Most offices and businesses today operate on an eight-hour schedule. You may think this is long enough to accomplish all of the tasks that have to be done in the day. But, when you dig deeper into how those hours are spent, are you certain that each minute is spent productively? Or, are there hours that are wasted being inefficient with processes, tools, and other functions to get the work done?
Nowadays, businesses are under so much pressure to do more, deliver more, and produce more within the same number of hours. Technology is getting more and more advanced, and there’s that expectation for businesses to use all resources available to their advantage to improve workflow efficiency. It’s up to your business to search for the necessary tools and read through sources, like a CRM comparison chart, so you can shape the right decisions in automating your business workflow. When this is achieved, your business will be able to let go of any timewaster on the job, such that your business’s productivity and profitability subsequently increase as well.
In this article, you’ll have four of the best tips on how you can improve the overall workflow efficiency in your business. So, read on!
1. Learn How To Prioritize Tasks
One of the things that may be hurting your overall workflow is when you don’t know how to effectively prioritize certain tasks you have to accomplish. There’s no hard-and-fast, non-negotiable rule when it comes to prioritizing tasks, as doing so differs based on what has to be done in the day and which deadlines are pressing.
The challenge, however, starts to arise when you feel as if everything on your list is important to accomplish. How do you prioritize one over the others? Here’s a guide:
Focus on the most important tasks. Choose, at most, three tasks that you have to put at the top of the priority list. Those three tasks should be finished within the morning when you may still be at your most productive season, mentally. That way, you’ll have ‘free time’ in the afternoon to finish up whatever else you can on the list. Then, start the same cycle again the next day you report to work.
Highlight what’s urgent, deadline-wise. Through this, you’ll be sure that you won’t be missing out on any impending deadline by working first on those tasks with a deadline still quite far away.
Get into work early. If you can make it to work at least 15 minutes earlier than your usual clock-in, that actually makes an entire difference to get more things done in the morning. That undisturbed time when there aren’t so many co-workers in yet can allow you to focus more on something you need to get done. Because you arrived 15 minutes earlier, that may also allow you to leave your workplace 15 minutes earlier than everyone else.
When you do the strategies above, you may start to realize changes in your business operations as you can now, finally, afford to get more things done in the day.
2. Analyze Your Current Processes
Before making changes in your business workflow, it’s important to also analyze your current workflow processes. This is important so you can be certain that whatever change you implement in your workplace is what’s necessary for it to be more effective. When you perform this process, you should get everyone on board, including your employees. By doing so, you can get necessary feedback from them to determine what’s working for those employees and what aren’t.
To ensure that your workflow analysis turns out effectively for your business, be mindful of the following steps and strategies:
Automate your workflow. Once you’ve identified the pain areas in your workflow that you’re still stubbornly operating manually, it’s worth considering automating those, one procedure at a time.
Find certain bottlenecks in your workflow and strategize. The bottlenecks in your workflow are the problem areas that are slowing down the smooth flow of work. For instance, are there steps that take longer than others to finish? Is there a department that’s repeatedly struggling to complete its end of the process? Those are bottlenecks that need to be addressed.
Workflow analysis benefits your business in so many ways, making it even all the more necessary for you to go through. These benefits include:
Increasing overall efficiency in your workplace. Workflow analysis enables your business to have a fresh look at how to accomplish certain tasks so that those inefficiencies can be identified and the proper technology can also be updated.
Making customers happier. The changes implemented by workflow analysis can also result in happier customers. When decisions have to be made about the facets in your workflow that affect customers, you can have a strong workflow foundation, thereby improving business operations.
Boosting employee morale. Certainly, no employee would want to be left behind still using antique processes when employees in other businesses have already switched to more modern systems.
3. Assign The Right Employees
You may already have a thorough hiring process. Then, your company has also invested in the right tools to get the job done. But, you notice that there’s still a slow movement from one end of the workflow to another. When this happens, the problem can be that you’re assigning the wrong employees to the job, such as assigning employees in the marketing department when you haven’t even trained them for digital marketing.
The proper assignment is very important so you’ll know for certain that each employee is well-suited to the position given to them. They can do well, simply because their job functions are their strengths. When this is achieved, your business can enjoy a higher likelihood of success.
To ensure that the right employees are matched to the proper job functions, here are tried and tested tips you may want to apply:
Develop accurate job descriptions. This means that your job descriptions should, as much as possible, be very specific. Leaving vague job descriptions will only create a loophole that makes it more challenging for your company to decipher whether or not those job descriptions are, in fact, met.
Support the growth and talent of each member of your team. Whenever there are opportunities for each member of your team to grow, make the most out of those opportunities. Give your employees a chance to grow and hone their skills by sending them to company-paid training and seminar. Those may seem like added expenses for your company, but the returns when they’re able to do well and achieve more for your business are greater.
Establish a clear set of objectives for each task so that each one of your employees has an idea of what it is they need to accomplish for each task. Breaking down the responsibilities into smaller tasks makes the process more clear-cut and streamlined, erasing any possibility of gray areas when employees are uncertain what they should achieve for each task, as well as helps them determine whether or not what they’re doing, in fact, brings in results.
4. Prioritize File Sharing And Documentation
Files are an inherent part of any business. There are documents that have to be shared from one end of the workflow to another to ensure that there’s a successful flow of information. No matter how good or how well-automated all the other aspects of your workflow are, you’ll still fall short of your goals when your team is left with no other choice but to manually reach out for the documents they need.
One of your objectives for automating your workflow efficiency has to be related to spending more time moving toward meeting your targets rather than wasting time fishing around for certain documents that would’ve otherwise been easily found.
With that in mind, here are tips you can apply to ensure secure file sharing through an automated system:
· Choose a file-sharing software that allows end-to-end encryption to ensure that passwords and other security measures are in place to avoid any data and identity theft.
· Run a regular file audit so you’re updated on who has access to certain files and who currently has control over files. The file auditing process is also necessary so as to immediately remove unwanted files away from your cloud system.
· Choose a business-grade file sharing system as consumer-grade systems are more susceptible to leaks, breaches, and theft, with lesser security measures in place. A business-grade file-sharing system enables you to have more security controls, like compliance and visibility controls, among the many others.
· Train and educate your team on the automated file sharing methods in place as your file-sharing software would still be useless if your team isn’t even updated with regard to how to use such appropriately and to your business’s advantage.
The tips above work no matter the type of business you have and no matter the department you belong to. When you take in each department as a fragment of the whole puzzle, your business can improve and become more productive. Workflow processes are crucial in order to get things done, and it’s up to you to ensure that your processes all contribute to a higher likelihood of success for your business. When your business processes have started to become overwhelming, that’s a go signal for you to actually move and adjust your workflow to make it more streamlined.