The work environment is changing rapidly. Many people are now working from home. New and innovative applications and technologies allow remote workers to organise their time productively, remain accountable for tasks, and enjoy a higher degree of flexibility.
Our changed economic and social circumstances have had varying effects on employee productivity, especially for small businesses (SMEs). SME owners with little experience might struggle to maximise personal and team productivity efficiently while their employees are working from home (WFH).
This article will highlight some handy ways to stay ahead of the game and progress your small business in 2021 and beyond.
Introduce Flexible Working Hours
A flexible work schedule can benefit both you and your employees.
We’re not equally productive all day long. Some people are more efficient early in the morning, while others reach their full work capacity in the afternoon or evening.
You will improve your employees’ productivity if you let them arrange their work hours to align with their productivity peaks. Assign them with their daily and weekly tasks on time and the rest is their responsibility.
If they’re not late with their deliverables, it’s a win-win situation. Your business will still submit all projects on time, and your employees will be happier and more productive.
Make Regular Plans and Schedules
As a business owner and a team leader, you’re a mediator between your clients and higher managers, and your employees. If anything goes wrong on either side, it’s under your jurisdiction.
That’s why SME owners and team leaders have to be highly organised.
It is important to make regular plans and schedules, from global annual plans to daily micro-plans.
Distribute these plans to your team members and keep communication open.
Use simple project management tools to keep an eye on all projects and tasks under your control. For instance, solutions like Trello and Teamwork are getting better and better with every new update. Check out several tools to find the ones that suit your needs.
You often hear professionals talking about their multitasking skills. For some people, doing several tasks at the same time works fine. They can handle many tasks at a time and still work productively.
However, multitasking has some drawbacks. You can get tired or burnt out faster, which increases the risk of making mistakes. This may result in spending longer at work every day to resolve these issues.
Multitasking generates more stress on your mind and body than doing one thing at a time. If your employees are constantly stressed, they may incur lowered immunity and be more susceptible to health problems. This may incur additional costs to your business.
For all the reasons above, advise your employees against multitasking.
A better idea is to organise work tasks in order of importance and priority and save your employees from unnecessary tension by delegating tasks effectively.
Distribute Tasks Effectively
The old proverb says that we should eat the biggest frog first.
Translated to SME productivity, this means that you should focus on the most demanding tasks first.
Our two cents: distribute the most complex tasks to your most experienced team members. Some managers like to challenge new employees by giving them difficult tasks and seeing if they are able to rise to the occasion. Often, this means wasted time, lowered productivity and a compromised standard of work at the end.
While new employees might possess adequate qualifications for dealing with multi-layered tasks, they still don’t have the experience in their new role and new business processes. They will probably be much slower at meeting such obligations. Your entire business could suffer in turn.
If you carry out the onboarding process properly, your new employees will soon be ready to take over harder tasks from their more experienced colleagues.
Rely on Accounting Automation
For many SME owners and managers, dealing with finances can be one of the most time consuming and frustrating managerial duties.
If you lose track of your accounts payable and receivable, you might have problems with both your employees and your clients.
Automating some of your accounting duties can be a more efficient and smoother option for managing SME finances.
Once you find the right accounting tool for your business, you will be able to keep track of your payments, invoices, and taxes.
You can also connect your chosen accounting software with your bank account to speed up accounting procedures. The less time you spend on manual accounting work, the lower the risk of missing a payment deadline or making a mistake.
Boost Safety Features
Remote workers and teams need to follow some clear instructions and guidelines around physical health and safety.
For starters, your business should provide your employees with proper work equipment. If any of your workers don’t have a proper office chair at home, you should provide them with one. Sitting eight hours a day on an uncomfortable chair can cause serious back pain and other health issues.
The same goes for the work environment. If some of your employees don’t have proper work conditions at home, let them come to the office. During lockdowns this option will not be available to your employees.
Work in 2021 is looking very different from how it looked before the pandemic. Even if your workers get back to the office, bring a code of conduct for office-based work. Keeping the distance and using disinfectants should remain high on the safety agenda. You will need to update your protocol regularly according to government guidelines.
Keep the Workspace Clean & Tidy
If your employees have been working from home for a while, your offices may need a thorough tidy up before they return. Make sure to arrange a thorough cleaning of the entire business space before you welcome your employees back.
Even though many businesses are turning to digital services, employees still need to have some drawers and cabinets at their disposal in the office. Check that every worker has enough storage space. It might also be a great opportunity to do some decluttering.
Old files and folders can be taken to a storage unit to free up office space. Storage units can be a great option for decluttering whilst also keeping important information or valuables safe from theft, damage, moisture, heat, and other extreme conditions.
Keeping teams productive and motivated is one of the key tasks for SME owners and team leaders in 2021.
You need to ensure that you maintain good communication and functional collaboration between both remote and in-house workers. This will improve workplace organisation and will let you advise your teams on how to use their time wisely. Support flexibility as much as possible.
Try to automate as many accounting features as possible so as not to waste time on manual accounting. Finally, boost your workers’ safety and keep your premises as organised as possible to ensure proper arrangement of the workspace.
All these steps will provide a high level of productivity no matter what working conditions your employees are facing.
“The opinions expressed by BizWitty Contributors are their own, not those of BizCover and should not be relied upon in place of appropriate professional advice. Please read our full disclaimer."