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How to Increase Workplace Efficiency

by Sam Ashe-Edmunds

Just because you’ve got a product that consumers want doesn’t mean you’ve done enough work to be successful. Winning entrepreneurs are defined by their ability to profitably deliver something consumers want. That means creating and managing an organization that runs efficiently, with minimal errors and high levels of productivity. Instituting policies and procedures to run a leaner and meaner company will help your business grow and maximize your profits.

Fine-Tune Your Org Chart

Everyone at your company should know exactly where they fit into your organization, how their work affects others and what is expected of their position. If you haven’t reviewed your organizational structure recently, update your org chart. Create departments or managers who oversee specific tasks, including marketing, production, accounting, human resources, information technology, office administration and sales. Make sure everyone knows who their direct report is.

Update Job Descriptions

Every employee at your company should have a written job description to guide them in their work. Detailed written job descriptions will help you assign every task that’s necessary for your business to succeed, help managers work more effectively with their subordinates and provide the basis for annual reviews.

Improve Your Technology

Review each position at your company and determine if each employee has the necessary tools to do the best work possible. Look at your phone systems, Internet connection speed, copy machine, scanners, faxes, database software, bookkeeping software and content management systems. In addition to improving your software and equipment, offer training to raise workers' technology skills.

Reduce Web Surfing

Block popular Internet sites that employees shouldn’t be using during working hours. Have your IT manager monitor your employees' website use to determine if they are spending time on social media, shopping, music, video, sports or shopping sites and block those, letting your employees know why this action is being taken.

Hold Weekly Meetings

Reduce potential problems, solicit new ideas and solutions and keep your staff informed with weekly meetings. Have a weekly meeting of department managers to review what’s going on in each department and to ask if departments face challenges that other departments might help alleviate. Have department heads meet with their team members each week to review assignments, discuss progress and get potential problem alerts.

Create Leaner Processes

If it takes 16 steps to create your product and transfer it to your warehouse, examine each of those 16 steps and determine if you can eliminate or improve it. For example, if you currently take finished products one at a time to the warehouse, consider creating a staging area in your production facility where you can stack products and take many to the warehouse at one time. If your human resources and accounting departments are on different floors but work together on time sheets, payroll, benefits and other employee-finance issues, consider moving the two departments next to each other.

Solicit Feedback

Don’t rely on your managers to know the best ways to operate every aspect of their departments. Lower-level people who do hands-on work often have the best ideas for improving processes and increasing efficiency. Appoint one member of your staff as an efficiency expert and have that person meet with each member of your workforce to ask for input on how the company can improve its operations. Submit the feedback to department heads to help them improve their operations.

About the Author

Sam Ashe-Edmunds has been writing and lecturing for decades. He has worked in the corporate and nonprofit arenas as a C-Suite executive, serving on several nonprofit boards. He is an internationally traveled sport science writer and lecturer. He has been published in print publications such as Entrepreneur, Tennis, SI for Kids, Chicago Tribune, Sacramento Bee, and on websites such Smart-Healthy-Living.net, SmartyCents and Youthletic. Edmunds has a bachelor's degree in journalism.

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