In today’s economy nearly every business seems to be struggling to get by at times, particularly small businesses that tend to operate on smaller margins. When faced with such a tough economic climate business owners have to start finding ways to save on costs while still providing their customers with the same quality products and services. There are some practices that can be put into place to increase business efficiency, helping employees accomplish more and saving the company money in the long-term.
Allowing employees flexibility with their schedules can help maximize employee efficiency. Outsourcing time-consuming areas of the business, such as human resource management or voice mail systems, allows employees to focus on more critical tasks that must be done in-house. Making use of cloud services, such as Microsoft Office 365 or Google Apps, can reduce the need for in-house IT staff and budget. Bringing together employees on a committee and tasking them with developing company-specific processes can also yield efficiency benefits.
Allowing flexibility for employees–both in scheduling and where they work–can help maximize the drive of the team as a whole. Some people work better in the morning than in the evening or vice versa and sometimes it can be easier to brainstorm at the office and actually produce the work at home. By giving employees this flexibility, you can reduce their stress and focus while allowing them to work where and when they will be most productive.
Outsource Hands-Off Tasks
Taking common, time-intensive tasks that can be done by third parties frees up employees to focus on more critical tasks. There are many companies that offer marketing, inventory management, payroll processing and many other common services for small to medium businesses based on a monthly subscription. Allowing employees to focus on business-specific tasks will provide room for the company to grow without adding new employees.
Take Advantage of the Cloud
Cloud services have opened up new opportunities for small businesses. Easily accessible file storage, email and web apps used to be available only to large companies with the budget to develop and deploy their own in-house services, but companies like Microsoft and Google have developed products specifically geared towards smaller business that allow them to host email, scheduling and office applications online. These newer products provide all users equal access to their data regardless of their location. This allows remote users or traveling employees to access their resources without requiring a dedicated IT staff.
Rely on Employees
Allowing employees the opportunity to come up with money- and time-saving ideas can lead to new processes that can both help the company and give employees a feeling of pride for contributing to the success of the company. Creating a committee that’s comprised of employees from all areas of the business and tasking the members with generating ideas for improving business efficiency can yield fantastic results, too. Often, people can generate better ideas faster if they can collaborate with a group.