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The Small Business Productivity Guide: 6 Tips to Boost Your Output

ByVictor Snyder,
business.com writer
|
Oct 24, 2019
Image credit: monkeybusinessimages/Getty Images
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Here are six tips to help you and your employees work more efficiently.

A business is said to be successful when it's making a handsome profit. But to increase your profit you've got to increase your output as well. What that means is that if you want more profit, then you need to do something about your output.

But is that even possible? How can you do this with few employees and a short amount of time during the day to get work done?

What if I told you that there is a way to increase your output with the number of people you have under your employ and the finite time in your hands? What if an increase in output and a consequent increase in profit had a lot to do with how productive your employees are?

There are studies to prove that there is a strong relationship between improved productivity and an increase in profit. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that in the nonfinancial corporate sector there was a 2.8% increase in staff productivity which led to a 3.1% increase in output. Consequently, profits increased at a 13.2% annual rate.  

In this guide, you will learn how to boost the output of your business by applying six tips that will skyrocket the productivity of your employees without compromising on the quality of their output.

Editor's note: Need a time and attendance system for your business? Fill out the below questionnaire to have our vendor partners contact you with free information. 

 

1. Make everyone accountable for the time spent at work.

You must have guessed by now that productivity has a lot to do with how well you're able to use the time you have. Each employee in your business is expected to put in a certain number of hours working for you. Getting tools that track when your employees clock in for the day will help you know if they're present and putting in the required hours. Of course, you can track this data manually, but using a time tracking application like Time Clock Wizard is easier and will save you time.

And, of course, it's natural that you want them to make the most of their time. But how will you know that your employees are making the most of the time they spend at work each day? How do you know that they are creating the expected output daily? And how can you measure the output?

This is where giving your employees clearly determined daily goals or targets to achieve comes in. This will improve their morale and increase their productivity as well. People tend to work more efficiently when they know they're working towardsa clear, predetermined goal. This goal must have a timeline and every worker must know that the target must be achieved before that set timeline. 

So how do you set this goal?

The key to setting a goal is to work backward. Yes, you heard that right. 

You're going to determine the outcome you expect from your employees and reverse engineer that. Working your way backward helps you know just the kind of tasks that need to be done on a regular basis that will help you achieve the end goal. That way you'll know what the monthly, weekly and even daily target for each employee should be. 

When you clearly define what the target or goal for the month week or day is, then your employees can easily pace themselves while working towards hitting each milestone. 

2. Eliminate timewasters.

If you want to increase your output, then you and your employees need to be focused. Remember, you want to make every hour spent at your business count, so you have to make sure that the time is used to its full potential. 

But let's face it. There are times when your mind wanders and you feel that spending another five minutes on social media won't hurt. However, it's easy for that five minutes to turn to 30 and by then, you've either lost focus or you're not in the mood to get back to work. 

To get productive, you have to get rid of anything that can distract you from your work and your employees must do the same. Sounds impossible, right? Fine, no one (including yourself) can muster 100% concentration. But there are some things that can be done to help drastically increase your and your employees' focus on work to boost output without skimping on the quality. 

A good place to start is to get rid of your distracting apps or at least keep them quiet while you're working. Turn off phone notifications or better yet, turn off the phone or lock it away in your desk drawer. Social media distractions alone have the ability to rob you off nearly 50 hours per month. That's 50 hours that could have been used to accomplish productive and fruitful work. 

Got a distracting thought? Encourage your employees to keep a notebook next to them where they note down those distracting thoughts and let them go. The idea behind this method is to get the distracting thoughts out of their heads and onto a piece of paper so that they can free their headspace and concentrate on work. 

Above all, let your employees understand that the minute they catch themselves being distracted they shouldn't beat themselves up over it. Rather, they should gently guide their minds back to their work. 

3. Automate as many tasks as possible.

If you've been in business for a while, you know that there are lots of processes and activities that are still being done manually. Those tasks are often small but essential tasks that must be done.

But what if those tasks can be automated so that you and your employees have more time to devote to other processes or tasks that require more time and effort to complete?

Assess the operations of your business and invest in software that automates as many of those processes as possible so you can get the mundane work done efficiently and your employees can focus on other tasks.

4. Set up collaboration tools for your team.

There is a lot of teamwork that goes into running a business. To boost the output of your business, you need to make sure that your teams are working together as efficiently as possible. One of the ways to do this is to invest in collaboration tools. 

Collaboration tools like SlackAsanaTrello or even something as simple as Google Docs make it easy to communicate, transfer files and share information. They enable everyone to see the progress made, keeping everyone accountable for the task assigned to them. 

5. Create an efficient workflow.

Being productive requires you to have an efficient workflow. Sometimes when you have a really long to-do list and breakneck deadlines, it can feel overwhelming. In such a situation, redefining your workflow could be a solution. 

Go through your to-do list for the day and assess each item according to its level of importance. Then rearrange the items on the list, starting with the most important item and ending with the least important item. 

At this point, you will probably notice that there are some items on the list that can be transferred to another day. That leaves you with the most pressing tasks to tackle. 

Now rearrange the items on your new list starting with the most difficult or challenging tasks and ending with the easiest tasks. 

Working through your list this way will help you put your to-do list in perspective.

6. Create favorable working conditions.

You can't expect your employees to crush all their goals and deadlines if they're in an unfavorable working environment. In fact, if we're going to draw a cue from the second tip on our list, unfavorable working environments is a distraction. For example, I don't know about you, but working on a cluttered desk gets me frazzled.

Why do you think companies like Google or Facebook put in a lot of thought to their employee's workspaces? They do this because they understand that the workspace is critical to employees' success.

Even environmental adjustments as simple as adjusting your thermostat can improve the productivity of your workers. Researchers found that workers tend to be more productive when working in a warm office.

Aside from the aesthetics of your workspace and the room temperature, encourage good desk habits. When you keep your workspace clutter-free, it makes it easier to focus on your work. A cluttered desk or workstation can be distracting and hamper productivity.

Now it's your turn!

In this guide, you learned what you need to do to boost the output of your business by improving your employees' productivity. Yes, you may need to acquire more tools and organize training, but it's interesting to see how minor tweaks here and there can make a massive positive change to your business' revenue. 

Which tip will you implement in your business first?

Victor Snyder
Victor Snyder
See Victor Snyder's Profile
A Florida native, Victor G. Snyder has served as a consulting business coach since 2003. He founded BossMakers in 2014, empowering entrepreneurs to filter out the noise, achieve flow and tackle the challenges that will get them where they want to be – ultimately, to own success.
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