For most businesses, the bottom line motivates the quest for efficiency. But the benefits of a truly efficient workplace go far beyond dollars and cents. Improving efficiency in the workplace will ultimately boost employee morale and retention while setting a business up for long-term success.
While it makes sense that an efficient business is going to be more profitable, there are other factors to consider when examining ways to improve efficiency in the workplace. Typically, a wide variety of departments and measurement levers can be good efficiency indicators.
Take a call center, for example. Key performance indicators like the number of callers handled by front-line workers or abandon rate will give managers answers. For web hosting companies, efficiency metrics like network speed, uptime, and page load time are most important to clients.
For service-based companies, often overlooked metrics can include revenue per employee, IT hours per project, and the average time between appointments. Managers need to determine where their business lags in efficiency and start tracking key metrics to give them targets for improvement.
And it appears that there is plenty of room for improvement. Up to 40% of an employee’s workday is spent on nonproductive efforts that cost companies in lost productivity. These distractions can lead to longer workdays, frustration and stress, a lack of engagement and motivation, and eventually attrition.
Efficiency is a benefit for businesses across the board. But here are three areas where companies can see strong gains:
1. Corporate Structure
Improved efficiency allows organizations to create the structure required to turn small gains into exponential improvements. Cohesive teams that have the right structure in place can allow supervisors and managers to hand off tasks to staff; this, in turn, allows supervisors to focus on more high-level work.
In an effort to drive speed, innovation, operational efficiency, and customer value, nine out of 10 companies are exploring reorganization by replacing silos with cross-sectional collaboration models.
Agile, flexible networks of teams play a critical role in organizational performance and success. Flexible teams are more productive, leading to higher morale, faster time to market, and better work product quality at a lower risk than traditional approaches. In one study, 94 percent of participants reported that agility and collaboration were vital for their organization’s success. This demonstrates that freeing up people from slow, bureaucratic decision-making is critical for success.
Organizations working as cohesive units move ahead of their competitors. Staffers that were once operating in silos can become more efficient with the proper tools and software. By collaborating and embracing a teamwork concept, these individuals can transform their organizations by pulling disparate factions together to achieve a common goal.
With the rapid increase in the availability of communications tools, workers will spend even more time on collaborative platforms and make more use of work-based social media in the future. According to one study, 72% of companies are using social tools to maximize their efficiency through collaborative teams. Employees spend about 80% more time on collaborative work — phone calls, meetings, or answering emails — than they did two decades ago.
As organizations become more connected, they can also reap the benefits of increased teamwork and information sharing to become hyper-productive.
3. Employee Morale
Employees who are performing menial, repetitive tasks every day get bored. But organizations that give staff better tools, such as automating repetitive tasks and then asking employees to develop new skills in their place, boost engagement and morale.
Organizations and teams with higher employee engagement perform at higher levels. The ones that know how to improve the morale and productivity of employees achieve four times higher earnings-per-share growth than their competitors. Those companies also realize substantially better customer engagement, better retention, higher productivity, fewer accidents, and 21% higher profitability.
A more efficient workplace can keep workers more engaged while improving teamwork and corporate structure. And a happier, more engaged workforce makes for a stronger company.
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