Productivity levels can have a significant impact on your business. Low productivity reduces your profit – everything takes longer to do, employees are less motivated to deliver work, and you can experience high staff turnover. On the other hand, high productivity, driven by a good culture and organised time and task management, improves employee retention, increases profit margins and boosts your reputation.
How do you know if your business is productive?
There are various ways to measure productivity in your business. Often, business owners choose a single measure – such as products sold in a certain timeframe, or products produced during a shift, or time taken from initial enquiry to final invoice. Looking at the time taken and the way the business works can often highlight areas where improvements can be made. And this in turn can result in increased productivity – more products sold or made, and quicker turnaround time for client services.
Time or task management is often part of the measurement process. Some tasks can easily be made more efficient by, for example, creating a template form rather than creating a new form each time, or by managing paperwork digitally rather than using a filing cabinet. Departments who have separate ways of doing things could become more efficient by adopting the same processes, and streamlining tasks that are repeated unnecessarily can save a huge amount of time. Here’s our quick guide to the tasks or approaches that can be changed, streamlined or even outsourced to a dedicated small business virtual assistant to help you boost productivity:
Automate systems – small business often start keeping their data on paper and move onto spreadsheets. That might seem to be efficient, but when different people are using, accessing, updating and managing those spreadsheets, the process can become inefficient, with one hand not really keeping in line with what the other hand is doing. That’s why, as they grow, businesses often move to integrated Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems. This automates a significant amount of your communications with clients, as well as allowing sales and admin staff to work on a single system without duplicating effort. In addition, this is one of the key tasks to outsource to a virtual assistant because it can be easily managed and it relieves the pressure from your own employees so that they can get on with their central tasks.
Update technology – often, productivity is hampered by old or poorly-performing technology. This can be extremely frustrating for you and your employees – everyone knows how annoying it can be to have to turn equipment on and off to get it to work, call IT consultants to fix printers and network issues or be unable to photocopy key documents. Investing in better technology may take some capital expenditure, but you will get that back quickly in increased productivity. The same goes for the office software you use and any specialist packages your business needs.
Consider your culture – productivity improves when employees feel valued, are invested in and enjoy their work. If you have a culture of blame, and you show no flexibility for employee needs, or you fail to provide good benefits and working environment, you will almost inevitably see low productivity. That’s why today’s businesses – of all shapes and sizes – focus on the culture of the business. Forward-thinking employers realise that providing good packages and working conditions results in happier employees and this in turn improves productivity in your business.
If you want to explore strategies to improve productivity in your business, why not consider delegating some of your tasks to a virtual assistant provider? It can make a real impact on your time and task management, and because you only pay for the time you use – often calculated by the minute, so that you know you’re only paying for the work that’s been done – you can release your employees to concentrate on their core tasks, you don’t have to worry about holiday cover, and you can build a partnership that will benefit your business in the long term.
So, if you’re short on time and need help to improve your productivity, feel free to call us on 0800 994 9016 or use our contact form in the menu above.