Productivity is a problem in today’s workplace. One in five employers think workers are productive fewer than five hours per day. Smartphones are seen by employers as the biggest time-wasting culprits. Fifty-five percent of employers cite texting as the top drain on productivity, while 41 percent cite internet browsing as the second top productivity drain; social media also ranks highly at 37 percent. Seventy-five percent of employers estimate that at least two hours of productivity a day are lost due to distractions.
The cost of these lost hours adds up, hurting your bottom line. Here are four ways to gain this lost time back by increasing your company’s operational efficiency and productivity.
While employers see smartphones as the biggest time waster at work, research shows that answering email can be even more wasteful. An OfficeTime.net survey found that email is the biggest productivity drain for business owners and professionals. Answering email is part of a bigger communication problem that cuts across multiple channels.
One way to reduce this problem is by adopting a unified communication channel such as Slack, which uses an interface similar to social media to integrate conversations across all channels. This makes it possible to share information with an entire group without having to send out individual emails.
Schedule Fewer Meetings
Meetings are another major drain on productivity involving inefficient communication. Fonality found that 60 percent of workers waste time scheduling meetings. The average professional attends 60 meetings per month, with managers estimating that 30 percent of the time spent in these sessions is wasted, a Workfront study found.
To remedy this problem, avoid scheduling meetings that aren’t necessary. Only invite attendees who truly need to be there. Set a clear agenda in advance to keep conversations short and focused.
Use More Efficient Automation
Inefficient use of automation can be another time drain. Using email instead of a unified communications system is one example of this. Time can also be wasted by slow computer equipment, slow internet connections, duplicate data entry involving entering the same information into multiple apps and other types of unnecessary manual labor.
You can speed up tech resources by using devices with the best mobile processors. For example, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon mobile processors use antenna boost technology to improve data speeds, call coverage and network reliability. They also charge five times faster than conventional mobile processors and include advanced security features such as hardware-based biometric authentication and malware detection.
To save time wasted on data entry, look for ways to enter data automatically and to sync data between programs. For instance, if your point-of-sale representatives use a scanning device to conduct transactions, the electronic information can be synced with apps to update your inventory and accounting books. Similarly, customer contact information acquired during transactions can be entered into a customer relationship management app, such as SalesforceIQ, for more efficient deployment of your marketing, sales and customer service teams. Tasks such as file backups can also be scheduled to run automatically instead of manually.
A fourth drain on productivity is trying to do everything in house. Many small business owners try to be a jack of all trades, handling everything from accounting to website development to marketing. Similarly, workers at companies with a small staff may end up wearing several hats at once. In many cases, this results in workers’ time being wasted on activities that lie outside their core skillset.
Outsourcing can be a solution to this problem. Routine or specialized business functions such as accounting, IT and graphic design can often be handled more efficiently by an outside agency. Look for ways to outsource tasks your staff doesn’t need to handle so that your in-house talent can focus on what you do best.
Streamlining communication, reducing meetings, automating efficiently and outsourcing strategically can all help you cut back on hours wasted at work. Use the time gained to focus on productive activities that grow your profits.