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Improving Your Company’s Productivity

September 24, 2015
Small Business

In recent months, a slump in the US productivity rate has been reported, and this current trend is threatening the US economy. If you want your business to be successful, you need to ensure that you are increasing your productivity.

Better Productivity = Organisational Growth

An increase in productivity has several known benefits for your business, including:

•       An increase in income/profitability.

•       Reduction in operating costs.

•       Maximisation of business’ resources.

•       Increased share of the market.

•       More funds to invest into business growth.

However, there are other benefits to gain from higher productivity, such as a greater pull for inward investment and better brand reputation.

Looking for ways to improve company productivity must always be a priority for any business and the management teams within it. Yet it must also be the responsibility of individual members of staff. If they aren’t convinced to change behaviors to produce more, you won’t increase your business’ productivity.

So how can you instigate a culture in your workplace where people strive to increase their productivity? Here are some simple solutions.

1. Changing one Disruption at a Time

Changing several undesirable behaviors at any one time can result in disruption to productivity, either the changes aren’t made, or workers will quickly slip back into old habits. However, if staff can change one behavior at a time, they can increase their productivity slowly but sustainably.

Concentrate on giving your employees one habit to change during a feedback session. Then during the next meeting, you can review the results. If possible, ensure the change is not a behavior to be removed but replaced instead.

2. Healthy Minds, From Healthy Snacks

Do you provide vending machines in your workplace? Do they offer caffeine or sugar fueled snacks? These can be detrimental to productivity levels as consuming these products in the morning will lead to lower levels of productivity in the afternoon.

Swap your current food options with a healthier selection for your staff. The results will be more than worth the extra investment.

3. Create a To-Do List for Staff

All employees should be provided with a to-do list, in advance, every day, so they aren’t waiting around for tasks. The list should have a priority listing and timings.

To-do lists help with morale. When staff can see that their efforts are reducing their to-do lists, they will feel happier about their work. This leads to a positive attitude and better productivity levels.

If staff are working on a long-term project use management software with clear timelines, so everyone knows what is expected of them and by when. Make sure everyone uses the software, so projects run as smoothly as possible.

4. Reduce Meetings

Meetings are an invaluable way to communicate certain messages and ideas about your business. However, they are also a drain on your resources and time. Instead, reserve meetings for when they are essential and conduct most conversations via email or phone.

When meetings do need to be held, keep them short, ensure all information is distributed before the meeting, limit those involved to those who are needed and impose strict rules on what is to be discussed. This way, you minimize the time spent at meetings which can be put to better use.

5. Encourage Work on the go

Commuting time is often wasted. Yet this is the perfect opportunity for you and your staff to do some of the more mundane tasks such as emailing, creating to-do lists and reviewing progress reports. Encourage staff to use this time wisely to reduce time wastage in the office.

6. Five-Minute Breaks

Try to encourage your staff and instigate moments within your own work day to have several five-minutes rest. These should be spread out about every 25 to 45 minutes during the day. During this time, you could grab a drink, get up from your desk or focus on something else other than a screen.

This stops your mind from becoming bored and keeps you and your staff fresh. Therefore, productivity levels don’t drop.

7. Move Your Body

If you continually sit at your desk, you can reduce the blood-flow to your brain. You can avoid this by doing 15 minutes of physical activity to stimulate the blood-flow. This doesn’t mean you can’t be productive to this time. You could try working at a standing desk, doing some physical warm-ups before any meetings or have shorter meetings while on the move.

Alternatively, create a games room in the building that has fun activities for staff to do, for example table football, table tennis and games consoles.

8. Manage Your Inbox

Email is a fantastic way to communicate with your staff, customers and suppliers. But it can also be a distraction that can cost you and your staff precious time throughout the day. Most people check their emails several times a day.

The problem is that most of your value adding activities take place outside of your email inbox. Therefore, you need to reduce the time you spend on your emails.

Only check emails at certain times of the day. Then ensure all activities and decisions have been made when you read them – so you aren’t tempted to go back and act later.

9. Use the Right Language

How we talk to ourselves can increase or decrease our productivity levels. If you want to have high levels of productivity you need to be motivating yourself. Therefore, switch your language from “I’ve got to,” to “I get to.”

At the same time, you should be asking yourself questions to help you motivate and direct your activities. Two questions that you should be asking for every task is:

•       What is the next action that can create momentum?

•       How will I know when the task is finished – what are the measurable results?

Make The Change

The US’ productivity levels are decreasing and threatening the economy. You can help change this by thinking outside the box and amend the working behaviors of your staff.

Even the smallest change can make a significant difference to productivity levels, and the better they get, the higher the value of your business.

Christopher Ragain, CPA

Christopher Ragain, CPA is the founder of Halon Tax and one of the industries top authorities on micro-business taxation and tax planning.

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