Getting to start and lead your own company isn’t just entrepreneurship, it’s very much a dream come true. But, you don’t need to be told that the reality of running a business is anything but dream-like. Taxes, regulations, shifting consumer bases and expectations, new industry trends, disruptive technologies and new markets to expand into or avoid are just the tip of the iceberg that business owners have to maneuver around. And, for all too many, some of the biggest impediments to success and productivity lay right in the office.
In trying to deal with these and more challenges on a day-to-day basis, businesses will scale up the size of their staffs or office space, hoping to leverage more resources to solve more problems. But, that’s only half-right, because while more resources can help, they can also overcomplicate what should be simple office functions. The more manic and unruly office processes become, the more likely you are to be wasting time and money on productivity-sinking efforts.
Here are two areas around the office that are ripe for a simplicity overhaul:
Unnecessary, Time-Consuming Trips
How often do you and your employees embark on office supply runs? Trips to the post office? Regular face-to-face meetings with customers, partners or suppliers.
These trips are sometimes necessary, especially those customer or partner visits, as their business is, of course, priority number one. But, running out to buy lunches for the office or bringing packages down to your local post office, are productivity sink holes. You can just as easily accomplish these tasks online, whether it’s ordering new supplies through an ecommerce site or printing out postage and shipping labels for outgoing mail. For in-person meetings that require frequent travel time, keeping you on the road more often than in the office, propose replacing at least some of these meetings with regular calls instead. Reserve the in-person trips for only the most important interactions, and save yourself the travel time.
Overlapping Processes and Employee Responsibilities
Hand-in-hand with saving time on unnecessary trips is streamlining the number of people assigned to carry out tasks. Not all office functions are created equal, and each one doesn’t require a large number of employees to tackle them effectively. In fact, assigning too many people to a single task can have the opposite effect: multiple people, with different views, opinions and methods, may unnecessarily overcomplicate simple projects, racking up time and expenses. Whether it’s handling billing and accounts payable duties, shipping and mailing processes, document archiving and retrieving or scheduling meetings and calendar appointments, throwing too many people at any of these assignments can result in a lot of stepped-on toes and bungled efforts – with few positive results to show for it.
Delegate assignments smartly. Ensure that project team members aren’t spread out over multiple sites. Avoid putting too many people on the same task, or you risk turning a simple endeavor into a costly, time-consuming headache.
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