The transition from paper tools to electronic tools over the past few decades has dramatically changed the business landscape for all of us.
Ironically, entrepreneurs and business owners have never had more options at our disposal than we do today. From Outlook and email to smartphones, we have the technology and yet it sometimes feels that we are more time-poor than ever before in the modern workplace.
How can we free up more time for our teams (and ourselves) to get off the back foot and focus our attention on the really meaningful work of operating a successful business?
In the words of the awesome and often quoted Peter Drucker, ‘what gets measured gets managed’ and tracking the correct figures is vital to tracking productivity.
For example instead of tracking total hours spent on a task or at work, you could track deliverables or revenue. Forget metrics that encourage busy-work and focus on metrics that track actual production.
Accountability from the top to the bottom of your business is a great way to begin to boost productivity and make sure you’re running a profitable business.
Once you’ve calibrated your measurements you may want to figure out incentives that add value for your team and inspire them to flourish and engage with your company mission.
Most successful business people appreciate feedback and creating a feedback culture is a great way to boost productivity and engagement. Even if it’s only a coffee every few weeks or so, it’s worthwhile to give some positive reinforcement and discuss meaningful concerns with your team members.
Focus on Output
Organised people tend to be proactive and not reactive. On the other hand, team members who are more focused on ‘inputs’ like emails, phone calls, messages and interruptions tend to be less organised and more reactive.
Ensuring your team is outcome focused rather than constantly reacting can help improve employee productivity and minimise the busywork that detracts from achieving outcomes that boost your bottom line.
You may not even realise as a business owner whether you, yourself are input focused or output focused and taking a long look at your own management and working style could have a really positive effect on your team.
Even hiring an outside human resource management team to come in and advise you could pay dividends in the long run.
Leverage the Technology
It doesn’t matter if your company is operating with the latest software or you are using older ‘legacy technology’ if you're not focused on the human element when it comes to the latest changes in tech.
A vibrant approach to options such as Zoom and Google Hangouts gives you the opportunity to connect to your team and clients in a new way and streamline the your whole approach.
Embracing the latest collaborative software could help you keep up with the ever-increasing pace of the business world and make positive steps in employee engagement where they have more space, more freedom and more autonomy to work in a way that’s true to them.
Take Control of Input
Try setting a time of day where you focus on emails rather than being constantly checking and reacting to incoming mail. If you find emails a distraction then turn off the notifications and only circle back to your email twice a day at designated times.
You can also get organised by setting up clear folders and streamlining your inbox. You’ll be amazed at the difference this simple step can make to your output and overall effectiveness.
Connect to Wellness
A happy and healthy team is more likely to be productive but it is fair to say that a wellness policy designed purely around the desire to improve productivity is not necessarily compatible with staff wellbeing.
However, a focus on emotional wellbeing and a culture of respect throughout the company, guided by emotionally intelligent managers can have the side effect of increased engagement, lower staff turnover, increased productivity and increased happiness in the workplace.
The key feature is to focus on your team’s wellbeing for its own sake and create a healthy workplace culture that takes stress management seriously.
Ensuring that a multi-level section of leadership takes part in your wellness program is another way of giving it the best chance for success.
As for productivity, Seth Godin points out that, ‘the easiest thing to do is to react. The second easiest thing is to respond. But the hardest thing is to initiate.’ Take the necessary steps to create an effective workplace that’s ahead of the curve.
And as the executive said to the entrepreneur:
‘What if I spend a lot of money educating and training my staff and they leave?’
‘… What if you don’t, and they stay?’