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.
1. Encourage healthy and productive habits
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.
2. Prioritisation matters
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:
- Urgent, and important – top priority tasks
- Urgent, not important – tasks that need to be delegated, rescheduled, or somehow minimized in the future
- Not urgent, but important – personal, fulfilling tasks that you should still find time for
- Not urgent, not important – distractions and busy work that needs to be eliminated.
3. Breaks are not the devil
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.
4. Train and educate your people
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.
5. Get the right tools for the job
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.
6. Efficient multitasking is a myth
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.
7. Learn how to communicate
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.