While lots of people boast that they put in more than 40 hours in a week, we shouldn’t be rewarding peoples’ inefficiency. In most workplaces, spending 10 more hours a week than everyone else shouldn’t be a badge of honor, but a wakeup call. When everyone is working more than 40 hours a week, it means you need to increase efficiency.
Here are 5 ways you could improve the efficiency of your work environment
Encourage One-on-One Meetings
While sitting around a table with nine people all spitballing ideas can be an inefficient use of time for some companies, meetings aren’t all bad. When you’re trying to get something done, sending a million texts is wildly inefficient. Waiting around to get an answer when you hit a roadblock can be a serious time suck.
Rather than troubleshooting problems or hammering out last minute details over piecemeal texts and chats, just have employees sit down and talk. Face-to-face conversations, even over Skype, can get more done faster than text-based communication.
Even just a phone call can help people know the tone of voice and intensity of a question. When you read a stiff email from a colleague, you might not get the sense of urgency needed for solving a problem.
Sending 20 emails isn’t efficient in any part of the universe. Rather than having to comb messages, have them take some notes, write down the questions they need to be answered and run through everything in person.
If you want people to complete their tasks efficiently, you can’t interrupt them every few minutes.
When people are constantly interrupted, they will have a difficult time staying focused on a task.
Try to schedule all of the meetings you need to have in a single day. Rather than having to interrupt them every hour or two for a meeting, they would be better served by having large chunks of time to get through the work that’s piling up for them.
Uninterrupted blocks of time are the best thing for creative minds and for hammering out difficult technical tasks.
Keep track of how many emails you find yourself sending too. Keep yourself from sending dozens of email alerts throughout the day or chats that can interrupt workflow. Don’t make every message urgent or you’ll find that your employees will start treating every message as equally irrelevant.
Hold a Daily Scrum or Huddle
You should keep a handle on the kinds of long meetings that can break up a work day and throw a wrench in productivity. You should also consider a 10-minute company meeting at the top of every day.
There are so many things that happen across a company in the course of a day that people can’t stay on top of. Rather than having every department send out an email, just have everyone around to hear what’s going on for 10 minutes. This way, there’s a lack of space for misunderstanding and no way anyone can say they missed an email.
If someone has been holding on to information they forgot to share or a project that’s been put on hold, they can be alerted when it moves forward. So many unnecessary meetings will be avoided if you give a rundown of what’s going on at the start of every work day.
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Single-Task over Multi-Task
Everyone likes to think they can multi-task. Friends and family will text while you’re having a conversation and make you repeat everything you say. People will try to have 12 tabs running at the same time in a browser.
While it might seem like it’s possible to walk and chew gum, you’re likely to one better than the others. Throw in a juggling act and you’re asking for trouble. You need to educate your employees on single-tasking.
Have your employees focus on completing one basic task at a time rather than trying to manage a handful. While this might not be second nature to you, as most companies require several fires to be running at the same time, it’s up to you to do the management. Leave your employees to single tasks and rest assured you’ll get better results.
Uninterrupted work and focus on a single project at a time can lead your employees to give you reliably good results every time. You might even find that you’ll get the work done faster when it’s not spread out over such a long period of time.
Knowing When To Stop
Every good craftsperson, artist, or computer programmer knows that you need to know when to call it quits for a day. Knowing when to stop is as important as having the skills to do the job.
The moment your productivity begins to taper off, you’re losing money, wasting time, and opening up the possibility of making mistakes. Working when you’re tired, hungry, uncomfortable, or distracted immediately impacts your productivity levels.
Having 5 hours of 100% productivity is far superior to 10 hours of 50% productivity. While you might think you’ll get the same in the end, your work will be riddled with issues, errors, and problems.
While not every process and project can be stopped at quitting time, project managers and leaders need to know when to send staff home. Exhausting people on a project will keep them from bringing new ideas or being able to problem solve in innovative ways.
You Can Increase Efficiency By Example
If you know when to stop, when to ask for help, and when to find the right person to talk to, you’ll help change the culture at work. It can be hard to increase efficiency when people have grown accustomed to working inefficiently. The best way to do it is to show people your success through action.
If simplifying your business could impact productivity, check out our guide for tips.