For large organizations, productivity is often a top priority. Large companies have a lot of technology resources at their disposal that helps facilitate an environment and a team of employees that operate at a peak productivity level including project management software, collaboration software and learning management systems.
Small businesses may not have access to the resources a large business does, but that doesn’t mean their productivity has to suffer.
When a small business can get a handle on how to boost productivity, there can be tremendous benefits.
First, as a business owner, your employees are your most valuable and often most expensive asset. When your employees are productive, you’re maximizing your return on that investment.
A productive workplace is often likely to translate into strong customer service and positive interactions, and it can improve customer loyalty and profitability.
The following are important ways to boost productivity when you’re at the helm of a startup or small business.
Use the Right Tools But Avoid App Overload
A few years ago, workplace productivity and collaboration tools really started taking off. What you would see was that small businesses were so excited to try them out that they ended up introducing too many.
Employees now in many businesses spend hours a day switching between all these apps, and it’s a productivity killer.
It’s important to find a balance between using tools that are going to help boost productivity and efficiency without it becoming overload.
To do this, audit what tools you currently use, or where you have a new for tools and whenever you introduce something new, make sure it has a measurable business objective assigned to its use.
One of the best places to start as far as finding a real need for new technology is by looking at things you could automate in your business. Anytime you can automate tasks and workflows, it’s going to free up your talent to focus their energy elsewhere.
If there are repetitive steps, automate them.
Something else to think about with technology is choosing tools that give employees access to the information they need when they need it.
If you can give your employees instant access and answers in a central repository, it’s going to help them maintain their productivity.
No matter how new or old your business is, when you’re unwilling to embrace and welcome change, you’re likely to become stagnant. Productivity is not something that comes with stagnation.
As a business owner, you have to be willing to set the example here.
Change can help you innovate and stay forward-thinking, and it can help you find more efficient ways of doing things.
Don’t just embrace the change that you come up with. Welcome feedback from employees, and when it seems like it could work, integrate it.
Employees are the ones who are on the ground and really have a clear idea of where positive changes can be made, and these changes are likely to lead to a more efficient organization.
If your employees don’t proactively come to you with feedback, start soliciting it.
This has the added advantage of empowering employees and helping them feel like they have control over their jobs and have a say in their work environment.
Every day, every month, every quarter and every year, you should have different goals set, and you should prioritize for yourself and your employees.
Without having clear goals and objectives that are well-prioritized, it’s going to be difficult to even determine your level of productivity.
Without goals or objectives, who’s to say how efficient you are or where you can improve?
Work with your employees on individualized plans, goals, and priorities as well.
One of the biggest productivity-killers in any organization are employees who are unsure of their roles and what’s expected of them, so alleviate that in your business.
Don’t Worry How Employees Do Things
If you want a thriving and growing business, stop micromanaging your employees.
You should be focused on high-growth activities and the bigger picture.
Set goals and expectations for your employees and then leave them to it.
As long as goals are met, you shouldn’t put so much focus on how it’s getting done.
This comes along with something else you should focus on—delegation.
If you take the time to hire well and train well, then you should be able to comfortably delegate.
Stop with All the Meetings
If you operate a small business, you might not even need meetings unless there’s something big going on.
If you’re someone who likes to hold a weekly meeting just to check-in, you might be doing more harm than good.
Meetings are a distraction, and most people don’t like attending them.
If you do need to have meetings, keep them very short and to-the-point.
In a small business, you have the advantage of not having so many silos, so you might not need to get everyone together all that often since you could be inherently working closely with one another on a day-to-day basis.
If you are going to have meetings do it in the afternoon when productivity starts to decline anyway. Don’t do it during the valuable morning hours when most employees are the most productive.
Facilitate a Positive Culture
If your employees hate coming to work and the culture is toxic, it’s going to show in their quality of work and their productivity.
Bad company culture can also increase productivity-killing factors like workplace injuries and absenteeism.
Make your office look nice and feel welcoming.
Ask for employee feedback as to what’s important to them and what could be improved.
Create an environment of transparency and mentorship and give employees opportunities to take on new challenges.
The workplace culture at any business often starts at the top, so as an owner, you’re setting the tone.
Finally, outside of business hours, stop working, and let your employees do the same. Your employees are going to be more productive if they don’t feel like they’re always “on” and they get true breaks when they’re not at work.