In today’s fast-paced world, there’s always pressure to get more done. But productivity isn’t the same as efficiency, and it’s possible to get more done while being less efficient with your time and resources. Increasing productivity without improving efficiency can result in wasted time, more mistakes, reduced job satisfaction, and overwork.
Here’s what business leaders need to know about improving workplace efficiency, and how you can use automation to streamline even the most complex tasks.
What Is Work Efficiency?
Work efficiency is a measurement of how much work an individual or a team can get done in a specific amount of time or with a specific amount of resources.
A lot of people think that increasing workplace efficiency means “doing more with less,” but that’s not quite true. Increasing work efficiency means doing the same amount of work in less time or with fewer resources.
There are different ways to measure workplace efficiency, such as business efficiency and operational efficiency. To increase efficiency in the workplace, start by determining what type of efficiency you want to prioritize.
Work Efficiency vs. Productivity
At first glance, efficiency and productivity might seem interchangeable. If you focus on one, you’re bound to increase the other, right? Not necessarily.
When increasing efficiency, the workload stays the same, but you’ll use less time and energy to achieve the same results.
When you attempt to increase productivity, you’ll keep the amount of time and resources steady, but you’ll aim to get more done in the same timeframe or with the same number of employees.
A manager who’s obsessed with employee productivity might focus on metrics like the number of tasks an employee completes every workday. A manager who’s focused on employee efficiency might look for ways to eliminate tasks or automate workflows so that their employees have less to do and can achieve their objectives faster.
Work efficiency and productivity aren’t mutually exclusive, and ideally, the steps you take to increase one will increase the other. Striking a balance between the two will allow you to improve your bottom line while still producing high-quality work.
7 Ways to Improve Work Efficiency
The best way to increase work efficiency will depend upon the nature of your work, the size of your team, and what type of efficiency you want to focus on. Whether you run a small business or a large company, the important thing is to set goals that are realistic and attainable. Try these seven ideas for increasing work efficiency to get started.
1. Use Better Communication Tools
One of the best ways to improve work efficiency is to streamline your communication channels. Phone calls, emails, and physical paperwork can interfere with your team’s productivity by introducing unnecessary delays and complications.
Most importantly, facilitate teamwork with messaging tools like Slack and other remote collaboration apps. Team members can chat with each other in multiple channels, and get notifications in real-time when a colleague needs help with a specific task.
2. Troubleshoot Your Work Environment
Upgrading your digital tools is important, but so is optimizing your physical environment. If your team shares an in-person workspace, focus on providing comfortable desks and chairs, fostering a positive atmosphere, and eliminating clutter and distractions.
The same ideas apply for remote workers, but your remote team may need an incentive to upgrade their workspace. Consider providing a remote work stipend to cover the cost of office furniture, noise-canceling headphones, or anything else they might require.
3. Practice Effective Time Management
Time management may seem like an individual skill set, but there’s a lot you can do to encourage good time management at the team level. Start by using time-tracking tools to track employee attendance and the time spent on individual tasks. You can use this data to distribute your workload more effectively and improve team efficiency.
Next, foster good time management habits by discouraging multitasking and breaking up large projects into discrete smaller tasks. Ask employees to put their smartphones away and stay off of social media during work hours.
4. Implement Process Automation
Business process automation can reduce the amount of time it takes to complete a manual process by automating recurring tasks and streamlining workflows. Using a no-code automation platform like Pulpstream to fill out forms, send out emails, and perform other repetitive tasks can help you eliminate items from your to-do list.
Automation can have a snowball effect in other parts of your company too. For example, automating the employee onboarding process to ensure that new team members have the appropriate training can result in more efficient employees in the long-run.
5. Streamline Performance Management
The idea of performance management can spook even the most productive employees. After all, no one wants to find out that they’ve been doing things wrong or aren’t hitting their performance benchmarks. But by making performance management an ongoing process, you can make it less of a critique and more of a two-way street.
Use standardized performance review templates to avoid favoritism or bias, and ensure that reviews happen regularly to address issues before they become a problem. With a collaborative mindset, the performance management process can increase workplace efficiency and improve employee engagement across your entire team.
6. Take Time Off
Workplace efficiency isn’t about maximizing every minute of the workday. Lunch breaks, coffee breaks, and other periods of downtime all contribute to employees’ mental health. And according to the Harvard Business Review, even idleness can lead to creativity.
Giving employees sufficient downtime allows them to maintain high levels of efficiency, rather than tiring out after a few days of high productivity. This could range from short breaks during the workday to a personal leave of absence or sabbatical.
By encouraging employees to enjoy their personal life, they’ll be better able to maintain a work-life balance and less likely to experience burnout.
7. Manage Tasks Effectively
Finally, use the right project management tools to keep everyone on the same page and complete tasks more efficiently. Rather than maintaining separate to-do lists, all of your team members can view tasks in a centralized platform and collaborate accordingly.
Task management tools allow you to delegate tasks, assign due dates, and set priority levels. When your team members know which tasks they’re responsible for, and which tasks are the most urgent, they can make better use of their work hours.
Improve Workplace Efficiency With Automation
Work efficiency is a way of measuring the amount of time and effort it takes to complete a set of tasks. Although it’s related to productivity, efficiency is about doing things right, rather than simply doing more things. You can use tools such as time management, performance management, and automation to increase work efficiency.
Pulpstream is a cloud-based platform that makes it easy to automate tasks of all kinds, from HR processes to claims and incident management. By automating the onboarding process, streamlining performance management, and simplifying the leave of absence process, you’ll be able to eliminate repetitive tasks and improve work efficiency.
Plus, since Pulpstream is a no-code platform with a drag-and-drop interface, you can automate complex tasks without having to learn how to code.
Request a demo today to see Pulpstream can improve your team’s work efficiency.