I speak to other business owners on a daily basis, and no matter what the project or topic of discussion, a question that I always find myself asking is, "What is your objective?", and one of the most common responses that I get is, "We need to be more efficient."
Now, in light of the standards that we have as employers, employees, and consumers today, it isn't surprising that efficiency is something that we scrutinise.
People today expect things to be seamless, fast, and to an extent, simple. As we are increasingly guided by technology and modern tools, the internal battle that we have with efficiency, isn't going anywhere.
So over the last couple of weeks, I have been thinking about some of the things that businesses can do to be more efficient. Here are some initial thoughts...
1. Use your feet more
You start to type an email and realise that the person you are about to send it to is actually sitting about 3 feet away. Avoid the email thread that is coming, walk over to talk to them. When appropriate, this really does get things moving quicker. This is one I am working on myself at the moment.
2. No boredom allowed!
Don't forget to provide employees with the opportunity to learn and develop in their roles. The opportunity to expand knowledge is a big motivator and we all know that the more motivated somebody is, the more focused they will be when completing a task.
3. Automate where you can
Business automation is no longer seen as a luxury, but a necessity. Whether you use it to send pay-slips to your workforce or to schedule your social media campaigns. Automation saves time and will give employees the chance to focus on tasks that require critical thinking or a more human touch.
4. Find your inner ergonomist!
The environment we are in has a huge impact on our productivity and engagement when at work. So it is important to take the time to brush up on the ergonomics behind an ideal workstation. Are your employees sitting comfortably? Does the environment inspire creativity? Do you provide quiet space for focused, undisturbed working? Do you provide break-out spaces for collaboration and getting away from the desk? After all, an engaged office is a productive, efficient one.
5. Modern Technology
I wonder what percentage of businesses on this planet could survive without technology? Not many I bet. We are increasingly reliant on modern technologies but I think it is safe to say that we can always improve how we use them within our businesses. A couple of recent examples from ACS if I may...
- We have started to use Skype for Business to facilitate the first interview in our recruitment process.
- Skype for business is also used for presenting proposals when time does not permit face to face follow up meetings or the distance to travel is not the best use of time and particularly when you need to bring several people into a ‘virtual meeting’ from several different locations.
- We use apps to manage our holiday and expenses processes.
- We give the team the data they need to share, from wherever they need it, securely on any device…using productivity tools, such as Office365 and our own ACS social media application.
- Fast wireless technology to work with video or from anywhere in our building is a given at ACS…and taking notes ‘digitally’ to collaborate with colleagues, customers and attach to CRM...
- Have I mentioned OneNote? A real game changer for brainstorming and sharing relevant data within teams, customers and suppliers.
- Virtual 3d walkthroughs of clients offices so they can visualise what their new offices will look like…the right balance of open plan, quiet and breakout space.
I could go on with the list above but if you think any of the methods that we use could bring value your business then the door is always open for you to visit ACS to see how we work.
Now we all know that the advice in this blog is just the tip of a very big iceberg. The innovation that comes with trying to improve business efficiency is exciting and never ending. So be sure to keep your eyes peeled for another blog from me in the not so distant future, with some more tips.
In the meantime, if your businesses needs help with any of the above, then get in touch. Equally, if you have an tips that work for your business please do share! You can tweet me on @Jont1 or call 0844 481 5786.