Tips For Simplifying Your Office Processes
Parkinson's law of time management states that work will expand to fill the available time. Work expands exponentially, and indefinitely when you're unclear on your goals or methodology. A streamlined office is more necessary than ever before. Simplifying your office is a must for companies looking to remain competitive. Your employees will be happier, too. Here are some tips for simplifying your office processes.
How To Simplify Your Office Processes
Let's start by looking at why you need to streamline your business:
Why A Streamlined Office Matters
Measuring productivity is increasingly complicated in today's evolving workplace. The University Of North Carolina published a study in 2007 finding that employees were spending 23 hours in work meetings a week. This is up from 10 hours in 1960.
65% of senior management report that meetings prevent them from getting their work done. Considering that 70% of American workers report feeling unengaged at work, something is clearly up. We need to streamline operations to account for our changing world.
Now let's look at some specific strategies on how to streamline your business. Whether you're optimizing small business operations or overhauling a Fortune 500, there's always room for improvement.
Integrate A Central Server
Think about how much time you spend emailing files and CCing recipients. Servers eliminate all of that. Not to mention the increased reliability and elimination of downtime due to error. Storing your files on a central server makes them available for anybody with access, at any time. An on-site server is a secure way to streamline an individual office's performance.
Cloud-based server fulfills the same function on an enterprise-level. Servers also make it easier to back up work regularly. It's easier to chart workflow and iterations, as well, which is intensely helpful on collaborative projects.
It's not uncommon to have multiple phones for work. It's probably more uncommon to have only one phone for all of your activities. This can leave you hunting for the correct phone when it's time to make a business phone call or when you hear the phone ring.
VoIP, or Voice Over Internet Protocol, consolidates all of your phone activity into one system. The main advantage of this is that voicemails can be automatically transcribed and delivered as email attachments. This makes them more searchable and easily archived, as an additional benefit.
If you're already using automated software to manage your invoices and payments, you might as well take the next step and automate some of those processes. Many accounting software platforms automatically generate and send invoices. They'll also send reminder emails and overdue notices.
Automating your accounting software also keeps clean, well-organized records. This makes creating paperless pay stubs automatic and painless. Automating your invoicing will remove numerous unnecessary tasks from your daily workload. It will also help eliminate errors and missed deadlines. Late fees will become a thing of the past, as one final benefit.
Optimize Your Website
How many times a week does someone call your office with a basic question? Just adding a simple FAQ to your website will eliminate those calls to your help desk. It also helps to increase brand trust. With 81% of consumers researching a company before making a purchase, clearly, this is an important step in guiding customers through the buyer's journey.
Get Your Software Working Together
Running a business usually involves having a lot of different software suites overseeing different areas of your organization. You might use MailChimp for managing email and Hubspot for social media management, for instance. Getting them all to cooperate, streamlines your business in many different ways.
First and most obviously, you'll spend much less time flipping between different programs. Secondly and more technically, having all of your sales, data, and analytics happen through one dashboard offers many powerful, actionable insights. It's also a common configuration for creative software suites like Adobe.
Graphic designers regularly use bridge software to use multiple creative programs on one project. Getting your software to work together is one of the easiest and most essential ways to streamline your process.
A certain amount of error is to be expected in any system with a lot of human interaction. Think of the game "Chinese telephone" as an example. Messages change with each messenger they pass through. Now imagine these slight variations on the enterprise level. Standardizing as many office processes as possible will help eliminate these slight variations.
It also removes the guesswork from daily activities that will help your employees to stay more focused and productive.
Define Your Business Goals
One of the reasons we all feel so overwhelmed so much of the time is that we don't know what we're working on. If you don't know what your goal is, it's hard to know if you're being successful. It's also even harder to know how to achieve that goal. Of course, not all of your departments are going to have the same goals at the same time.
You might have different sectors of your business working towards different goals at the same time. So your marketing department might be working towards 'raising brand awareness' while your sales team might be cultivating new leads. Each of these end goals has different methodologies and metrics. Defining your business goals is another of the easiest and most basic ways to streamline your business operations.
Business is rapidly evolving, each and every day. Allowing inefficient practices to linger can be like a crack in a windshield. They spread and little things become big problems. Streamlining your business lets you and your employees focus on what matters most. Spend your time building and growing your business rather than simply playing catch-up.
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