With advances in workflow software solutions over the past few years, there’s an abundance of excellent, simple ways to improve efficiency in the workplace with minimal investment of time and energy.
1) Integrate, Integrate, Integrate
Integrating as many aspects of your workflow into a single unified system will take you closer to peak efficiency than anything else. Using workflow software to bring each disparate aspect of your workflow under a single consistent banner should be your highest priority.
2) Sharpen the Focus of Your Data-Gathering
How you gather data matters: The more useless information you collect, the more time gets wasted. Make sure you’re getting what you need and avoiding what you don’t, even if it means scrubbing your existing forms and systems and replacing them.
3) Automate, Automate, Automate
The more things your workflow software can handle automatically, the better. Manual data entry should be an absolute last resort.
4) Put Data to Work for You
Make sure you’re utilizing the information at your fingertips to its greatest potential. Pay attention to the nuances of numbers and stats, and make changes that matter.
5) Visuals Are Important
To put it simply, easy-to-read documents get read.—formatting, font and pictures matter. With modern workflow software, sprucing up your documentation is a simple task, so make your data shine.
6) No More Dead Trees
Few things waste more work hours than managing physical files. Yes, you want backups—but they should be digital and kept on a disconnected off-site hard drive, not in the form of endless piles of paper.
7) Training is Key
Always consider the training requirements of a given plan before implementing it—especially when ease of use is the sole goal of a makeover.
8) Speed Up Solution Development
Don’t let problems linger. Figure out ways to fix them quickly and efficiently—invest the time upfront and you’ll make it back in the end.
9) Flexible Businesses Succeed
Learn to build some flex into your methods, staff and tools. If you can quickly write up new documents, push data to everyone, and get moving in a new direction quickly, you can survive surprises that might destroy a more rigid company.
10) Eliminate Barriers Between Departments
Departmental barriers act as nothing but a detriment to a company. Unify data, make sure people know who’s in charge, and emphasize communication and teamwork across lines. Your company will benefit.
11) Set Reasonable, Yet Challenging Goals
If you’re gathering and using data properly, it should be easy to recognize the capabilities of your workforce. Make them work hard, but don’t set unreachable goals.
12) Establish Consistent Standards
Terms, measurements, goals and rules should all be a reliable bedrock for the company, not a source of confusion and wasted man-hours.
13) Mobility Matters
Workers in the field have more tools at their hands than ever before. Set up mobile apps and seize the advantages these offer.
14) Learn From Competitors
When your competition learns and evolves, don’t be too proud to borrow from their success. Sometimes you’ll be the one leading the charge, but you never want to be the tail.
15) Never Stop Refining
Fifteen goals for 2015 is a nice start—now keep going. No business is perfect, so why stop improving?