In any business, managers are challenged to strike the difficult balance between keeping employees happy and trying to get the most of their workforce.
Instead of micromanaging or overworking your employees, trying to find ways to improve and streamline office processes will make your employees’ jobs easier. It’s all about working smarter, not harder.
Let’s take a closer look at what many successful companies have already discovered about increasing productivity that has helped impact the bottom line.
Large-scale assignments can seem overwhelming, and this is especially true when a small group of employees is carrying the weight of a project on their shoulders.
Using an all-hands-on-deck approach fosters an inclusive, collaborative environment and helps your most valuable employees spend more time on problem-solving and big-picture decisions. However, it’s important to grant employees true autonomy, by setting expectations and giving them the freedom to control their budget and get things done for you.
You pay your most talented, experienced employees more money for a reason. Instead of them spending time on the minutiae, devise a system where interns or less experienced employees can take care of the grunt work.
While teamwork can expedite a project, it’s important to stay organized. Setting objectives and benchmarks for each individual keeps your workforce forging ahead and ensures work isn’t being repeated.
If you’re building a house, you can’t start the framework until you’ve laid the foundation. This order of operations is true of any project. Therefore, it’s wise to plan ahead and figure out all of the details of a project and set a schedule that keeps employees accountable and productive.
One effective strategy is setting weekly or monthly goals and list tasks in order of importance to help the most essential jobs get finished sooner. You can also set up automatic task creation through CRM platforms and marketing automation.
What good would a carpenter be without his tools? In the same vein, it’s important to keep desk areas organized for maximum productivity.
Arranging work areas to be less distracting while providing the tools your employees need to complete their tasks sets you up for streamlined success. For example, professional organizers recommend only keeping supplies you use every day on your desk with items you use less often stored away in drawers.
Organization is key to keeping your workplace running smoothly, and that means having enough supplies on hand without wasting precious operational funds on overstock. Continually, monitor your usage to know how much and when to order supplies.
For small business owners who aren’t yet ready for enterprise-level solutions, specialized software is still affordable when you consider open-source or freemium options. For instance, instead of QuickBooks, an SMB could use GnuCash for accounting. Bacula could take care of file management and backup, while Alfresco could be used for content management.
While some might view taking breaks as wasting company time, studies have shown that taking short breaks every hour leads to greater productivity. The human brain can easily become overstimulated, so frequent breaks help recharge it, boosting creativity and attention to detail.
Google is one example of a company leading the break time revolution. The tech giant offers sleeping pods for employees to take power naps. Additionally, Google campuses have play areas, outdoor terraces, and a library with a secret room behind a bookshelf that leads to a private reading area. It’s this type of work environment that keeps employees happy to come in on Monday mornings.
While you might not have it in your budget to afford a full-time barista, like Google, employees tend to work harder for companies that treat them well and reward talent.
While your business might be the central focus of your life, this isn’t necessarily the case for every employee. Setting up productive workflows and creating the type of work environment that keeps workers engaged and happy is important to a company’s long-term growth.
Before you hire someone new, be sure that you’re getting everything you can out of your existing workforce through effective organization and systems. After all, when it becomes time to add employees, it’s better to bring someone into an office that’s running like a well-oiled machine.
Lauren Keys is editor-in-chief at DealCrunch.com, an online publication that highlights the retail industry’s movers and shakers, up-and-coming startups, influencers, business solutions, and more. With deep dives into brands and trends, DealCrunch keeps retail executives — from marketing and logistics leads to administrative and business development heads — informed of relevant industry news.