Guest blog by Flow Online Accounting
For a small business it is vitally important that each and every member of the company pulls their weight. Even so, from time to time output levels may begin to drop and have a negative effect on your bottom line. When this happens, you need to do everything possible to help increase productivity around your business.
Make the workplace a fun environment
Nobody wants to go to work and sit in the same monotonous surroundings, doing the same monotonous routine every single day of their lives. This is a sure fire way of seeing productivity gradually decline. So, why not jazz things up in your office? Can you decorate your office in an open plan / vibrant way that will inspire staff? Can you afford to supply a nice breakfast once a month for your employees? Or, perhaps you can implement a job rotation policy whereby for 1 hour per week you and your staff have to experience a different role to the ones you’re used to. This would improve the office’s appreciation of what their colleagues do, as well as increase comradery between your workforce, which in turn will see an upturn in productivity throughout your company.
More and more companies are ditching the traditional 9-5 working hours and are now offering flexible working times. Some people are more productive in the afternoons and evenings than they are in the morning – so let people work to the best of their abilities. If you can offer your staff the opportunity to work from home every once in while then do so; it won’t cost you anything and there is a great chance output will increase as you are placing more trust into individuals. Take a look at Netflix or Virgin; they trust their employees’ so much that they let them take as many holidays as they want as long as they feel they have done enough work to earn it. Obviously this isn’t feasible for SMEs, but scale back and offer a flexible approach that will suit your business.
Invest in technology
This option does actually have a cost associated to it, but in the long term it is a low cost that will be extremely worthwhile to your business. For instance, investing in KashFlow accounting software will save you up to 75 hours of employee worktime each month that can be used elsewhere in the business. Technology these days is a small business’s best friend – levelling the playing field between them and big corporations. You can invest in social media automation technology, so instead of spending 2 or 3 hours each and every day updating your social channels, you can simply use platforms like Buffer or Hootsuite and do a whole week of updates in one go. Additionally, technology is there to help you outsource key aspects of your business; cloud accounting to take care of your finances, virtual assistances to plan your schedules, CRM systems to look after your current client base. It is very simple; invest in the latest technology and will you undoubtedly see your productivity improve.
Promote healthy competition between your staff and offer small prizes for the winner. It is classic psychology; the need to come first will always increase productivity. The prizes don’t have to be big at all – you can take a winning team out for lunch or give a winning individual £5 worth of scratch cards. Whatever the incentive, it will be seen as fun little competition in your business that everyone will work together for to try and win!
Get YOUR hands dirty too
Sometimes there is nothing more motivating for a member of staff than seeing their manager disregarding positions titles and getting stuck right in the thick of work. For instance a call centre manager could bark orders at his or her staff all day and see very little difference in call time productivity. However, if they got on the phone themselves, made a few successful sales and made sure everyone heard them, then the call centre floor would be able to follow the example set. This may take up a bit more time of the day for some managers, but it won’t cost anything at all. They do say many hands make light work, so every now and then if you can add your talents to help out your staff then you will see the benefits in the long run.