Although a study in 2017 showed that the average Irish worker only has a 22.2 hour working week, this is certainly not true across all levels of the career ladder. In many professions, the number of hours worked each week far exceeds this number and, in fact, exceeds the 40 hour week which is held up as the standard. For example, those working in the Irish agricultural and forestry industries work over 50 hours per week, while managers and directors in Ireland work an average of 42.6 hours each week. However, it is not only by increasing the number of hours worked that employee productivity can be improved so here are some top tips to increase efficiency in the workplace.
Delegation Is Key
Although workers are there to handle all the tasks that you don’t have time to do as the company manager, it can be difficult to delegate tasks for fear of everything going wrong. Of course, quality is essential for a successful business, however going over everything with a fine-toothed comb yourself can just be a waste of time. Don’t be afraid to give responsibility to those employees who are trustworthy and qualified to tackle the job in hand. They will gain greater leadership experience and skills which will benefit the company in the long run, and you’ll be freed up for other vital tasks that are critical to the business.
Matching Skills To Tasks
Look at your employee’s abilities and skillsets before you assign tasks. This will maximise efficiency. A creative extrovert on your staff will probably be a good choice for pitching ideas to a new client, however they may not do so well with a detail oriented or rule intensive task. Most employees excel in specific areas, so choose the person who is best suited to each task to get the job done most efficiently.
Good communication holds the key to productivity in the workforce. As technology now enables us to make contact with each other at the tap of a screen, we should be able to communicate efficiently, however emails are now being cited as one of workers’ most time-consuming activities. Introducing tools for social networking like Slack will help to speed up communication between members of teams.
Clearly Focused Goals
If employees have no clear or focused goals which they know that they should aim for, they cannot be as productive as they should be. Making narrow assignments will let workers know precisely what is expected and will maximise efficiency in the workplace.
Incentivising efficiency is one highly effective way to improve employee productivity. By acknowledging a job that has been well done and by rewarding employees for excellent work, workers feel more valued and more encouraged to carry on giving their best in the workplace.
Whenever possible, avoiding giving workers unnecessary small tasks when they are working towards a major goal is the best course of action. Allowing employees to focus on their high priority assignments will save time and increase productivity in essential areas.
Development And Training For Employees
Although it may seem like a good way to save money and time by reducing or cutting training completely, this may breed inefficiency in the workplace. By making workers learn about their job as they go can lead to unnecessary mistakes and costly errors which can set productivity back for days, whereas a day of training could eliminate this time wastage. Once employees are fully trained, they should still be participating in ongoing CPD. By expanding their skills, the workforce will become more advanced to the benefit of the business over time. By offering courses, workshops, coaching, mentoring or seminars, you can help to give them the skills that will boost their productivity and efficiency.
Working From Home
Although it may seem to be inefficient to allow employees to work at home instead of coming into the office, in fact the opposite appears to be the case, and studies have also proven that 82% of people who work from home are less stressed. At present, only 15% of large companies in Ireland allow workers to telecommute, however the number is growing year on year and by offering this flexible arrangement, worker retention will be improved, new talent will be attracted and workers will be able to avoid taking holiday (and thus reducing overall productivity ) if they are feeling unwell or if they need to wait at home for a delivery.
Employees will never be able to be truly efficient if they are unaware of their efficiency. Holding regular performance reviews will ensure that you can feedback to workers to tell them the areas in which they are doing well and which areas require more focus. It’s also important to ask workers in turn how you could improve the business to meet their needs and to improve their productivity. It isn’t all about how the workers can try harder, it’s also about things that employers can do better. By encouraging open dialogue, this improves communication in the workplace and allows for ongoing development by both employees and employers alike.
Thinking Of The Big Picture
Sometimes, things which appear to be inefficient often prove to be beneficial when you look at the overall picture. Therefore, before you write something off as being a waste of time, instead wait and ask yourself if it could be of benefit to the company at some point in the future. For example, if you invest in high quality HR software, this will save both the company itself and employees too hours of work further down the road. By offering the ability to implement automated onboarding and payrolls which run themselves, embracing the latest software technology may be costly in the short term, but will improve efficiency while reducing employee frustration and allowing your business to grow and thrive.
Try these top tips for improving efficiency in your company and you can ensure that you don’t lose out to your competition in today’s overcrowded marketplace.