You only have so much time in the day, so you need to ensure your work processes are effective.
If your employees are focussed on the wrong things or twiddling their thumbs and not doing very much, you are losing efficiency.
When time is wasted, you lose money, so steps need to be made to counter any problems that are stopping your employees from working to their best standards, in the limited time frame you have.
We have some advice in this article that will help you do just that, no matter what business you are operating. Follow our tips below.
Timetable your employee’s day
Negate the problem of them not having enough to do, or the dilemma where they don’t know what they should be doing next, by setting each of them a timetable.
From the moment they walk in the door to the moment they leave, set up something on Excel, letting them know what tasks have to be completed.
You will need to factor in times for breaks, of course, and you will also need to be realistic with your time frame. Overload your employees days and they may not be able to complete everything within a satisfactory level, due to tiredness and strict deadlines.
For this reason, you should also monitor the effects of the timetabling process, ensuring they are designed according to your employees’ capabilities, and have 1:1 meetings with your employees to ensure they are comfortable with the workload they have been given.
Cut down on meetings
If there is little need for a meeting, don’t hold one. Why waste time when there are more important things to be done? Certain things can be communicated in other ways, without getting everybody away from what they are doing and into an office for a briefing.
You could manage your employees through cloud-based communication tools, as an example. Skype is just one example, a popular tool that can be used by you when needing to communicate with your employees, and used by your employees to communicate with clients, without the need for travelling to meetings away from the workplace environment.
If you do need to hold any face-to-face meetings, do these at the start and end of the day, to minimise a dip in productivity levels.
Meetings can be a distraction, though sometimes a necessary one. However, there are all those other distractions that could be spoiling the efficiency of your employees.
Office banter is a time waster when not relegated to the break room. Personal phone calls should be banned from working hours. Social media should be blocked from employees computers unless they are using it for marketing purposes.
And sorry to say it, but you may also be a distraction, especially if you take on a David Brent (tv’s The Office) model of management and spend too much time out of your office and engaging in needless banter with your staff.
Know your employee’s skill set
It’s no good giving tasks to an employee who is under qualified or untrained in that particular area. Work won’t be completed to an acceptable standard, or the employee may take longer than needed getting the task done.
You will also breed employee unhappiness. Therefore, get to know your employees, and find out where their talents lie. Efficiency can be vastly improved when everybody is doing what they do well, and their happiness levels should rise as a result.
You should also focus on training, ensuring everybody is capable of doing those tasks that are a necessary aspect of their job.
And by smart, we are talking about SMART goals, ensuring the goals you set are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely.
Again, this goes back to the timetabling we mentioned earlier, ensuring your employees have achievable targets each day.
Your employees also need to know why they are doing what they are doing, giving them a valid reason for reaching that particular goal. This will give them a better sense of purpose and should improve their efficiency level.
Deal with employee laziness
It’s sad to say, but some employees efficiency suffers because of their own bad behaviour. Arriving at work late, leaving early, not carrying out set duties in a timely manner, are just some of the behaviours that can become habitual if not dealt with.
As the boss, you need to clamp down on any of these behaviours that are inhibiting the efficiency in the office. Hold a 1:1 meeting with the employee, refer to discipline procedures set down in any policies you have and monitor their performance until they are finally back on track.
Offer your employees an incentive
Laziness isn’t always the problem, but your employees may not be working to their full capacity for any number of reasons. This includes having no pride in their work, perhaps because they don’t have any encouragement from yourself.
It doesn’t take a lot to say thank you for a job well done, and there are other ways you can reward your employees without breaking the bank by doing so.
A simple ’employee of the week’ may be just what they need, a handwritten note of praise, or a little extra in their pay packet if they have excelled themselves at work.
Cut down on your employee’s workload
While there are tasks that designated to each employee, there may be jobs they do each day that could be better placed elsewhere.
Certain tasks could be delegated to those members of staff who have less workloads, for example, or you may consider outsourcing some of your work processes to an outside agency; those people who have the requisite amount of time to complete the task to the best possible quality.
Develop your employees
We have already advocated training, but there are other ways to develop your employees. On both a personal level and professional level, there may be workshops and seminars available that will improve their skill set and their work ethics.
Some employees may need specific coaching, not only within work processes, but also personal skills, such as building up their confidence.
By developing your employees, you will have a group of people who not only perform better at work, but who feel encouraged that you have taken time to consider their various needs.
Allow your employees to work from home
This doesn’t have to be every day, but one or two days of the week may be helpful to them. Admittedly, you will need to trust them to get their work done, but there are advantages to home-working that can improve their efficiency.
They won’t have to waste time commuting, for example, and they may also feel less stressed when allowed to work in the comforts of their home environment.
Not every job is suited to home-working of course, but those who normally work in an office space should be able to manage this well, especially with the range of cloud services that can ensure communication flows between home and the regular workplace.
We recommend Sling, as one example, a powerful communication tool also useful for creating your own staff scheduling template, letting you (and other members of staff) know where your employees are at any given time, be they working from home or working in the office.
For a business to be successful, employee care is paramount. When your staff are overworked or mismanaged, efficiency will drop.
By employing some or all of the tips we have given, you should see noticeable changes in staff performance, and as a result, better profits and happier staff and customers.