Work smarter, not harder. It’s not just an empty platitude on a motivational poster; it’s a movement. Because we’re only granted 24 hours in a day, many of us want to organize our time and effort efficiently. The idea of spending 10 hours on a task that can be accomplished in two seems wasteful, especially since time is a nonrenewable resource.
Because time keeps on ticking, you need a plan for how to best use your time. And, as you know, at least a third of your time is spent at work. Imagine how much more you and your team can accomplish at work by creating a more efficient environment?
In this post, we discuss ways to create a better and more productive workplace.
Let’s get started.
The first step to becoming more efficient at work is to set goals. But goals can be abstract and unclear if you’re not careful.
This is why it’s a good idea to set S.M.A.R.T. goals. S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym the stands for:
- Specific – Get specific on what you’d like to accomplish. Figure out why this goal is important to you and your business. Paint the picture of the end result.
- Measurable – Choose a set of metrics you’ll rely on to determine if you’ve met your goal. Set milestones so that you can stop and re-assess if you’re on track or if you need to tweak your plan.
- Achievable – Do you have the resources and skill to achieve the goal set before you? It’s important to make an action plan that details how you’ll achieve your goal. Determine who will be involved, and what resources they’ll need to accomplish their tasks.
- Realistic – Be sure that the goal is in line with your company’s vision and mission. Will achieving this goal help you fulfill your mission? Are you the right team/ company to tackle this goal?
- Time-Based – Assign a deadline to your goal. It’s not good to have a goal with no end point. This takes it from a present and urgent need into a nebulous ideal. Having a deadline helps you set appropriate and realistic milestones.
Setting S.M.A.R.T. goals will help you identify your objectives and plot the path to success. It will help everyone on your team work more efficiently. Your team will know what their tasks are, where they’re headed, and be able to determine if they’re on track.
You can set S.M.A.R.T. goals for both long term and short term objectives.
In addition to goals, you should set expectations.
Every member of your team should understand their individual job responsibilities. They should know what the company expects from them. This allows you to hold your employees accountable.
A lot of workplace inefficiency comes from constantly moving goalposts. If your team members aren’t quite sure what they need to do, they’ll likely spin their wheels. But when you clearly define what you expect from your team (and ensure that they have the resources and ability to reach those expectations), you’ll have a much more productive team.
Be sure to check in with your team regularly to provide the necessary feedback they need to stay productive. And also set your team up for success by aligning the right skills with the mission.
But setting expectations goes both ways. You, too, should live up to the expectations that your team has, which includes being present when they need help, offering constructive feedback without criticism, and trusting your team to do the job you’ve assigned them without micromanaging them.
Embrace Flexible Hours
Not every office would work well with flexible hours, but if it’s possible to do in your office, definitely consider doing it.
Why should you consider offering flexible work hours?
Simply put, not everyone is productive between the standard bank hours of nine to five. Some of us would prefer to show up in the early hours of the morning when it’s relatively quiet, and leave earlier. Others are more productive in the late afternoon.
Instead of using caffeine to boost their energy levels, your team members can work when they’re naturally more productive, whether that’s morning, afternoon, or evening. And the zone will likely be different for everyone.
Automate Your Daily Tasks
Are you still working like it’s 1975? Thank goodness for technology because it makes life easier. By automating some of our workload, we free ourselves up to do the higher level tasks on our agenda.
There are several tasks you and your team do each day that can be automated. For example, you can use email in several ways.
You can create “canned responses” to emails that you get frequently. And email goes two ways. You can automate your outreach with your customers. You can also send out “happy birthday” emails to delight and nurture your customers, and stay at the top of their minds. You can also send out invoice reminders to gently nudge customers into paying.
Other ways to automate your business:
- Send out appointment reminders
- Assign inbound requests for information to specific salespeople
- Send out specific messages to your clients according to their behavior
Rethink Your Office Setup
Is your office set up for efficiency?
Your office layout can make your team feel more capable. And there are many ways to design your office space so that it supports your team.
Some teams will thrive in an open plan where there are no walls. In this set up, team members work side-by-side in a more cooperative environment.
Other teams would function better in an office that has designated zones for private conversations or solo work. This type of set up would also provide a conference zone with shared furniture for community events.
When choosing a set up, take into account how your team members will need to work. Do they need to collaborate often with each other? Or would they be more productive with individual workstations?
Use a Visitor Management System
Interruption is the number-one productivity killer. When you’re interrupted, you must stop what you’re doing to resolve the interruption. But that doesn’t mean that you return immediately back to what you were doing. According to this study, it takes 23 minutes to get back into the zone of your workflow. Here’s the kicker: the average employee is interrupted every three minutes. When you add everything up, you waste six hours each day stuck in an inefficient zone. That means you’re paying an employee for eight hours of work each day, but only getting two.
It’s not your employee’s fault. It’s just the way that the human mind works.
Interruptions also lead to increased errors and omissions. Interruptions are frustrating for your employees and can lead to workplace dissatisfaction. Fortunately, there is a way to reduce interruptions. Use our visitor management tool, the Receptionist for iPad, which allows you to digitally greet visitors as soon as they arrive in your reception area.
If you don’t have a receptionist, there’s no need for visitors to interrupt the person closest to the door when they arrive. Our iPad-based visitor management tool can allow visitors to check in when they arrive and automatically notify their host.
If you have a full-time receptionist, using The Receptionist for iPad is still a great idea. As you know, the receptionist role is expanding into more of an administrative assistant. These days, receptionists do more than greet guests. They perform clerical and administrative tasks, like filing paperwork, scheduling appointments, and answering calls.
By having The Receptionist for iPad in your office, you ensure that your visitor doesn’t waste their time waiting in a queue or for your receptionist to finish a phone call. Your receptionist can continue to do their high-level tasks while our software ensures that visitors are connected with their hosts immediately and automatically.
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Learn more about The Receptionist for iPad (and start your free trial) here.
Creating a more efficient workplace starts with setting specific and achievable goals and ensuring that your team has the resources to accomplish those goals. It’s also a good idea to rethink the way that you and your team work together. This includes reimagining your office set up, the hours you work, and the way that you manage visitors.
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