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Workplace Productivity: More Effective Communication

Productivity is the word on everyone’s lips. By increasing productivity in the workplace, you can achieve more in less time with the same level of human resources required. Technology is an obvious way to boost productivity, through automating repetitive manual business functions, but it’s not the only way. Guided by business intelligence reporting, we’re able to visualise where time is spent across the business – and thus make decisions to cut ‘wasted’ hours.

One area where most businesses can make significant productivity gains across all employees’ work weeks is communication.

This is part two in our productivity series, read on next week for how to boost productivity via flexible working conditions.

Phasing out email

Email has long dominated workplace communications. When Bain & Company examined communications at 24 large companies in 2017, they discovered that “The average frontline supervisor devotes about eight hours each week — a full business day — to sending, reading and answering e-communications,” and that “25% of that time is consumed reading emails that should not have been sent to that particular manager and 25% is spent responding to emails that the manager should never have answered.” All this adds up to at least 4 hours wasted on email communications a week for supervisors alone.

We all know the feeling of being swallowed whole by a mountain of emails. Leave them for a day or two and you’ll have a few hours of work ahead of you to clear them, with at least half of that time wasted on emails that don’t matter.

When looking at increasing productivity lost in email, there are two types we need to talk about here: external and internal email.

Internal email is (hardly) ever warranted

Why is anyone sending internal emails!? There are much better internal systems available to help your team communicate. If it’s quick’n’dirty, doesn’t need documenting, and people are co-located, they should be walking down the hall to chat. If someone is out of office or at another site, then there are plenty of better solutions than email to communicate over.

Microsoft Teams, for example, allows people to instant message each other directly, or via team or project hubs, attaching files and tagging people (or themes) in real time – rather than the distinctly one way communications that are afforded via email. Everything is easily searchable, dated, and tagged, ensuring time spent trying to find things is minimised.

Addressing external email

Not everyone has a PA at their assistance to sort through emails. However, modern email solutions have some pretty clever sorting and filtering abilities that can be applied with the right skills. Taking the time to set up these systems is an invaluable task for all employees to root out insignificant emails.

Taking a closer look at meetings

You know what people like most about meetings? Free food and a chance to daydream – the exact opposite of what is good for business.

When you have team members sitting in meetings to show up simply on the off chance their input is needed or there’s a small piece of information that’s vital for them to know, then you’re wasting your own funds paying them to be there.

How can you avoid unproductive meetings?

By overhauling meeting structures and rules you can ensure they are more productive overall, wasting less company time.

Here’s how:

  • Use meeting planning software to coordinate meetings
  • Set agendas
  • Set required participants and meeting roles
  • Set meetings only when necessary
  • Set time limits for agenda items
  • Don’t wait on late shows
  • Have shorter, more informal daily or weekly meetings for all smaller teams
  • Post minutes on team boards as soon as possible after meetings to allow for people who weren’t required but may be interested, or those who were unable to attend; tag people whose actions are required

If you need help in setting up any of these tech-enhanced communication solutions then reach out! A1 Technologies can help work through which communication tools and workflows are best for your business, implement new systems, and train the team on how to use them.

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