Learning how to improve your daily workflow will save you thousands of hours and maximize your productivity. Inefficient workflows lead to loss of revenue, unsuccessful projects, and unmotivated employees.
Inefficient workflows in your organization are also a major reason your employees get the opportunities to engage in non-productive activities. Zippia statistics show that most employees spend about three hours of an eight-hour workday engaging in non-work related activities. Employees will use this time to perform personal tasks, use social media, or engage in office gossip.
You can avoid this and increase your revenue by using the following workflow tips to increase efficiency.
What is a Workflow?
A workflow is a systematic pattern of activities that employees follow to process information, create products, or provide services. Workflows are vital to your business if you want to get more done and avoid time wastage in your organization.
A workflow helps you create a system for your daily work so you can spend less time manually managing how work progresses. The ideal situation for your business is when you achieve workflow efficiency.
Workflow efficiency refers to how effectively and quickly you and your team can implement a workflow. For example, you can maximize workflow efficiency by optimizing your business processes to reduce wastage.
Causes of Workflow Inefficiency
If you think about it, workflows are like machines with several moving parts. Therefore, damage to any of these parts means the machine will not function at optimum capacity.
Therefore, before we discuss how to improve your daily workflow, we need to first understand what may be causing the inefficiencies. Some factors that cause workflow inefficiencies include:
Unproductive/ relevant tasks
Inadequate or non-existence workflow automation
Multitasking and distractions
Irrelevant business processes
Inadequate training and resources
Now let's talk about how to safeguard your workflow against inefficiencies.
1. Analyze the Current Workflow
Have you ever watched at least one investigative movie or TV show in your lifetime? If you remember correctly, the case detective first visited the crime scene, examined it, and took several statements.
The same concept applies to fixing your workflows. You cannot improve them without knowing the areas to improve and optimize.
Analyzing your workflow requires collaboration with your team. Your employees are better placed to offer honest feedback on which of your business processes aren't optimized. For example, employees can inform you how best to improve organizational communication.
Moreover, you could use workflow efficiency metrics to help you review your current workflow. For example, employee data showing high cycle time, error rates, and declining output in a given business process is enough to signal that change is needed. It is an indication that more automation is needed.
2. Automate Your Workflow
Business process automation is an effective strategy for improving workflow efficiency. For example, using automated collaborative workflow tools like Asana and Trello allows you to coordinate your team better, which means there will be more effective communication between all members working on a given project.
Automation also helps you solve the major workflow efficiency challenge of dealing with repetitive tasks. For example, automation tools like online QuickBooks prevent employees from wasting their productivity while engaging in repetitive tasks such as preparing invoices.
3. Streamline Your Workflow
The review you just conducted should help you establish the bottlenecks in your workflow. Workflow bottlenecks include recurring issues contributing to declined employee productivity and output.
You can resolve some of the challenges you have identified without hitting the reset button for the whole workflow. For example, provide your employees with the training they require to be more efficient with your current workflow automation.
However, you may have fully automated your workflows, but they aren't producing the expected optimum result. You can resolve this challenge by streamlining your workflow automation to ensure that they are working in sync.
You will be surprised to know that you may be overcomplicating the daily workflow by using too many automation solutions to achieve a simple outcome.
For example, the reason for communication breakdown in your workflow is that you use multiple communication platforms to communicate with your team. In such a scenario, you streamline the process by encouraging your teams to communicate on the project management tools like ClickUp or Asana.
4. Prioritize Tasks Based on Importance
Now that you understand your current workflows, you need to rank them based on their importance to the business's strategic or project objectives. Break down the various strategic objectives and classify your business projects based on their importance in contributing to your strategic goals. Make sure to tag them based on the priority established.
You will apply the same procedure in scheduling the project tasks to be handled by your team members. Tasks for high-ranking projects get a higher priority in the schedule, which means they get more resources such as time.
Prioritizing your projects allows you to identify irrelevant and unproductive tasks. Eliminate these tasks to increase your workflow's efficiency.
5. Separate and Delegate Duties
Your workflows are inefficient because of the slow decision-making process and undefined roles. Think of a scenario where an employee cannot continue working on the next part of the project because you (the boss) have not approved the first part.
If you already have more than enough on your plate, the said employee will continue reporting to work and doing nothing productive for your business. To be fair, you cannot blame the employee for the lost productivity. Your bureaucratic system of doing things is hampering their productivity.
Of course, delegating management and oversight responsibilities is quite tricky for a small business owner. However, numerous qualified online business managers can help you with the operations-level management of your business.
Such as an online business manager will take up, among other roles, the responsibility of assigning specific tasks to your team members. The manager will also coordinate with all the team members to ensure the project tasks are completed within the allocated timelines.
In the spirit of delegation, you must incorporate your project clients into your project management platform. Giving the customer access to your platform allows them to review the work in progress in each stage and, where necessary, give the ahead for completion.
6. Set Goals and Deadlines
Setting clear goals and deadlines for various organizational projects motivates employees to be highly productive. The same techniques will help you eliminate the workflow inefficiencies your business may be experiencing.
Set clear organizational and project goals to inform everyone of your business's direction. Project goals will guide the employees on the expected outcome of their assigned responsibilities.
For example, consider a situation where you have set an email marketing project goal of increasing the ROI by 12% in three months. The employee will be fully motivated to play their role in meeting the specific goals set for the team.
Deadlines also ensure every team member is fully aware of the project completion time. It creates an accountability environment and prevents employees from wasting time on personal tasks.
7. Minimize Distractions
Interruptions increase your workflow inefficiencies. The interruption may originate from essential activities that happen to be done at the wrong time. Examples of such distractions include unnecessary communication during working hours or scheduling time-wasting meetings that cut into your employees' productive hours.
Eliminate distractions during working hours by using time-tracking apps. Some of the best time-tracking apps ensure that your remote employees can only track the time they engage in productive work you have assigned them. Therefore, you get value for money for their services by only paying for the hours they spend doing your productive work.
8. Take Breaks and Encourage Your Employees to Do the Same
As a human being, you cannot work continuously for an extended period and remain fully productive. The negative impacts of straining your body and mind for a long time will manifest in burnout, fatigue, or depression. Alan Cohen once stated, "There is a virtue in work, and there is a virtue in rest. Use both and overlook neither."
Productive breaks give your body and mind the much-needed opportunity to recharge and refresh for the next activities in your workflow. The keyword here is productive breaks such as stretching, taking short walks, or doing yoga.
Start Working Smarter Today
There is every reason to boost your employee productivity using the right tools and strategies. Royal Assistants will help you examine your business processes to identify the sources of your workflow inefficiencies. We will then assist you to implement the relevant business automation to streamline your processes.