If you want to increase employee productivity, you have to get out of their way, ensuring policies and procedures enable employees to do their jobs. You must also provide the right tools to perform their various jobs as it wastes time to use the wrong tool. Further, employees are easily frustrated by things that stop them from concentrating on their real work, whether it’s excessive amounts of red tape or boring administrative tasks. For instance, it might save a little money to force employees to keep track of hand tools like hammers, but time spent searching might end up costing more in wasted effort and employee frustration. You have the power to make work-life easier for them by removing some of the barriers impacting performance and providing some of the tools that allow them to save time; becoming more productive. When you want to save time for your employees, take a look at these tips that help you achieve your performance goals.
Time is money, at least that’s the old saying. By saving time on routine tasks you can save a lot of money, increase efficiency, and, maybe, even improve the customer experience to make your business more profitable.
Cut down on meetings
Meetings are the bane of any employee’s life at work and waste a lot of time, in some cases. A recent poll conducted by Clarizen/Harris found the average American worker spends between 4 and 5 hours per week in meetings — nearly a full day. In addition, they spend nearly as much time per week just preparing for those meetings. Of course, some of this prep time is needed regardless of whether a meeting actually occurs but other efforts in preparation are wasted time. Writers in that reports summarized findings well when they said,
Meetings are a necessary evil, but sometimes, they seem less necessary and more evil than they have to be.
So, yes. Some meetings are definitely necessary, but hours in endless meetings prevent people from getting the real work done. During the pandemic, many meetings were superfluous efforts to monitor employee performance with a distributed workforce, which resulted in employee burnout as they saw their work hours increase and intrude on personal time. Too many meetings waste everyone’s time and cut into your employees’ productivity.
It’s essential to really think about when it’s important to host a meeting and when there’s no need. Meetings can often be replaced by an email, especially if they are focused on one or two people providing information and everyone else simply listening. Project management tools and instant messaging can also help with collaboration and communication to eliminate or at least reduce the amount of time spent in meetings.
Make finding information easy
When your employees need to find important data and information, they don’t want to spend hours looking for it. Providing the right search tools to find what they need saves employees a lot of time. An enterprise search engine like the Elastic search engine can provide the tools that your employees need to find internal information fast and efficiently. A responsive search that is able to search through all of your data and return what’s needed can save a lot of time by ensuring your employees can find what they need in seconds instead of taking minutes or longer.
Reducing search time is but one task in making finding information easy. Often, an employee must filter through outdated versions of data or reports to find the most recent version, which wastes a lot of time and is harder to handle with a simple search engine. Employees waste time finding the updated version as well as comparing various versions to determine what changed. Using tools that track changes resulting in a single document or data file reduces wasted efforts while making your performance better.
Repetitive and menial administrative tasks can take up your employees’ time and interfere with the completion of larger tasks. The solution to this is often to automate these processes so that they don’t require manual efforts that waste time. For instance, copying data from one file to the next waste time and introduces opportunities for mistakes. EDI (electronic data interchange) for instance, allows a buyer to enter an order to a seller. The order moves electronically to the seller, triggering any efforts necessary to complete the order, such as ordering raw materials and scheduling production as part of a JIT (just in time manufacturing process that saves money in different ways). The same system automatically bills the customer and processes payments to manage receivables.
By identifying which tasks and processes you can automate effectively and prioritizing those that save the most time, you can save a lot of time for your employees and your organization as a whole. Employees generally feel positive about replacing repetitive tasks with automation, which saves them time spent on tedious tasks and allows them to work on more important things.
In the realm of digital marketing, posting content on social media is a real time sink without proper automation from tools such as Buffer and Hubspot. These tools allow you to post an entire week’s worth of content in just a few minutes. Using your content calendar, a great tool for planning all your content needs in one place, you create content for multiple platforms by modifying content to match each platform’s style without having to log in and out of each individual platform. You can schedule content to push out to the platform on your preferred schedule rather than trying to remember to log in at the appropriate time to post a piece of content. By grouping similar tasks together, you work more efficiently than by switching between tasks constantly.
Conduct a time audit
Your employees may not be certain about how they’re using their time. If they want to save time but they’re not sure where to start, you could help them out by helping them to conduct a time audit. In fact, an entire engineering discipline (industrial engineering) focuses on such time and motion studies as a means to increase efficiency and save money. A time audit allows them to identify how employees are using their time and how they might save time by modifying what they do. Such time and motion studies should provide them with a clear picture of the positive changes that they could make.
Next after completing the audit, you must identify where to start in saving time by constructing something like the image above that shows the relationship between the amount of time spent on a task and the value added by the task. Focus on those tasks where the relationship is out of balance — when the amount of time doesn’t equate to the value-added by the activity.
Stop wasting your employees’ time by helping them out with their time management. You can prevent them from having to do tasks that take up unnecessary amounts of time.
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