It’s a hard but unavoidable truth that many workers have to deal with, having too much work and not enough employees to do it.
In a study, Gallup found that 38 percent of Americans who do have a job said their company is understaffed.
While the statistic is a bit dated, based off further research, understaffing still seems to be an issue in a variety of industries.
Some workers are being required to put in overtime in order to make up for the short-handedness but in reality, working more efficiently could save them a lot of time.
While maximizing efficiency at work could equate to more profits for employers (and not necessarily raises for employees), according to business owner, publicist, and Entrepreneur contributor Kristin Marquet, if you’re not performing as efficiently or effectively as others, your long-term job prospects could be in trouble. Follow these tips in order to maximize efficiency at work.
When there’s a lot to do, it’s easy for things to get missed. Some of the easiest ways to maximize your own personal efficiency are by:
- Setting reminders. Put pressing tasks into your computer and set reminders.
- Organizing files. Create unique folders in your inbox and on your computer or external hard drive for projects.
- Not multitasking. Our brains on multitasking are not good, wrote CNN, adding that there is about two percent of the population that are super multitaskers and it’s “sort of a genetic gift.” Work on one task, finish it, then move onto the next. Stop multitasking.
- Getting small and quick tasks out of the way. While it’s important to prioritize your tasks, sometimes it’s more efficient to just get smaller tasks that take 15 minutes or less to do out of the way.
- Keeping your desk clean: According to Forbes, a messy desk is dangerous; 77 percent of people who took OfficeMax’s Workplace Organization Survey said clutter damages their productivity.
Project Management: Planning and Development
During every stage of a project, communication is going to be key. As part of the planning and development stage, get all stakeholders on the same page by:
- Identifying timelines, deliverables, and expectations.
- Clearly stating who is going to be responsible for each and in which capacity.
- What the goals and objectives are.
- Additional resources that will be needed.
Project Management: Execution
As projects are being executed, you’ll need to know what progress is being made; there might be milestones you need to hit. One of the best ways I have found to organize this is through the use of a project management tool; there are several out there such as Podio, Asana, Basecamp, Wrike, and Trello. Instead of sending emails to discuss tasks that are part of the project, have stakeholders comment right on the task on the tool to avoid a ton of time spent sorting emails and remembering details.
If you are in a management position, whether you realize it or not, you play a huge role in your employees’ efficiency, or lack of it. Follow these tips to help improve it.
- Make sure your employees are trained accordingly. In some jobs, how things are done is always changing. Proper training can help minimize frustrations and help get projects done correctly the first time around. Huffington Post cited training information from American Society for Training and Development (ASTD): Companies that offer comprehensive training generate a six percent higher shareholder return if the training expenditure per employee increases by $680.
- Be their cheerleader, mentor, and coach. A Forrester research report found mentoring saves organizations money in the forms of reduced turnover and recruiting costs, helping employees learn skills and gain knowledge, plus more.
Worker comfort directly affects important predictors of operational efficiency such as job satisfaction, retention, well-being, and worker health wrote Herman Miller. In a few of my earlier Business.com articles, I wrote about how to be more comfortable at work which include:
- Bringing Zen to the Office: using a heated footrest and creating sensory experiences.
- Office Organization: Tips to Help You Work More Productivity. Getting organized is key.
- Affordable & Easy Ideas for a Workplace Décor Update: lighting and carpeting among other things impact comfort.
Even with every efficiency tip in place, technology can be your worst enemy. Here’s how to fix three common technology problems.
Getting the Printer to Print
Sometimes getting a printer to print can be as simple as turning a printer off then back on. Other times, try:
- Reading error messages thoroughly and taking actions accordingly.
- Checking that cables are plugged in and if you are printing remotely, the printer has an Internet connection.
- Checking for paper jams. Open up the feed and see if there’s paper stuck inside. According to PC Advisor, old paper can absorb moisture which makes it stick and then it’s pulled through two or more sheets at a time.
Speeding Up a Slow Computer
I have one of the best laptops money could buy and even so, from time to time it’s slow. The technology experts at offtek offered three ways to speed up a slow computer:
- Reduce the number of programs that automatically launch when you boot your computer.
- Upgrade to a solid-state drive.
- Add more memory.
Fixing Network Issues
Multiple times a week I either lose Internet connection or have slow Internet. While I typically just switch over between the two networks I have access to and that seems to work, your network might require more; try rebooting it.
What are some other ways you found helpful in increasing efficiencies? Let me know.