We're all looking for ways to make our companies more effective and efficient. We can do this by implementing project management, updating technological hardware and software, automating what we can and changing the way we work. It can be a challenge to bring team members on board, but the money and time saved more than compensates us for the effort. So let's explore some of our options…

1) Follow The 22 Minute Meeting Rule

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This idea, popularised by Microsoft Program Manager Nicole Steinbok, is that a meeting should take no longer than 22 minutes. The ways to achieve this include:

  • Have a goal-based agenda, ideally written on a white board and visible during the meeting.
  • Minimise preparatory materials, and send the reading ahead of time.
  • Stand up throughout the meeting to discourage dallying.
  • Ban phones and laptops from the meeting.

2) Quit Multi-Tasking

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Psychologists have found that multitasking is a myth – and can decrease your productivity by as much as 40%. Multi tasking means each task takes longer to complete and you will make more mistakes. Doctors believe that the human brain cannot process 2 streams of information concurrently, and that the true term is ‘task switching'. You can mitigate these negative effects by ‘batching' tasks and by single tasking – simply put, doing one thing at a time.

3) Project Management

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Project management can include the planning of tasks and the streamlining of workflows. These techniques can mean that mistakes are minimised, processes are standardised, crisis management becomes proactive and that there is an improvement in the quality of service provided. It can include scripts for client issues, guides for regular tasks and information about equipment used or software that is needed. This makes managers and frontline staff more efficient and effective.

4) Update Technology

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Updating to the latest tech available is an easy way to improve staff efficiency in the long run – and increase customer satisfaction. It can be especially effective when a business has experienced rapid growth. The latest computers and tablets will reduce lag and speed up employee work times. New headsets and telephone equipment will minimise noise and distractions, making it easy for your staff to help your customers. Even replacing a Yale lock with an electronic combination can reduce time spent hunting for keys in pockets and speed up the workday.

5) Automate What You Can

Modern technology means you can automate a number of previously manual processes. Invoices can be sent monthly; reports can be set to auto generate. Reminders can be scheduled to repeat at regular intervals, particularly if you use project management software. In terms of technology, you can even use monitoring programmes to send an alert to a manager if an employee is taking too long to conclude calls – and provide extra training if that is the case.

So will you utilise any of these tips? How have you made your business more efficient?

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