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How to improve work efficiency in the office

An efficient workforce is the beating heart of any highly productive organisation. Here we outline eight key actions that senior managers can highlight and that employees throughout the company can adopt in order to raise business productivity.

What is work efficiency?

Work efficiency is a measure of how much work is delivered with a given level of resources, such as time, raw materials, and the number of staff available. The more efficient a business becomes, the more it can return from the resource it has.

How to improve work efficiency in the office

The following eight actions, if adopted organisation-wide from senior management down, can boost work efficiency in the office:

1. Focus on priorities

A key component of efficiency is focus. By focusing on the most important and most impactful work, employees can maximise their contribution to the business. Encourage employees to prioritise their work using an approach like the Eisenhower Matrix that helps set priorities, allowing them to focus on the most important tasks.

2. Practice time management

Employees should also keep track of how much time they spend throughout the day on different areas of their work. This can help people identify tasks that absorb more time than they should, highlighting opportunities where work can be eliminated or streamlined so they can make better use of their time.

3. Set reasonable goals

Goals give everyone in the organisation a target to work towards, ensuring employees are pulling in the same direction and that time isn’t wasted on work that isn’t essential or driving results.

As well as providing direction, goals can be great motivators – so long as they’re achievable. Setting goals that are too difficult to accomplish can quickly demotivate employees and can lead to some people giving up. Set clear and reasonable goals for your organisation to give focus and to motivate.

4. Delegate tasks

One person can only do so much. If individuals take on too much responsibility, their workflow can become a bottleneck in the organisation, especially if they’re in more senior roles. Encourage employees to delegate tasks to the people who report to them, so that they can focus on top priority work.

5. Say no to extra work

Saying yes to too much extra work can swamp employees and distract them from their own high priority tasks. Foster an environment in the office where employees are encouraged to say no to work without any guilt or recriminations, so that they can focus on their priorities.

6. Encourage employees to take their breaks

Although it can be difficult to leave a pressing task, taking breaks can help employees get things done faster and more effectively. Taking breaks should therefore be endorsed from the top. Breaks give our minds a chance to rest and reset, whilst getting up and walking around can reinvigorate us. When we return to the task at hand, we can approach it with renewed energy and with a fresh approach.

7. Put phones away

Employees are faced with more distractions than ever, especially from phones and social media. Encourage staff to turn phones off or to put them away in desk drawers whilst working and to only use them during break periods.

8. Improve the office

The right working environment can inspire and motivate employees. To help your workforce realise their potential, you can make physical modifications like introducing more natural light and aspects of the natural world with open views and office plants. Meanwhile, breakout spaces and a range of seating styles can help your employees stay comfortable and switch-up their work station for something that suits the task at hand.

Employees also need the right hardware to work, whether additional monitors or printers, and the right software, from technical applications to collaboration tools.

Creating the right working environment extends outside the office too. Distance and hybrid working are commonplace today, and employers need to ensure their off-site workers are properly supported with the right hardware and software to work effectively away from the office. Our hybrid working technology solutions can help your organisation support hybrid workers to create effective home hybrid working environments, including all-round print and scan hybrid solutions.

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