The world of work is in crisis. With 61% of US professionals feeling like they’re burning out at any moment and 43% of global workers reporting high daily stress levels, the spotlight is on workplace efficiency.
But as a small business owner struggling to keep your company’s head above water, you may be too busy to assess your efficiency and devise a plan to improve it.
However, relatively minor changes can substantially benefit your employees and bottom line.
Discover how with our tips for improving workplace efficiency. Consider eliminating unnecessary meetings, increasing automation, and building better employee relations to improve productivity and gain a happier workforce to make your business thrive.
If you’re interested in how your business could improve its performance management, contact us.
What is Workplace Efficiency?
Workplace efficiency relates to how staff carries out tasks correctly with the least waste of time, effort, and energy.
When the workplace is efficient, employees can achieve results by utilizing their resources – human capital, money, production equipment, and power – in the best way possible.
The terms productivity and workplace efficiency are used interchangeably, but there is a significant difference. The Harvard Business Review says that improving productivity means ‘doing more with the same,’ while improving efficiency implies ‘doing the same with less.’
Several factors impact workplace efficiency: work culture, management, training opportunities, and processes. Making positive changes to the work environment will increase efficiency and help staff work smarter.
Technology has played a big part in improving workplace efficiency. Think artificial intelligence (AI), cloud computing, and data analytics.
Why is Workplace Efficiency Important?
An efficient workplace allows employers to cut costs and boost profitability. But these aren’t the only benefits.
Efficiency helps businesses:
Thrive and grow – improving workplace efficiency frees time for projects that drive a business forward.
Increase competitiveness – working more efficiently, faster, or even better gives business owners an edge over their competitors by being able to charge less, speed up delivery times, or provide better service.
Prevent burnout – freeing up employees by eliminating mundane, time-consuming tasks, allowing them to meet deadlines efficiently.
Reduce environmental impact – by making systems more efficient, tasks can be done quicker, using less electricity. Also, a better building design optimizing daylight can reduce lighting costs sufficiently.
Ways to Improve Workplace Efficiency for Employees
When juggling running your business while keeping customers happy, improving workplace efficiency might be at the bottom of your agenda. But these tips will help staff focus on what’s important and propel your company forward.
1 – Measure Productivity
Measuring your employees’ productivity allows you to align your staff’s performance with your organization’s goals.
Measure goals – assess goals met by measuring actual results versus expected ones.
Measure quality of work – define quality and analyze results based on your success metrics.
Undertake performance tracking – a sophisticated tracking solution will make engaging and retaining your employees easier.
2 – Eliminate Excess Meetings
Cutting unnecessary meetings can significantly affect your staff’s daily workload.
A recent Harvard Business Review survey highlights employee productivity rose by 71% when surveyed companies reduced meetings by 40%.
The reduction empowered employees, making them feel autonomous, in charge of their workload, and not feeling micromanaged, increasing job satisfaction by over 50%.
Reduce meetings by:
Moving daily status meetings to a platform like Slack.
Only hold meetings when necessary.
Being selective with your attendee list.
3 – Increase Automation
Using technology can reduce repetitive tasks.
Try these shortcuts:
Eliminate costly errors & save time by moving to a payroll processing solution.
Automate email campaigns.
Use chatbots to aid
your customer service team.
4 – Build Better Relationships
Improving employee relations isn’t a quick win, but it’s worth time and attention to foster closer connections with staff. Data from Microsoft’s 2022 Work Trend Index reveals that workers with healthy work relationships say they have better well-being (76%) than those with poor relationships (57%).
Thriving relationships are good for business, with 50% in the former camp reporting higher productivity versus 36% of those in the latter.
Foster better employee relations by:
Being transparent and building trust.
Respecting your employees and valuing their opinions.
Having regular one-to-ones.
Showing small gestures of appreciation, like a handwritten thank you card.
5 – Downsize Office Space
Follow these tips to cut costs:
Sublease vacant offices.
Reduce parking spots you don’t need.
Align schedules of hybrid workers to free up office space.
6 – Improve Work-Life Balance
The pandemic has changed many workers’ priorities. The ability to work flexible hours is among the top three reasons for seeking new employment, and 67% of remote workers do so because they have flexibility in how they spend their time.
Prevent burnout and workload overwhelm by encouraging staff to:
Say no to meetings if they don’t add to their goals
Take regular breaks.
Go home on time.
Work flexible hours or remotely if they have family commitments.
Remove unnecessary reporting.
7 – Do Away With Distractions
Emails, social media, noisy colleagues, and calls on speaker phones are common workplace distractions that lower workplace efficiency.
Help staff avoid distractions by:
Organizing time management training for staff.
Providing software to block online distractions.
Reorganizing the office to create quiet working spaces.
Encouraging working in time blocks.
8 – Foster a Learning Culture
Professional development and training opportunities for staff will motivate them to learn new skills and move up within your company, providing there is employee buy-in.
Implementing a professional development plan will increase productivity and improve employee engagement.
9 – Clear Communication Counts
Effective communication in the workplace has a positive impact on employee engagement, morale, productivity, and satisfaction. And it helps teams collaborate well, driving better results for the organization.
To develop your communication skills, stick to these guidelines:
Consider your message, audience, goal, format, and desired outcome.
Keep your message simple and easy to read.
Practice active listening.
Review communications and change them if necessary.
Ask for feedback and improve if needed.
American workers are exhausted and stressed. With meeting madness, constant distractions, and long hours, it’s time to cut out unnecessary time-consuming tasks and help prevent burnout.
An efficient workplace will benefit staff and your business, but making a plan may be outside your to-do list.
However, small changes can have a significant impact. So follow our tips for improving workplace efficiency to ease pressure on employees, gain an edge over competitors, and grow your company.
If you’d like to speak to an HR representative about your business, contact us.