log and oversee any issues and problems that arise. Having them all in one place, together with a good way of organising and dealing with them will mean that problems get dealt with faster.

2. Putting off tasks

Problem

If people in your company get stuck in the mantra of putting off important or boring tasks until later in the day, this can have serious negative impacts on those around them. For example, if three people are waiting on the response or approval of a senior team member to go ahead and get started on a project, then they will be sat idly around with nothing to do and wasting time and resources.

Solution

Instil a culture within the company to deal with all seemingly small tasks as quickly as possible. If it takes less than two minutes to achieve, then it should be done as soon as it crops up. These small tasks shouldn’t distract you too much from what you are working on but can help many other staff members get to work.

3. Passing a job on

Problem

With a lack of authority or decisive initiative, vital tasks often get passed on further down the line for someone else to deal with. This means that time-sensitive, or just generally important tasks, get left in progress for longer than is necessary and slows down the efficiency of the company in general.

Solution

Empower your staff members to be aware that they are a part of something bigger than just themselves and give them the ability to act decisively and on their own initiative when a task is placed in front of them. You will grow a more confident and independent team to drive the company forward.

4. No common objective

Problem

You should think very critically about your business as to whether you truly believe everyone shares a common goal or mission for why they come to work every day. In many cases, employers find that their staff are simply there for the money or personal objectives, which is not good news for the business. They will be more focused on achieving their own means rather than seeking to act in the company's best interest and develop new opportunities. This can destroy their productivity as they are far less motivated to do what the company needs.

Solution

The best way to get everyone working in the company’s best interests is to encourage and invest in everyone’s opinions and ideas. Everyone involved in the company should have a say in the culture of the organisation and what they want to achieve. If you can then get a team of staff who are seeking to work for the company’s best interest rather than their own, then they will be far more motivated and productive in carrying out their daily tasks and doing what the business needs to thrive.

5. Over-reliance on meetings

Problem

How many company meetings do you hold where, at many stages, only 2 or 3 people are involved in major topics of discussion? The answer here is almost all of them. Businesses rely on having lots of meetings to take stock of where everyone is at and discuss problems or plans going forward. This is good, but if some of the people present aren’t truly necessary but just want to feel valued, then it is a waste of their time and the work they could be doing.

Solution

This solution comes back to the idea of breeding independence and decisiveness within your team. So instead of making all meetings compulsory, offer employees the chance to decline if they don’t feel it is truly beneficial to their work. Instead, ask someone at the meeting to jot down briefly what was discussed and the takeaway points, and then email it to everyone not present. Those individuals can then catch up via the email notes and if they need any further information they can speak to an attendee. With fewer people at each meeting, you should start to see productivity and focus picking up during those sessions as well.

6. Poor work/life balance

Problem

Gaining commitment from your employees towards your business is fantastic, and those willing to put in extra hours to get the work done is great. However, it can be easy to fall into the mistake of blurring the lines between work life and home life. If employees are expected to receive and respond to emails at any time of the day, and to stay late most evenings, or pull all-nighters, then you can expect to see burn out. This will ultimately kill their long-term productivity and encourages a work for work’s sake mantra.

Solution

You need to define clear boundaries between when employees are expected to work and when they should be at home with their families relaxing. Praise their commitment and determination towards finishing projects and pleasing clients, but make it clear that you respect their privacy and so should they. Instead, help them optimise their ability to get work done in the office, and let them go home to get refreshed every evening for the next day ahead. This is a much healthier cycle to be in and will mean having staff that are performing efficiently without burning out.

Kerbing these major productivity mistakes is going to require one crucial element; initiative. It’s time for you to look critically at the way your company is performing and identify these productivity killers. Once you do spot them, it’s time to take the necessary steps to correct them and get everyone back on track. It may take some work and repetition to put these new rules in place, but a few months down the line, once you’re reaping the rewards of a much smoother business, you will thank yourself for the work you put in to make the change.