Just what you needed—another list of tips to increase productivity to distract you from work. But if you’re reading this, chances are you’re still searching for a solution to your company’s biggest time sinks.
Lagging productivity remains a top concern for business leaders, especially as technology continues to speed up the pace of work. Today’s organizations feel mounting pressure to accomplish more in less time and with fewer resources, yet many continue to lose precious work hours to unnecessary productivity drains.
How can companies prevent their workforce from wasting time on the job? The answer is not to ban social media or micro-manage employees’ time. Rather, it’s a simple matter of addressing common productivity leaks with common-sense solutions. Here are seven ways to help employees work more productively:
1. Minimize interruptions
Each time employees have to switch tasks, they can lose their train of thought—and their productivity takes a 40 percent dive. Checking emails, switching between apps, and logging into multiple systems to complete a single task are some of the most common interruptions employees struggle with on a daily basis. To eliminate the problems, companies can unify all of their systems and apps within a single platform that requires just one login. The more disruptions cut out of an employee’s workday, the more an employee can focus on getting work done.
2. Simplify workflows
As businesses expand, workflows have a tendency to expand with them. According to a Harvard Business Review survey, 86 percent of companies say their processes have grown so complex they’re hindering business growth. Fortunately, this trend is entirely reversible. By removing unnecessary steps from workflows and streamlining analog processes into digital processes, businesses can help employees work faster and more effectively. When simplifying workflows, start by asking a few basic questions:
- Who performs it?
- What tools do they need?
- What information do they need?
3. Automate routine tasks
Nearly half of employees spend at least 10 hours a week performing “busy work” such as reviewing reports and completing approvals. Seven in 10 believe automation could help them minimize the time they waste on these routine tasks, saving them six or more hours a week–almost a full workday. The good news is that organizations can easily simplify many of these time-consuming tasks with a easy-to-use, single-purpose apps that provide one-click task completion for common activities that live in common enterprise systems.
4. Deliver data proactively
Nearly half1 of employees struggle to find data when they need it. Worse yet, many employees must search and aggregate data from multiple clunky legacy systems that can take days or even weeks to return results. Once they finally put their hands on the data, they often have to spend even more time converting it into useful insights. Instead of wasting human productivity on data retrieval and analysis, organizations can leverage artificial intelligence to convert raw data into actionable insights and deliver them to the right people at the right time.
5. Boost engagement with social tools
Highly engaged teams are 21 percent more productive and 22 percent more profitable, according to Gallup. But with an increasingly dispersed workforce, employees often feel disconnected and disengaged. By using social technologies to improve communication and collaboration, businesses can boost productivity by up to 25 percent.
6. Encourage autonomy
It may seem counterintuitive, but productivity expert Robby Slaughter says one of the most effective ways to increase productivity is to give employees a longer leash. Scientific research shows that autonomy motivates employees even more than financial rewards, and employees who believe they are free to make their own choices tend to be more productive. “The best way to encourage productivity is to encourage individuals to take ownership over how they manage their own time and resources,” Slaughter says.
7. Empower a mobile workforce
Remote employees get more work done. When employees can escape from office distractions, more than half of workers say they’re able to get more done in the same or less time, while 77 percent report a jump in productivity. Remote workers also log more hours, take less sick leave, and are more engaged in their work.
Depending on how you use it, technology can either boost productivity or create frustrating time sinks. Armed with the right tools and strategies, business leaders can remove the time-wasting obstacles that stand in the way of getting work done.
1Enterprise Application Modernization survey, Q4 2017 by IDG Research on behalf of Sapho