The simplest way to make your business perform better is to make your team more productive. This way, you get them to do more with the same resources and during the same time span.
In other words, you get better results with the same investment. The problem, however, lies in the fact that a lot of entrepreneurs have no idea how to do so.
Instead, they try to improve productivity by hiring more people (thus increasing the overhead) or by pushing their staff even harder (thus decreasing morale and increasing the talent abandonment rate).
Here are the nine best practices to increase business productivity in the simplest, safest manner possible.
1. Delegate tasks
By properly delegating tasks, you’ll achieve a much higher degree of specialization. How? Well, by appointing people to specific tasks that they’ll perform over and over again, you’ll get them to become more efficient at them.
Also, this way, you’ll streamline the necessary education for the people in question.
Look at it this way, educating a person at an entry-level position in your enterprise is quite difficult, seeing as how you have no idea which direction their career will take.
This way, you know exactly which courses and seminars they can benefit from the most.
2. Minimize distractions
Eliminating distractions from the workplace completely is impossible and what you could do instead is trying to reduce them by reorganizing your workplace and introducing some new rules.
First of all, you can minimize distractions by making sure that the place is quiet and neat. This way, auditory and visual distractions are, for the most part, mitigated.
As for the policies, make sure to have a break area that’s far from the main work area and insist that your entire team takes breaks at the same time.
Why? Well, because you don’t want the people on their break to distract those who are still trying to work.
3. Make sure everyone takes breaks
There are some people who believe that they can do more if they skip a break and work instead.
In their mind, this gives them 15, 20 or 30 minutes more to work, which, on paper, sounds like a recipe for a productivity boost. However, when working uninterrupted for hours, your focus starts waning.
This means that you’ll become more likely to make errors and that, during the seventh hour of uninterrupted work, you won’t be able to accomplish nearly as much as during the first or second hour.
As we’ve mentioned, there are some people who deliberately avoid breaks, which is why you, as a manager, need to make sure that this doesn’t happen by making these breaks mandatory.
4. Fire troublemakers
Every seasoned entrepreneur or business owner knows that troublemakers are a group that’s capable of destroying both the morale and the productivity of your team.
For instance, you have the emotional vampire who doesn’t necessarily underperform on their own but makes everyone else in your team feel down.
From our previous sentence, you might have been able to spot the problem – a troublemaker is not necessarily someone who does their job poorly.
This makes both identifying and firing them a complicated matter. Still, it’s something that has to be done.
5. Improve your management skills
Like any other skill, you can definitely become more efficient at being a manager.
The way this works is fairly simple, first, you need to understand the subtleties of the game and learn the difference between task management and project management.
Keep in mind that, in this day and age, you can find online tools for both of these subject matters, which is why you need to study the topic of task management vs project management tools as well.
With the right tech arsenal, your job will become even easier.
6. Respect your staff
It’s easy to just tell your employees that you respect them, showing so, however, is not so easy. First of all, you need to honor your end of the deal and protect all the rights that they have as employees.
Second, you shouldn’t let customers bully your team. The idea that the customer is always right has longs since been debunked as a harmful practice that can end up costing you quite a bit in the long run.
Instead, you need to step up and be the leader that your staff can look up to.
7. Proper décor
The décor of the place also has an impact on the psychology and productivity of your staff.
For instance, light is not just something that improves your vision, thus providing a functional boost to your productivity; it’s also a motivator.
Comfortable and ergonomic furniture can do pretty much the same thing. Not to mention that the psychology of color plays an important role when it comes to overall workplace productivity.
Red, for instance, boosts aggressiveness, while yellow tends to benefit your company’s creatives in many different ways.
8. Incentivize your staff
Respect and praise are definitely great, however, from time to time, your employees will need a bit more concrete reward. Pay the extra for staying overtime. Don’t be stingy when it comes to giving bonuses.
Finally, realize that there are so many other rewards that you can offer them, like an extra day of paid leave or a weekend at a local spa.
Just remember that incentivizing your staff makes them work extra hard and provides them with some much-needed intrinsic motivation.
Furthermore, keep in mind that you need to stay on the budget while doing so.
9. Set realistic goals
There is nothing easier than accusing your team of not being productive enough when you’ve just set the bar too high, to begin with.
In other words, the easiest way to get disappointed is to set unrealistically high expectations for yourself and your team.
So, set realistic goals but don’t set the bar too low either. This way, you can make achieving goals feel meaningless. Balancing between the two is what goal-setting should be all about.
Conclusion: How to increase business productivity
At the end of the day, increasing business productivity is not a simple matter.
It takes patience, commitment and attention to detail. Also, it is not something that you can do once and just be done with. It requires continuous effort.
Still, those who are not ready for such a commitment probably do not belong in the business world, to begin with.
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Keith Coppersmith is a business and marketing expert who has experienced both the rise and fall of many businesses. He enjoys writing and providing insight based on both practice and theory.