From sales and marketing to design to administration, a business relies on many different departments and job roles to ensure its long term success. However, with so many different facets of the business, it can sometimes be difficult to coordinate them all, the result being that your business might not be as efficient as it could be. This lack of efficiency could generate a feeling of dissatisfaction in your employees and customers, which could eventually adversely affect sales and how your business runs. To help you ensure that your business is operating as smoothly as possible, read on to discover seven tips to maximize your business’s efficiency.
1. Hold daily catch-up meetings
Most businesses try to hold a catch-up meeting at least once a week as a way of keeping employees informed about recent business developments and upcoming meetings and deadlines for the following week. Unfortunately, in a busy office environment, these meetings can soon get swept aside, being seen as an unnecessary activity that staff does not have time for. However, this attitude can become counterproductive, with staff learning about developments on the fly and therefore having to react to them, which is, in turn, a hugely inefficient working style. By working a daily ten-minute catch-up meeting into your workday, staff can remain fully aware of developments, deadlines, and workloads, allowing them to organize tasks accordingly and avoid numerous time-consuming queries.
2. Create a schedule and stick to it as much as possible
Creating a schedule is an intrinsic tool for maximizing efficiency in any business as a way of organizing time. Common uses for a schedule include noting down deadlines, meetings, and annual leave, and you can use it to avoid impromptu, time-consuming meetings by asking people to book in a time slot on the schedule. You could also make your schedule work even harder by using it to record workloads and task assignments, so that you can easily see which members of staff are at capacity and which are available to take on more tasks. Microsoft Outlook can be used as an easy to use a scheduling tool.
3. Use task management software
You might want to keep a closer eye on employees’ workloads; or there could be a specific project that you want to track the progress of. In these instances, you could consider using a task management software program such as Trello. This gathers all communication and work progress regarding a task in one place, removing time-consuming back and forth on email. You can set deadlines and keep track of when each step of a larger project has been completed. Profiles can be set up for teams working on certain projects and more general office departments to help track regular day-to-day office activities. Task management software is also a particularly useful tool to have when reviewing a project or for an individual’s annual performance review, as you can clearly see who has completed what task and how successful that has been.
4. Invest in 800 numbers
When it comes to assessing your business’s efficacy, do not forget to consider how efficient it is for customers to interact with you. One way of maximizing this is to use an 800 service and invest in a set of 800 numbers for your business and its separate departments. These are toll-free numbers that enable customers to contact your business without incurring charges – even if they are making a long-distance call. 800 numbers can be personalized according to your company’s needs. For instance, you could choose to direct your 800 number to a specific department or use repeating digits or vanity numbers to create a memorable number that fits in with your branding. Having an 800 number can help companies track their calls, allowing you to track the effectiveness of marketing campaigns and providing a fun, memorable way to stand out from market competitors.
5. Automate tasks whenever possible
There is no doubt that technology has revolutionized the business world: you only have to consider the typing pools, once so essential to business until the early 90s at least, having been superseded by Microsoft Word and a printer. However, there are likely still many other office admin tasks that take up far too much of your employees’ time that could instead be automated. For instance, use Mailchimp to schedule the sending of automated emails to customers and the Mail Merge function in Microsoft Word when preparing envelope addresses and letters. Automating as many general admin tasks as possible, will free up your employees’ time to focus on in-depth tasks that require more concentration.
6. Prioritize single tasking over multi-tasking
Multi-tasking is often viewed as a time-effective way of completing several tasks at once. However, this method is best left to low-intensity jobs that do not require a great deal of concentration: outgoing packaging mail while waiting for documents to be printed, for example. By contrast, single tasking allows you to focus your full attention on one task from start to finish, meaning that fewer mistakes and the quality of work are likely to improve. Additionally, single-tasking can help with the completion of projects – a task is not allowed to linger for weeks on end when it is almost near completion.
7. Schedule time for uninterrupted work
The office environment is full of distractions that interrupt workflow and concentration on difficult tasks. Everything from phone calls and emails to queries and colleague chit chat can regularly disrupt your concentration and turn short tasks into longer ones that take the entire working day to complete. To help maximize productivity, block out an hour or so each day for uninterrupted work. There are plenty of tools available to help limit distractions. For instance, you could try an app designed to reduce email notifications for a set amount of time and set up an answering machine for your telephones. Designated time for uninterrupted work will allow your staff to focus on their work and therefore boost efficiency.