Workplace efficiency isn’t just getting the most output from the least input—it’s producing quality work from smart methods. Though efficiency lies in the contribution of each employee, there are things that business owners, employers, and managers can do to create an environment that allows people to work more productively.
Here are some ways to improve efficiency in the workplace:
Set Clear and Realistic Goals
Being clear about goals at the beginning of the job or project helps inform and focus the priorities of employees. They figure out what needs to be done and put their efforts into achieving that. This holds true for all levels of employees, from virtual assistants to in-person managers.
It’s not enough to be clear though; goals also have to be attainable. Knowing that they can reach targets empowers them to be accountable and do their jobs well.
Encourage Personal Work Styles
Similar to how people learn differently, employees also work best following their personal work style. For example, some people are more productive with music playing in the background; others need complete silence to focus. Instead of creating a set working environment, encourage employees to customize their own spaces to work for them so they can be at their best.
That said, do discourage multi-tasking. Give employees a space that allows them to focus and reduce distractions (e.g. limit Internet access to prevent excessive social media use) where you can.
Map Workplace Processes
Many times, poor workplace processes hinder efficiency. Map out your current workflow and work with your team to identify pain points in the process. These can include multiple layers of approvals, too-long lead times, and the like. Reduce these bottlenecks so that the pipeline runs more seamlessly.
Delegate Tasks Properly
Delegating tasks ensures that everybody is contributing a fair amount of work toward a common goal. That said, being fair doesn’t always mean giving the same amount of work to each employee. When approaching delegation of tasks, match objectives and workload to the skills and experiences of each person to ensure that everyone is working at the same level.
Allow Flexible Work Hours
It’s been proven that flexible working hours and work-from-home settings have helped to increase productivity in companies—it’s especially seen in remote teams. Give your employees the chance to choose when and from where they do their work, at least a couple of times a week. This can help them feel refreshed for the next time they have to focus on a task.
Outdated technology can hinder efficiency in the workplace by slowing down tasks and processes. Keep up-to-date with the latest hardware and software, making sure to equip your employees with the tools they need to perform their jobs productively.
Communication is key in the workplace so managers must encourage open and timely communication between employees. Invest in tools such as Slack, where people can talk to each other about work without the logistics of having to go to another person’s desk or schedule a meeting.
Give Feedback and Training
The feedback process is essential in promoting efficiency because it aims to improve productivity issues and allow employees to grow in their professional careers. Check in with your team frequently, listen to their feedback, and be accountable for action points that follow.
Additionally, invest in training your team to be better at their jobs, whether through seminars or sponsored educational opportunities.
Remove Unnecessary Work
Unnecessary tasks can distract employees from working toward their goal or the company’s “big picture.” Reducing to-do’s that have little to no relation to their targets will help keep them focused and efficient. Some examples of unnecessary work include writing reports that won’t be read.
Take a look at tasks assigned to employees and see if they’re putting too much effort into things that don’t help them reach their goals; then take those out.
Similarly, avoid robbing your employees of time that could have otherwise been spent being productive. This applies especially to meetings that could’ve been an email, instead.
Incentivize Good Work
Recognize and reward good work when it happens. Encourage the behavior by providing incentives to employees when they reach certain targets and milestones. These actions add another level of motivation to be better.
Workplace efficiency lies in the ability of employees to do their work productively. That said, business owners, employers, and managers can help employees perform at their best by creating seamless work processes, fostering a work-conducive environment, and improving their job satisfaction through feedback, mentorship and technology.