Some companies spend thousands of dollars annually on projects designed to increase productivity. Ironically, many of these programs actually backfire since they take away resources and personnel from vital business activities.
In fact, quite a few techniques that managers adapt to increase productivity can negatively impact how hard their staffers work. One study claimed that those who multitasked accomplished 40 percent less than those who worked on a single thing at a time. That flies in the face of conventional wisdom, but it makes sense since multitasking increases the risk of making a costly mistake.
Fortunately, you don’t need to hire a consultant or shell out a lot of money to improve your company’s productivity levels. Simply follow a few of these easy hints.
Improving Small Business Productivity the Easy Way
Perhaps the most important place to start is with your own routine. Small business owners often have to do much of their own work themselves. As a result, increasing your own productivity might be the fastest way to turn your business around.
Dmitry Dragilev, the co-founder of JustReachOut, has gone on record saying that starting his day with as few distractions as possible is one of the most important ways to remain productive at work. It costs absolutely nothing to eliminate distractions, yet this simple activity could potentially improve productivity levels more than anything else.
According to Dragilev, he makes sure to open up his laptop and start primary work tools before doing anything else. This ensures that he doesn’t waste time with social media or any other digital distractions. It’s easy to get roped into checking posts or videos when you should be working if you don’t get started right away. By always making sure that you’re free to dedicate yourself to the most important tasks at hand, you won’t risk ending up in an endless cycle of busywork.
You might want to add certain digital tools to your computer’s startup folder, which will ensure that they’re automatically launched when your start your machine. This will keep you from giving yourself excuses for wasting time with other things. If you’re managing machines for several members of your staff, then you can configure all of them to launch important business tools each time they start.
While you’re at it, take a few moments to come up with a list of all of the daily chores you could better manage with automation. Information overload is often one of the biggest problems that can be solved through automation. Some business experts have tackled email-related issues by setting up smart folders in their inboxes. These sort messages based on certain rules, which helps users to keep an eye on their most important missives.
Taking Advantage of Automation
Others have recommended automating maintenance and testing tasks as well as other repetitive chores that are better handled by a machine. Since countless open source automation tools are now available, it shouldn’t be hard to do so without spending a dime.
Even the fanciest automation tools won’t do much for you if don’t have the right plan from the beginning. Implementing a sophisticated project management workflow doesn’t have to cost anything, but it’s a great way to ensure that everyone is always on the same page. If your small business only has a few staffers working at it, then you shouldn’t be afraid to call a meeting with everyone to discuss ways that you can refocus your projects.
The most efficient project management methods don’t even use any specific tools, so you don’t have to spend any money on implementing them. Countless tech companies have switched over to agile design paradigms simply by holding meetings and talking about everyone’s biggest concerns.
That being said, you’ll probably want to invest in some high-quality project management software applications. A number of packages are available on a trial basis, so you can figure out whether or not they’d work for you without ever having to spend any money on them.
As soon as you’ve worked these issues out, you might want to take a closer look at how you schedule activities.
Leveraging the Power of an Efficient Schedule
One study claimed that the average employee is only really productive for less than three hours a day. By scheduling frequent rest periods, you might actually see an increase in these numbers.
Giving your staffers more time to relax might seem counterproductive, but it might be another good way to boost their performance. Individuals with a healthy work-life balance could actually get much more work done while they’re in the office. This seems to be true even if the office in question is a virtual one.
In fact, you might want to explore the possibility of increasing the amount of remote work opportunities available to your staffers. While some employers have claimed that this hurts their productivity levels, the reverse is often true.
Employees are turning to a number of different techniques to stay motivated while they work remotely, and you can help them with this. Set clear goals and deadlines when you explain their responsibilities. This will ensure that they always know what’s expected of them.
By working with your staff to create an outline that satisfies everyone’s concerns, you can be sure that your company’s productivity levels will soar even if you don’t have a large amount of capital to invest in it.