Getting a business started is only half the battle. Keeping things running smoothly and efficiently is ultimately the key to success. Businesses have so many moving parts that this can often seem like a daunting task. Thankfully, technology is leading the way in helping to create more capable and productive working environments. Here are five techniques you can use to boost the efficiency of your workplace.
1. Leverage Automation
The most powerful business tool to emerge over the past few years has probably been the emergence of robust automation. Driven by advancements in artificial intelligence and machine learning, business process automation tools such as customer relationship management and sales automation software can put some of the more monotonous and number-intensive operations on autopilot to a certain degree, This frees human staff to do what they’ve always done best: think and create. Sophisticated algorithms are also capable of using data on past performance to build accurate forecast models of future success. It takes knowing the art of model governance to properly leverage this information, but the more you put big data to work for your company, the more productive it will become.
2. Optimize Your Workspace
It’s often said that we should work smarter, not harder. That all begins with our work environment. It may sound too simple to be true, but having ergonomic chairs actually does boost productivity. According to the Institute of Medicine, work-related musculoskeletal problems cost US employers between $45 billion and $54 billion per year in lost wages and output. Even the office color scheme plays a role in making businesses function better through the impact of color psychology on both customers and employees. Above all else, it’s important for managers to create a positive work environment. Few things drag productivity down faster than social friction and developing the empathy and critical thinking skills necessary to head those problems off costs nothing.
3. Go Paperless (Mostly)
Having a paperless office doesn’t just save trees, it saves time and space. The advent of cloud computing has allowed processing power to be distributed somewhere other than one single device, which makes powerful business-related smartphone applications (such as automated timesheets and accounting software) possible. The data storage and backup capabilities of cloud computing can also go a long way to eliminating cumbersome filing cabinets. Don’t get too carried away with digitizing everything, though. Data loss can cost a small business serious money, so it might be wise to keep a hard copy of your most important documents.
4. Keep Marketing Research Fresh
Because so much of our socialization is done in the fast-paced world of social media, trends and subcultures emerge and dissipate rapidly. This can make marketing research a bit of a challenge. Doing quantitative, statistical studies is always necessary, but actively venturing into the world of social media and engaging with customers is how you can glean information about what your target audience actually values and enjoys. The good news is that much if not most of the marketing done nowadays is via those same social media channels. This means that research and sales can now be integrated more smoothly and organically than ever before.
5. Prioritize Employee Health
The year 2020 was a wake-up call to prioritize workplace health. Whether your employees and yourself are working at home or going back to the office, having good collective wellness has been proven by science to result in increased efficiency. Magnesium, phenylalanine and choline are three nutrients that managers specifically look for when planning for workplace wellness since they all play a role in boosting mental processes relevant to completing tasks effectively. So does regular exercise. Dig into the science and find a holistic approach to elevating the wellbeing of your workforce.
You can’t control what challenges will be thrown your way, only how you react to them. By knowing what tools and techniques are out there to help in that task is the first step to keeping your company on track.