Here we cover how to improve workflow in the office in 7 surprising ways.
Everybody says it’s better to “work smart” than to work hard. While we believe you should do both, let’s think about working smart for a second. What does that actually mean? For too many people, working smart entails cutting corners, lowering standards, and trying to slack off as much as possible while hoping your boss won’t notice. Basically doing as little work as possible. This, besides being unethical, is wrong (at least partly).
Working smart means achieving the results you want, accomplishing your goals, and finishing projects, while investing as little energy and as few resources as possible. You still get the job done, you do what you’re supposed to do, you just making it easier for yourself and others. This is almost synonymous with getting a better daily workflow.
Improving how stuff is done, whether your’s specifically or your team’s, is all about efficiency and working smart. Below we give you some tips, tricks, and examples of how you can do just that.
Small, daily habits can build up. The small things we do every single day for weeks, months, years, reflect upon a company’s productivity much more than some fantastic new system or hair-brained scheme.
For example, you can point out that people should go for a walk while on their breaks. Instead of staring at a phone, people will feel much better if they get some fresh air (according to this Business Journals article).
Encourage physically active breaks and healthy habits at the office. People should drink plenty of water and maybe opt for some healthy snacks. Fill up your rec room with fruits, nuts, and granola bars.
As far as actual assignments go, promote a distraction-free environment. Don’t ban smartphones, but encourage people to keep them in their pockets when work is being done.
Similar to our previous point, knowing how things are done, and what needs to be done first, is pretty important for your organisation. So, sit down with your team, and talk it out. Have a very clear idea of what are the most important tasks that need to be done, and who needs to do them.
While the actual workflow will vary from company to company, there are some general principles you can check out. We strongly suggest you try out Eisenhower’s Urgent/Important chart. You write down a list of tasks you need to do. Then, you figure out which one of them falls into which category. Tasks can be:
Many of you diehard entrepreneurs out there might balk at the idea, but breaks are actually good for you (and your employees). High-level motivation and a ride-or-die attitude are all well and good, but if you’re wondering how to improve workflow in the office, taking a break will improve efficiency and workflow significantly.
People need breaks, they need to rest. A solid lunch break, with a couple of short breaks throughout the day, can mean the world. People get the opportunity to recharge their batteries, stretch their legs, and can get back to work fresh and invigorated. Check out this Forbes report on scientific studies that deal with stress and breaks.
If you force your people, and yourself, to work for hours on end, your work will suffer. You may not notice it, but you will become less and less efficient as time goes on, and you might start making mistakes. The best workflow and organization setup won’t help if you are too tired to focus.
If you want to get a heads up on your workflow in the office, focus on training and educating people. Investing in seminars, courses, and proper instructors can yield amazing benefits. Studies show that it increases self-worth and motivation, not just their relevant skill. The best part is that you can pick and choose a seminar that fits your needs the best, allowing you to maximize workflow and efficiency.
For example, if you have noticed that productivity is lacking because people are procrastinating with their tasks and are losing motivation, getting a motivational speaker or investing in a seminar on goal setting might help.
You can also get an expert to come to your company and help everyone with becoming more efficient. An outsider might notice some issues, they might give you advice on problems and weak spots that you never noticed before.
Finally, helping your people improve their skills and get better at their jobs (through courses and seminars) means everything will run more smoothly. It will show them that you care about their careers and their skills, thus further improving efficiency by improving motivation.
Another way to improve workflow in the office is investing in the right tools. Now, these can seriously depend on your field of expertise and the actual industry your company is in. We do however have some suggestions.
First of all, things need to be efficient. We suggest you get a centralized messaging app for the entire company. Get some alternatives to Slack, and use it exclusively for communication. Communicating over email, an app, skype, Facebook, Whatsapp, and whatever else means you will most likely lose some important data and make mistakes.
Invest in good computers too. There is nothing more stressful than a slow work laptop. This goes for any type of equipment your people need to do their jobs.
No, you cannot multitask, according to science. Doing multiple things at once means you will do all of them worse than actually dedicated your full attention to one task at a time. Your brain will overload from all that extra data, and you will miss out on important aspects of work.
Try to have set “do not disturb” hours for especially difficult and important projects.
Proper communication improves every aspect of your business. The better you can communicate, the lower the chances of having misunderstandings and confusion arise at the workplace. You also become better at motivating your employees, as well as connecting with them.
This tip might be the hardest to figure out, but it’s not impossible. Check out some courses, read an article or two, buy some books, find specific google videos… Just take your time, and try to think outside of the box.
And there you have it folks, a couple of unexpected ways on how to improve workflow in the office. Think outside of the box, better efficiency isn’t that obvious. Getting the most difficult part of the job right away, learning how to communicate, investing in proper tools, and actually taking breaks will help you, and your team, do your jobs better.
It seems near impossible to imagine a life past the pandemic, but as more vaccines become available and widespread immunity increases, companies and employers need to prepare to safely and effectively bring employees back to the office. While the landscape of the workplace has drastically changed and some will continue to work remotely for the foreseeable future, many will choose to come back to the office partially or full time. There are a number of strategies that workplaces can implement to ensure that their employees feel supported if and when they return to the office.
The shift between home and office is going to be a slow one. As an employer, you’ll need to anticipate that it will take your employees at least a few weeks to ensure that their affairs are in order. Stay transparent with your employees about the timeframe in which they can expect to return to the office. Give them a projected date as soon as possible, even if it is subject to change. If they know that a return to the office is imminent, people can begin to make plans for things like childcare and pet sitting. These arrangements can sometimes take weeks to secure. Some may even need to figure out their method of transportation once again.
When deciding when and how to return, you might consider creating a hybrid schedule. This could mean that certain teams come in on two days out of the week, while other teams come in on the opposite two days, and you use a day in between as a completely virtual day. Or it could mean that everyone is in on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and Tuesday and Thursday are your virtual days. Whatever you choose to establish as your new schedule, make sure it is consistent and communicated to your employees in advance.
Employees will also need time to adjust the routines that they’ve developed while staying home. Some of the luxuries of working from home, like waking up late, midday workouts, and cooking every meal have become normal parts of the day. People will have to return to waking up with time for the commute and preparing meals in advance. It may be helpful to suggest to employees that they should get back into these habits prior to returning to the office, this way the change does not feel so drastic. It might even be helpful for employees to start using a habit tracker to make the transition easier and more successful.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the cleanliness of the office space to the forefront of everyone’s mind. One of the top priorities as an employer should be to make sure your employees are not only comfortable in their work environment, but to make sure they stay healthy. Keeping the physical office space disinfected shows your employees that their safety is a major concern.
Focus on keeping your high-touch surfaces clean to abate the spread of germs. High-touch surfaces are exactly what the term would imply; the surfaces that are touched by the most people multiple times a day. These can include doorknobs, light switches, hand scanners, faucets, kitchen and bathroom fixtures. Consider setting a reminder in the morning, midday, and evening to go around to each area to sanitize. You can also designate a specific one or two people to be in charge of turning on lights and locking and unlocking doors.
Consider creating task forces assigned to sanitizing certain areas. Having specific team assignments will safeguard any areas from being overlooked, and will assure the frequency with which each area is being cleaned. You can also assign someone, perhaps on a rotating schedule to make sure you have things like hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, and paper towels in stock. When it is time to restock, they can place an order to have the cleaning supplies delivered to your office. By keeping employees engaged in the process, they can feel better about their office space knowing that it is cleaned to their own standards.
Another way to keep the office cleaner and your employees safer is to eliminate the need for shared items. For example, each employee that requires a phone should have an individual phone or a business number that they can use on their own phone. You can also do things like giving every employee their own box of pens, and making sure that you have enough keyboards and mice that they won’t need to share. Your employees will feel better about coming into work if what they are using is their own and they don’t have to worry about the cleanliness of others.
A key component to supporting the well-being of your employees is to encourage them to take charge of their health. Attending work while feeling ill is no longer an option. Whether it be a mild cold or something more serious, it isn’t worth coming into the office and potentially spreading an illness to someone else. Not only do you want to try to create an environment where your employees feel confident that they won’t get sick at work, but healthy employees will ensure that you don’t lose any productivity due to multiple absences.
Let your staff know that it is acceptable and even encouraged to stay home while ill. As many have learned, viral illnesses can have a range of symptoms and severity. Consider creating a list of concerning symptoms for your employees to reference so that they can easily make the decision of whether or not to stay home. If you’ve been working remotely for a while, they might be able to complete their duties from home if they’re feeling up to it. If they are especially unwell, encourage your employees to take time to rest so that they might recover faster.
You should also be supportive of your employees making time to find and utilize healthcare. Simple communication to remind them to stay up-to-date on their medical treatments, checkups, vaccines, and general health can lead to an overall healthier and more productive staff. Visiting a doctor for a severe or continuing illness should be encouraged.
There is a chain reaction effect that comes from empowering employees to improve or maintain their mental wellbeing. If people are in a healthy headspace, they are more likely to put effort into taking care of other areas of their life, especially their careers. Employees want to feel excited about coming into work, and you can help them do so by letting them know that their mental health is a priority to the company. In fact, one study by TELUS International showed that 80% of the employees surveyed would quit their job if they found another position at a company that placed a higher value on their mental health.
First and foremost, being transparent about how the mental wellness of your staff is valued will let your employees know that this is a top concern to the company. You can also give your employees a boost by having your HR department, managers, or directors do personal check-ins to make sure that the work environment is not contributing to a decline in someone’s mental state. By having these personal conversations, you can create individual action plans to lower overall stress and relieve certain pain points.
You can also implement weekly or monthly activities that might improve personal wellness. Activities such as a virtual yoga class or sharing a healthy recipe can work to boost morale among employees and get them to take an active role in their health. Even encouraging something like scheduling a fifteen-minute coffee break with a coworker can improve the feelings of connectedness and interaction that working remotely has stripped away.
The transition between working from home and returning to the office will undoubtedly be tricky for companies to navigate. Employers have to consider the health and safety of employees, new in-office logistic plans, and the mental and physical adjustments that workers will need to make over time. People have changed their daily workflows and family situations to accommodate remote work, so employers will need to be understanding as workers readjust to life in the workplace. If managed correctly and with care, together we can secure a smooth return back to work.
Smart Recruit Online returned to once again sponsor Business Live’s Employee Health & Wellbeing event last month. Some common themes appeared for employee wellbeing initiatives going into 2021, from ways to improve mental health and welfare to workplace productivity, all thought to contribute to overall wellbeing.
It’s a wrap! We had so much fun sponsoring Business Live’s Health & Wellbeing Event last week. Over 300 HR Managers, Wellbeing Experts and Hiring Managers signed up to share their experiences and learn some helpful wellbeing tips from our panel of expert speakers.
Couldn’t make it? We’ve put together some of the highlights for you here.
Our first speaker Emilie discussed her own experiences supporting mental health during lockdown. She described how setting time aside to purely focus on self-care is vital, whether that’s through fitness or just settling down with a good book.
Emilie works with Document Logistix to deliver centralised document management systems, which has proved hugely important to businesses during the lockdown period. You can find their website here.
Daryl works closely with businesses to improve their performance through the life-work effect. This is achieved by forming daily habits in 4 key areas: Smart Action, Productivity Mastery, Work-Life Balance (or Life-Work Balance!), and Wellbeing. Daryl even gave some top tips on how to manage the return to the office, with the main takeaway to have more fun. Have a 5-minute huddle at the start of every working day with a short, fun team exercise, to help boost your employees’ mood and thus their productivity.
If you want some extra action points on how to improve your productivity, you can sign up for Daryl’s next free event here.
With over 20 years in the industry, Navrita gave some excellent insights into Equality and Diversity in the workplace. Her top tips included ensuring your business is promoting equality of opportunity, so that all your employees’ needs are being met – for example, providing the right equipment for those who require extra support. Giving your employees the confidence to share their needs is also a must, through a supportive working environment with zero tolerance policies and staff support groups.
Talking through his own experiences, Michael gave us some deep insights into how burnout can unexpectedly happen to you. In a world where many employees put themselves under stress and pressure to succeed, self-care and wellbeing in a corporate environment is important. This drove Michael to launch Create Space, a global retreat and workshop service for businesses to support employee self-care, and equip them with tools for personal growth.
You can book yourself on one of Michael’s bespoke learning and development workshops here.
Jon operates one of the biggest mental health services in Milton Keynes, Arthur Ellis. Aptly using the imagery of bananas and donuts, Jon discussed how Banana Behaviours (Moving, Focusing Attention, Communicating, Learning, and Helping Others) all contribute positively towards health. When these behaviours are interrupted, or we indulge a bit too much in Donut Behaviours (wine, Netflix etc.), our overall health can decline. Making sure you have a good balance between these behaviours positively impacts your health.
You can find a wide range of useful mental health guides and support on the Arthur Ellis website here.
Our final speaker, Ravi, shared how physical health can help lead to better mental health, and employee wellbeing. After great success in the business world, in 2019 Ravi turned his sights to helping corporate workers transform their physical health, and launched his wellness brand Ravi Summan Wellness. Ravi recommends encouraging your workers to exercise throughout the week, setting aside time to keep their physical and mental health strong.
After a successful event, we are greatly looking forward to the next one and hope to see you there. More details to follow…
To watch the recording of the event, click here (passcode: F*1ZXkY#)
Smart Recruit Online are happy to share that we are once again sponsoring Business Live’s free Health & Wellbeing Event on the 25th of February. If you are a HR manager, Wellbeing Expert or Hiring Manager looking for extra ways to support your staff with their mental and physical health, this event is well worth signing up to.
Employee mental health and wellbeing are topics that have been gaining a lot of traction in businesses. This is now even more so the case, with many people working from home and looking for support from their employers as we continue to navigate a ‘new normal’.
Business Live’s Health and Wellbeing Event aims to give you the tools to help support your employees for years to come. With a fantastic virtual panel of expert speakers on the subject, you will gain insight into their own experiences and practical solutions that you can bring into your business to improve staff wellbeing.
Research has found that happier employees lead to higher productivity, staff retention and ultimately, a more successful business. Fostering a positive work culture around staff wellbeing will help this, and this event gives you the tools to do just that. Better yet, a good working culture will be attractive to any future talent looking to join your business.
Last year’s event hosted to over 90 HR managers, business owners, and hiring managers. There was extremely positive feedback, with many attendees stating they would come again.
3.00pm – Registration and entry to the zoom call
3.05pm – Welcome Victoria Beale, CEO Business Live UK
3.10pm – Emilie Barlow-Martin – Document Logistix
3.20pm – Q and A
3.25pm – Daryl Woodhouse – ABP/ DW/ Mental Fitness and Productivity
3.35pm – Q and A
3.40pm – Navrita Atwal – Equality Council UK
3.50pm – Q and A
4.00pm – Michael Stephens – Corpwell
4.10pm – Jon Manning – Arthur Ellis Mental Health
4.20pm – Q and A
4.30pm – Ravi Summan – Ravi Summan Wellness
4.40pm – Q and A
4.45pm – Mark Glenister – Black Dog/ Corpwell
4.50pm – Q and A
4.55pm – Arran Stewart – Job.com
5.05pm – Q and A
5.10pm – 10 sec delegate introductions
5.30pm – Close
You can sign up to attend the event for FREE here
The coronavirus pandemic has caused widespread chaos across the globe, forcing millions upon millions of workers to rethink several areas of their life. Here we discuss key questions to ask before changing career during COVID-19.
When 2020 dawned, no one thought it would be the year of remote work. Sure, remote work was already an option for some people, but the thought that everyone would be either working remotely or not at all within the first few months of the year came as a bit of a shock.
Auctioneers in Scotland are taking part in a campaign to tackle loneliness and mental ill-health among farmers during lockdown. With no auction marts, agricultural shows or normal summer events due to Covid-19, farming organisations are concerned many will be struggling. The Royal Scottish Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RSABI) says calls to its helpline have doubled in the last month. Farming is a lonely profession at the best of times; farmers work intensely at certain times of the year, spending long hours by themselves in the fields to maximise their yields. The global pandemic has just exacerbated this problem and it has also highlighted an issue that has been brewing in society for a long time.
To better understand the true effects of childhood trauma, you really need to watch this short yet powerful and moving video called Step inside the circle. (more…)