The office environment was drastically impacted by the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, and employees and employers around the world are still trying to find a new balance between remote work and on-site safety. Some firms determined they would continue work from home policies as worker efficiency rose when workers were sent home to keep disease transmission low. A recent study by Stanford showed another benefit available to firms who allowed their workers to work from anywhere; a drop in turnover of 50%. Lower turnover and higher worker efficiency translate into higher profits. This begs the question of whether you can make other changes to create a more efficient office to improve productivity and lower costs.
At the same time, a secure, comfortable, and efficient office space is essential for employees to express their talent and achieve maximum levels of productivity while avoiding burnout. If you are looking for ways to reduce office costs to increase profits, we discuss some ways to create an efficient office that works for you and your staff in this post.
Create a more efficient office
As shown in a new amazon key for business review, new intercommunication technologies help employees and employers increase productivity in the office while the workplace environment continues to evolve. For example, the online food delivery industry is growing at an unprecedented rate and is set to reach a global value of US $323.30 billion by the end of 2022, and employees are fuelling this growth through office deliveries. Technologies such as the Amazon Key allow for streamlined deliveries, ensuring minimal distractions to employees, efficient delivery services, and an overall safer experience.
Your employees respond when you provide more flexibility by working more efficiently, taking fewer sick days, and staying with the company longer. Each of these outcomes makes for a more efficient office that reduces your costs and, thus, increases revenue. In contrast, when workers feel you don’t consider their needs for flexibility and other human needs, they find ways to perform at a minimal level that allows them to keep their jobs and they’re constantly on the lookout for a better opportunity. Since long-time employees are, by definition, better able to perform their jobs, turnover increases cost by reducing productivity and it costs money to fill their positions and train new workers.
Flexibility may come in the form of work-from-home days. For instance, you might allow workers to work in the office 3 days a week while they work from home 2 days. If you need to ensure coverage in the office, you might schedule office days among your employees to ensure you have enough staff in the office then allow employees to switch off if they need a specific day as a work-at-home day on a given week, such as to allow them to attend a school event for their child.
Flexibility may come in the form of work hours that meet the needs of individual workers rather than insisting that all workers keep the same schedule, such as 9-5. This allows workers the flexibility to attend to family needs, such as dropping children at school before commuting to work or leaving early to pick up children. Thus, a couple might work alternate schedules so one is available to drop off and goes in late, while the other person leaves early to pick up kids but goes in earlier in the day. Also, workers might choose a schedule that helps them avoid the most congested commute times in your area.
Create a safer work environment
Feeling safe and living a life free of violence and harassment are human rights. But ensuring that employees feel safe while in the office has never been more challenging. Of course, employees are still worried about contracting Covid-19 and other viruses. But new surveys by Gallup also show that people around the country are increasingly worried about falling victim to acts of terrorism and violence.
Establishing policies and installing protections for workers allows them to focus on the work at hand versus looking out for the next threat. Enforcing badging for all workers helps to keep uninvited threats into your building, especially when coupled with locked doors that only allow access for authorized folks. Hiring a security team to patrol the workplace and secure entrances also helps make workers feel better about their safety.
But, security against threats from outside only goes so far in making workers feel safe. OSHA (the US Occupational Safety and Health Association) sets standards to protect workers from hazards in the environment. For instance, when visiting a plant producing chlorine for pools and other applications, workers don a device designed to emit a loud signal when near chlorine gas, which is deadly. Workers also carry masks and are trained in procedures to employ when the signal sounds its warning.
Installing IoT (internet of things) hardware to both monitor the environment, such as in the chlorine plant and to allow for remote monitoring so workers stay out of dangerous environments go a long way toward protecting workers.
Map processes and thoroughly train workers
When workers aren’t totally familiar with their jobs and the dangers posed by the work they do, they can’t work efficiently. Training on safety, as outlined in the prior section, isn’t enough. Workers need to understand every aspect of the work they do to improve efficiency. Involving employees in mapping out the processes needed to perform their jobs correctly is a great first step since they’re most familiar with the actions necessary to complete tasks. But, encourage them to offer suggestions to make a more efficient office. When workers are involved in designing their work tasks, they’re more committed to doing them well.
Training improves worker efficiency but there’s often a learning curve (shown below) involved such that workers get more efficient the longer they work on a task. A learning curve is a function of innate abilities and training of workers prior to joining your firm. Sometimes, factors such as education and culture impact the length of the learning curve; in other words how steep the curve is and the time necessary to reach high proficiency.
Reduce useless meetings
According to the Harvard Business Review,
We surveyed 182 senior managers in a range of industries: 65% said meetings keep them from completing their own work. 71% said meetings are unproductive and inefficient. 64% said meetings come at the expense of deep thinking. 62% said meetings miss opportunities to bring the team closer together.
Despite this, workers spend a good bit of their day in meetings that are better encapsulated in an email or replaced with other technology. For instance, project management software allows everyone involved in a project to see progress made by other teams at a glance and effectively communicate both internally and with other teams to get work done more efficiently without wasting time on meetings. Inexpensive tools like Trello and more full-function tools such as Microsoft Project Management offer great choices to explore before making a decision about the best project management software for your needs.
Encourage healthy work habits
Healthy workers work more efficiently and take fewer sick days. Sure, workers are responsible for their own health but you can implement policies that help. For instance, providing breaks throughout the day makes workers more productive during work hours. Also, providing healthy snacks and keeping workers hydrated results in healthier workers. For instance, many tech companies, like Google, require break stations dispersed throughout the facility so workers can get a drink or healthy snack a few steps from their workspace. Not only does this improve productivity, it’s hard to keep your mind on your job when your stomach is growling, but it encourages informal conversations with fellow employees as you grab a snack. These informal meetings promote camaraderie, build social capital, and generate unique solutions to problems.
Also, taking care of workers’ health makes them happier; resulting in higher productivity and long tenure with the company.
Multitasking is a myth that destroys productivity. Instead, allow workers to spend chunks of time on a single task before asking them to move on to something else. If you constantly break up a worker’s tasks with phone calls, demands for immediate information, or other disruptors, you find you have a less efficient office. With these disruptions, workers must pick up a new task, abandoning their current task. When they pick up the original task, it takes time to remember where they left off and to get back into the right headspace to complete the task. This is wasted time.
You can create a more efficient office by implementing these tips. A more efficient office means you get more done with less cost; generating higher profits. And, everyone likes that. Good luck.
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