Whether you telecommute or manage a large office, first priority is always an efficient working environment. If your office or workspace isn’t conducive to the best work you and your employees can offer, you know it’s time for a change; the last thing you want is for the space in which you do business to be holding back your productivity and profitability.
There are a few simple tricks, tips and pieces of tech that can help make your business more efficient by making your office more work-friendly. Find out what you can do to take your workplace to the next level.
Keep Things Organized
If you want your workplace to be productive and efficient, you need to keep it organized, and not just in a literal sense. While you should definitely make sure that your workplace is organized physically, with clean desks and files in cabinets where they belong, it also needs to be organized when it comes to duties and operations. Forbes recommends delegating tasks as is appropriate in order to increase and maintain productivity; don’t let yourself, your colleagues or your subordinates get buried in more work than can be handled on one’s own unless you want to watch your business fail as they do.
Scheduling of meetings and shifts should be done well in advance, large tasks should be discussed with everyone on board before assignment, and anyone in charge should always be prepared to step in and help if need be. The more organized your business, the more efficient your working environment will be—within reason.
While organization is the key to smooth operations, flexibility is just as necessary. Be prepared to take advice, change direction and deal with advances and delays in operations on a regular basis. It’s important, as a supervisor, to be prepared to set your duties aside periodically to assist your employees in troublesome jobs and tasks as needed. Often, this means maintaining some “buffer time” wherein you’re focused on smaller, less integral tasks, or at least tasks that can be put off a bit, to make it easy to break away and help smooth things over.
Being flexible in the right ways doesn’t mean giving up on deadlines and letting all your employees have dessert before dinner, of course, but it does mean being prepared. America’s Job Exchange reports that flexibility in the workplace allows for greater responsiveness, easier acceptance of change and a quicker recovery from mistakes. No workplace is without mistakes; too much focus on structure can make it almost impossible to recover from even minor errors.
Utilize Efficient Tools
If you really want the most efficient work environment there can be, you need to utilize the most productive tools in the business sphere. High-tech computers, multi-line phone systems and virtual receptionists are just a few of the tools that even small businesses can fit into their budget these days, but above all productivity requires clear communication, employee satisfaction and room to grow.
Video conferencing is one up and coming option that could help in all three of these areas. The Future of Things declares video conferencing to be a significant element of business growth, and for obvious reasons! Your business can increase scalability with Blue Jeans network services and other video conferencing platforms with relative ease; going global could be as easy as holding a few face to face virtual conversations. By facilitating clear and simple communication around the globe, video conferencing allows businesses of all sizes the chance to extend their reach and grow far faster and further than old methods.
Video conferencing can also allow your best employees to work from where they are truly most efficient, lets you talk to affiliates and colleagues from all over the world, and maintain an efficient workforce from anywhere you have an Internet connection.
Don’t Go Overboard
Remember that happy employees are efficient employees, so don’t tie your people down with too many regulations or push them too far out of their comfort zones with new technology. While services like Blue Jeans make it possible to incorporate video conferencing into your business repertoire, it may not always be the most efficient way to communicate with your people, especially when it comes to working onsite.
Technology is helping to bridge the gap between the telecommuter and the office, but nothing quite measures up to a supervisor who genuinely cares about his or her employees, or a business owner who is truly dedicated to making sure their services are the best around. Take the time to communicate with your people and your clients on their terms and open yourself up for constructive criticism. There may be a simple point or option you’re missing that could put your efficiency into overdrive without overworking your employees or overburdening yourself. Keep those lines of communication open, virtually or otherwise, and before long your business will be running like a well-oiled machine.