Improving the productivity of your business is one of the best ways to ensure it is successful. You can have the most innovative product on the market, a fantastic plan for your company’s future success and a team full of talented employees, but without sufficient productivity, you won’t achieve your targets.
Productivity is tricky to improve because there is no fix-all way of achieving it. A solution which works wonders for one business may make the situation worse for another, so it is important to understand the core principles of a productive company first, rather than rush into implementing specific solutions.
These core principles include having a clear and explainable target to aim for because without that you and your team will have nothing to serve as motivation or be able to gauge your progress.
You should also work on giving your team exactly what they need to be productive. Having an open channel of communication will help you to provide them with the tools, systems and guidance they require. Not only will this make your staff better able to complete tasks effectively, but it will demonstrate that you are fully supportive of your workforce, which will boost team morale.
This is the ultimate guide to improving the productivity of your business:
Start work on projects earlier
One of the best ways to improve productivity within your company is to avoid giving your team a mountain to climb. If you are rushing into new projects at the last minute, springing ambitious targets on your workforce with little warning or trying to make an impossibly short deadline, then your staff are going to be overly stressed and unable to complete work to their best abilities.
This will quickly lead to mistakes creeping in, which can snowball into deeper-rooted issues within your internal infrastructure. Your workflows may become overly complicated or disjointed, your team will likely become confused about the direction their projects are heading in or start to doubt the judgement of the senior leadership.
Instead, you should try to start work on projects as early as possible, to give your employees the best chance of success. For example, if your business develops software, then you might want to shift left.
At this point, you’re probably wondering what does shifting left mean? Shifting left is when the development and testing cycle of new software is brought together early, which makes it a far more cohesive and productive process.
Set clear and workable targets for your employees
Another great way to improve the productivity of your business is to set achievable targets for your employees to aim at.
It can be easy to set targets on a whim – especially if they are smaller targets in lieu of a larger one. Managers can often treat overly ambitious targets as a means of motivating a team or panicking them into action.
In fact, target setting is one of the most crucial aspects of being productive. It defines the course you are on, how long you have to achieve it and how comfortable you are with the challenge it poses.
Therefore, you should take time to create the best targets you can for your teams – which are neither too unrealistic nor too easy. You should also take the time to explain the reasoning behind the target to the team, to ensure there is no confusion and everyone is singing from the same hymn sheet.
Make sure everyone within your business has the tools they need to succeed
If your team doesn’t have the right equipment to do their jobs, then your business is going to suffer from a severe lack of productivity.
No one can work without the correct tools, so make it a priority to equip your team with everything they need to succeed in their role. If you aren’t sure about what these items are, then you should consult each team member and ask them to tell you exactly what they need.
It may be that you can’t provide them with every tool all at once, but if they have the core equipment then they can start to work more productively.
This channel of communication is useful to maintain for other reasons too. Talking to your team regularly ensures that everyone is on target, has any outstanding questions answered and gives you more rounded visibility of different departments.
As a result, you will be able to make better-informed business decisions, manage your employees better and enable your team to feel listened to, which will likely raise morale and productivity as a result.
Measure your progress regularly
If you want to improve productivity within your business, then you need to be able to measure it.
If you can’t demonstrably see the progress your business is making with its productivity, then you will have no way of knowing if you are heading in the right direction or not.
Therefore, set regular targets, integrate collaboration platforms into your workflows (which allow you to keep track of the progress made by team projects), or compare the number of products or services delivered over time.
Create a pleasant working environment
Your environment can have a huge effect on how productive you are. If you work in a dark, small office which makes you feel uncomfortable whenever you sit down to work then you are unlikely to be operating at your optimum.
Therefore, strive to make your working environment as pleasant as it can be. Invest in new office furniture, recarpet the floors or paint the walls in a mood-boosting color– depending on what you think needs improving.
You could also offer a hybrid working environment, meaning that your members of staff can work from the office for a set number of days and then from home for the rest of the week.
Giving this as an option allows your team members to choose a working environment that suits their temperament the best, ensuring that you will be able to always get the best out of them.