Productivity takes on a whole different meaning when you’re a business owner or manager. When you’re an employee, you’re largely concerned about getting day-to-day tasks done. However, a business owner or manager sees the big picture and how the completion (or lack thereof) of these tasks affects the bottom line.
If tasks are not being done and employees are not being as productive as you would like, what can you as a business owner or manager do to improve it? The following are some steps you can take.
1.Install time tracking devices
You’ll likely get resistance with this one, but It may be the best weapon in your arsenal to show employees that time is literally money. If as an employer, you’re a little hesitant about tracking, the folks at timetrackapp.com can help you find out more about what time tracking actually is and how it can help you monitor your employees.
With it, you’ll have the ability to show employees how much time they spend on their respective duties. Likely, some of them do not realize how much of their work time is wasted by non-essentials. With black and white evidence of how much time they spend on assigned tasks, you’ll be able to improve productivity at the individual level.
You’ll also have a clearer idea of whether projects are going to be late based on an examination of timesheets and make adjustments accordingly. You can bill clients more accurately for work done because you can now show them how many hours were actually spent on their projects.
It also untangles many administrative nightmares as it makes it easier to figure out vacation days, sick leave, and time off. You are no longer relying on an employee’s memory or physical timesheets to collate these. An app will keep track of these.
Managing time is a skill and not everyone has it. The good news is that it is one that can be developed. If you’re having productivity issues at your company, one of the first things you can do is provide this training. The fact is, many employees do not recognize several of their work habits as time-wasters. Time management training can help them identify them while they’re happening and replace them with healthier, more productive work habits.
Another question you may need to ask yourself: do your employees understand their tasks properly? If you find that they don’t, it may be that they aren’t clear on what they are and how their overall duties contribute to the achievement of the company’s goals. You can develop training programs to correct this. Sometimes, the problem isn’t workers. Sometimes the problem is management. Maybe you have younger, less experienced managers on staff, who aren’t getting the best out of the employees. Be willing to upgrade their management skills with training if you recognize this is a problem.
3. Do what you can to eliminate productivity blocks from the company’s end
It’s easy to point at employees and accuse them of not being productive. But you need to ask yourself as a manager or business owner, is there anything the company is doing that is affecting their productivity? If your employees are working on broken equipment or are being slowed down by unnecessary bureaucracy, then you need to take an honest look at these problems and see what you can do to solve them. Productivity isn’t a one-way street.
Other times, you may not be able to do anything to help, but it will certainly boost employee morale to show that you’re aware of their issues. For example, if your employees are female and have small children, they may be facing difficulties getting childcare while they work.
You may not have the resources to set up a nursery for your children. However, you can have more flexible arrangements for working mothers on your staff. Measures like this will produce motivated, loyal employees.
4. Watch those meetings
Does your company have too many meetings that could have email? If the answer is yes, then you may want to consider your whole procedure for deciding which issues are meeting worthy.
Employees often complain too much of their time is taken up in unproductive meetings, affecting workflow and pushing back deadlines. It’s also a sad fact of office life that several managers revel in their authority to call meetings, no matter how unnecessary.
The first step you can take is to audit how many meetings you have and what comes out of them. When you have a better sense of what these meetings are or aren’t accomplishing, cut out all but the most important.
The meetings that remain must be managed. Set time limits for how long they last. This is to prevent meetings from overrunning into other parts of the day. Limit participants to limit contributions, which tend to take up time.
Make the meetings that remain matter. They must accomplish more, with less time and fewer people in attendance. To help with this, agendas must be clear, minutes must be taken and commitments must be given to solve the issue the meeting was called for at that meeting.
Increasing productivity is a multifaceted problem. Employees are central to it, but they are also only a part of the process. Try to take a comprehensive approach.