To be efficient at work, you need many avenues for the various day-to-day operations and tasks that may be assigned to you. Here are some practical ways to stay on track:
1. Plan ahead
Are you and your team prepared for the day, week, and month? Is there clear guidance for what you will be taking care of? What about the projects and daily tasks that need to be handled? Don’t fret, there are some simple ways to stay on task and keep your team on task (without annoying everyone). Use a platform for open communication and establish guidelines upfront. No one wants to be surprised with something they didn’t know or weren’t aware of. By setting the expectations upfront and providing clear guidelines, you will prevent misunderstandings and mishandlings.
Allow the team to have a plan and ask your team how much time you need and they need to complete “X” tasks.
2. Ask questions
Always allow your team to have a voice. By asking questions and allowing the team to ask questions, you give way to open communication and set a tone of acceptance. Never scold or demean a team member, even if you are frustrated. It could be due to the lack of item #1 (above), wrong assumptions, or unclear expectations. By setting an example and making sure your team asks for assistance, you can alleviate any misunderstandings about how efficient you or your team are.
3. Set the tone for “open communication”
To fix efficiency at work, allow for open communication, and with that, make it manageable. No one wants to constantly be told what to do. By allowing open communication with clear expectations, you can fix many efficiency problems. To start, have an open communication channel and also allow your team to ask for help as needed. Sometimes, if you are not heading down the right path, this channel can steer you back to what is necessary to complete your company’s goals. For example, if you have an assistant who doesn’t seem to be working efficiently, have this person explain her plan to complete the tasks you need assistance with. Make sure this person knows that you are available for help, and when the item is due.
4. Update your technology
For some reason, we tend to think last of technology when considering efficiency. However, one cannot be more in a hurry when the tools are obsolete, overworked, and probably way past their reasonable use. When you have essential business processes that can benefit from newer technology, it’s time to do something about it. This can lead to huge time savings.
A couple of action points you could take: first, write down the technology you are currently using, review each component and check if they are working well for the intended business processes. Second, assess the time and cost savings that could result from upgrading each technology component, making a comparison with the cost of upgrading. And third, research new technologies with the highest potential to make a positive impact: are there any new hardware or software tools that could help you do things better, faster, or even automate things altogether?
5. Fix errors
Studies show that 37% of workers say their workday is wasted trying to fix other people’s mistakes. This not only wastes your employees’ time and productivity but can escalate and lead to unhappy customers. First things first: get to the bottom of it and identify the source of error. Then find out the most common reasons why this error happens. And the last step is to discuss with experts in your team the topic of how to reduce the number of errors and create action points to implement ideas they’ve suggested.
Let’s keep in mind that errors happen, however, we have to do our best to proactively prevent them in order to save time, money, and unnecessary stress.
As you think about these 5 areas, realize that communication is the best way to keep an engaged, efficient, and happy team.
What has been your experience with inefficiency at work and how did you approach the situation?