Organizations, startups, solopreneurs, mompreneurs, everyone who runs a business wants success. But running a business is not easy. Many people complain that 24 hours is just not enough to get things done anymore. Want to get more things done for less?
Every business needs key strategies to stay productive. Time is valuable for everybody. Those who value time want to make the most of it. It is no wonder; you see so many time-tracking or time management apps popping up every day.
Can you really get it all if don’t think differently from your competitors? Besides, there are just so many productivity strategies to choose from. Every one of them claims to make you or your employees do more for less and save money while you’re at it. Which ones match your business? The irony of it is that you may just not have the time to figure it out.
Thankfully, we’ve done the research and compiled these 10 business strategies on how to stay productive.
1. Chart an Effective Company Culture
Company culture is nothing but the knowledge your employees have, what they believe and how they behave in the line of it. An effective company culture should have employees to follow standards and enhance their productivity. Why? Because a positive company culture is proven to be more productive.
A positive company culture will have more engaged employees. That’s a good thing because according to a Gallup study, disengaged workers are 37% more absent from work, 49% more likely to cause accidents and are 60% more erroneous than happy and engaged employees.
Examples of what an effective and positive company culture looks like:
- Imbibing a culture of stand-up meetings saves time.
- When in doubt, picking up the phone (instead of posting never ending email trails or meetings)
- Caring for each other and being responsible for peers, as friends would be.
- Being an inspiration to others.
- Imbibing the core values of respect, gratitude and trust among each other.
When employees realize they’re not just individuals, but essentially, a team, that makes all the difference.
2. Encourage a Flat Hierarchy
Speaking of company culture, maintaining a flat hierarchy within the organization can affect productivity. This is because such a structure discourages politics within the workplace. Employees have a high morale and this will make them be better at work.
Office politics, on the other hand, bring employees down. It is stressful to focus on work, while constantly being pushed and pulled emotionally. This is mentally exhausting. Employees are then focused on unproductive habits such as gossip, or saving themselves from hassle. This causes distraction from the actual work at hand.
What you need to do:
- Trust your employees. The ones you don’t, should not be working with you.
- Stop thinking you are better than everybody.
- Don’t micro-manage.
- Hire or promote only good managers.
Google’s casual and democratic atmosphere is not a secret. One can learn a lot from how they function at Google, the company is known to be the best to work for, after all!
3. Flexible Working Schedules
When you think of productivity you immediately think routine, keeping it all on schedule and so on. While fixed schedules and working hours are as good as it gets, the only problem with this approach is that the employee’s time is never considered.
When you factor in the individual differences you will see that the family backgrounds, lifestyle and even distance from work to home play a big role in employee’s individual productivity.
Of course, you need to be able to prioritize the tasks, completing urgent ones first etc. Setting up weekly goals help you track progress. However, the flexibility you offer to your employees to:
- Occasionally work from home
- Take longer lunches (to say, squeeze in a workout)
- Run errands during workday
… these are appreciated by employees!
A flexible working schedule will give importance to results and less to face time. This way, employees who may be working from home, don’t have to stress about answering every unimportant email or resort to cheating, in order to produce billable hours. If you’ve made your goals clear, prioritized your tasks and set expectations for results, a flexible working schedule can make employees feel very valued. This will enhance productivity.
4. Put Employee First
Let’s be honest, without productive employees, a business can never be that profitable. Motivated employees whose personal goals meet business goals are productive. So whose responsibility is it to motivate them? It is the employer’s. Unless something went wrong at the time of recruitment, you cannot blame the employee for their demotivation or disengagement.
5. Hire Right
Speaking of recruitment, when knowing what company culture is best for your business, remember to hire the right people.
6. Meet the Basic Needs
Sure, the onus to distress or maintain a healthy lifestyle is the sole responsibility of the employee. So what can you, as an employer, do to promote this?
- Provide a comfortable room where employees can take power naps.
- Headphones to tune out during breaks.
- Build a culture that supports work-life balance.
- Insist on working early and leaving on time.
- Ensure the food in the office cafeteria or vending machine is wholesome.
7. Provide the Right Working Equipment
Your working environment needs to be filled with the best machinery. Provide employees with the right devices that get the work done twice as fast. Take care of the connectivity issues that impede productivity.
● Set clear and tangible goals
● Offer consistent feedback
● Respect all employees
● Provide opportunities for career growth
● Design a robust employee recognition program
● Offer flexible work options
8. Pay them Right
If you want your most productive employee to stay with you, then you need to match or pay more than the industry standard. If not, then you can watch your competitors match and take away your best workers.
You can argue that money is not the sole motivator. That’s why you need to pay attention to the kind of bonus or raises people are given. For example, there is no point in offering a hefty bonus to an average employee who is doing his or her job anyway.
Why paying more makes employees productive?
● Employees who are paid well, work harder. This way, you don’t have to hire costly managers to supervise them.
● Well-paid employees are more likely to hold to their jobs. They get better benefits and so the payoff is appreciated. With low attrition rates, you don’t have to worry about costs or hiring and training new employees.
● You will have loyal employees, who feel valued at work.
You can also question whether paying higher wages during an economic downturn is a good idea. Shouldn’t the employer cut down the wages to make the business more profitable? According to economist George Akerlof, that isn’t the case at all. Paying people more makes them more productive.
9. Review Processes
Now that you have your company culture in place, you’ve hired the right people and have an effective compensation and benefits program, it is imperative that you looked and looked more at your existing processes. Your processes right from hiring to the exit of an employee need to meet your business goals. You need to improve or remove processes to add value to your business.
The best way to go about this is to create a map that details and connects each process by information. This is also known as process mapping or by drawing a flowchart. You will then see the links and identify loopholes if any. You can then eliminate redundant processes that waste valuable time and resources. Here are some other ways for reviewing processes to increase productivity:
● Cause and effect diagrams
● Matrix analysis etc.
The University of York explains each of these processes (and more) in great detail.
After a formal investigation into all your processes, see if you need to outsource some of the activities to improve productivity. If your chief marketer needs content, you can look at reviews on Top Aussie Writers and outsource that job. Activities such as payroll, administration, travel and logistics and even human resources can now be outsourced.
10. Continuous Training
Meeting team members once a quarter or twice a year for performance reviews in not enough. The loop needs to be closed by establishing a developmental plan after each review. This plan must highlight the employee’s weaknesses. A consolidated look at these improvement areas acts as fodder for initiating effective training modules.
Training needs to be taken seriously. A study by the Educational Quality of the Workforce (EQW) saw that while new equipment increased the productivity levels by just 3.4%, effective trainings increased productivity by 8%!
Gone are the days when a training was administered as a one-size-fits-for-all module. The manager needs to play an active role in the strategies for better learning for their team. This increases accountability for the manager as well as the employees.
In the end, to build a profitable business, employee satisfaction and development is key.