Don’t let the name "small business" keep you from having huge success in the office. Monotonous office life cripples success. Instead, make your office a creative space with today’s most beneficial hacks that can help you work more efficiently, all while keeping your employees engaged. Here are a few tips to help improve your workflow, including sharing online data across your workforce, minimizing email time, and integrating fun, collaborative spaces.
Share Online Data
In the hustle and bustle of today’s world, no one waits. When we want information, we want it now, but this isn’t 2004. Technology has come a long way from hard discs and allows us to be demanding. Today there are endless options for file sharing, the most common being Google Drive, Dropbox, and Microsoft OneDrive. Using these databases makes it easy for you and your employees to share documents and information. There’s no need for floppy discs or paper copies, these online databases are readily available and easily accessible.
Cut the Emails
Those so-called emails that couldn’t wait, are decreasing your employees’ productivity. Employees spend almost one-third of their work week checking and responding to emails. This practice is both time-consuming and stressful. In fact, Gloria Mark at the University of California Irvine concludes that waiting for emails increases the heart rate while taking away an individual’s email for five days significantly reduced heart rate. Encourage your employees to do what is best for the office and their health by unsubscribing to useless emails.
Amp Up Your Space
If you want creative juices and success to flow within the office, you have to make the office creative. No one actually loves coming into the office, especially if it's just an ordinary office. Some of the most successful companies have designed a cool space to add a little fun and amp up office productivity. For example, Rethink Communications used a LEGO wall to literally help stop mental blocks. At Grip, everyone wants to go down their giant orange slide in the middle of the office. The slide makes the statement that a business doesn’t always have to be about business. Creative office hacks like these can help your employees blow off steam and increase productivity.
Make Your Workspace Workable
The office might feel more like a place you want to be if you give it a little flare. Your internal and external workspace (meaning inside your computer and around it) could use a few simple hacks to increase your efficiency. Adding live plants alone has been shown to improve concentration and therefore increase productivity by up to 15%. Those plants won’t be the only things that need sunlight either. Try to work near a window for some natural sunlight, which is shown to increase productivity than employees with worse views.
Do a little spring cleaning within your workspace and your computer, as well. If there is one thing that creates stress – and potentially more digital clutter – it's passwords. Rather than using the same password for everything, or using the incredibly insecure old-fashioned methods of writing your passwords down on your desk, consider using a password management application. 1Password is a convenient, digital password manager, which takes the panic out of forgetting a password.
Save the Trees, Go Paperless
In today’s app-friendly, online-based world, it comes as a surprise that paper is still relevant. Not to mention the countless, do more for the planet campaigns. If your workspace is covered by dozens of open files and folders, cut the clutter, and save the trees by going paperless. If your office has made the switch to an online content sharing database such as Google Drive, then you know all of the important stuff is already in the cloud. However, there is also a convenient app to help you store all of those paper documents sitting on your desk. CamScanner is a user-friendly app that quickly scans all of your documents and stores them directly in the app. Files can also be saved to your computer as well. You’ll be amazed at how much more efficient you feel without having to rustle all those papers about.
Manage Customer Support
Your customers are the heart of your business; treat them as such. Keeping your customers happy can be time-consuming, but it is worth it in the long run. Now tracking customer tickets doesn’t have to be quite as time-consuming with various customer managing programs, such as Groove. Groove organizes your customers for you so that you have more time to improve your business and actually help those customers. Keep in mind that automating your customer's tickets is one thing, but you should never automate your help/ feedback. Personalization is the key to keeping loyal customers.
Make Meetings Meaningful
To meet or not to meet? Whether you think meetings are a crucial part of office life, the truth is they’re not. In fact, repeat meetings with the same business partners often become more like superfluous get-togethers than directly benefit your organization. Time is money, which is why a meeting that kills time is also killing your profits.
Take a Break
An eight-hour, ten-hour, even just a simple five-hour shift is a long time to sit, concentrate, and work. Your mind deserves a little break from time to time and so does your body and heart. Pennington Biomedical research found that 54% of participants in the study were likely to die of a heart attack. Why these participants? These participants spent much of their workday sitting at a desk. Sitting for extended periods causes lipoproteins, which usually break down fat cells in the bloodstream, to slow down. The buildup of fat cells is what increases the risk of a heart attack.
Every part of the office should induce productivity, even the way it smells. Sure Payroll reported that the smell of lemons makes employees 54% less likely to make errors, surely every office you’ve been into smells like lemons. However jasmine and lavender are also shown to have the same effect, no now you have options. Jasmine and Lavender smell in the office make it 33% and 20% less likely for employees to make errors, respectively. Not to mention everyone will appreciate a nice smelling office for once.
Go Ahead, Ask for Help
Being a business owner, a manager, even an employee, all of a sudden it becomes taboo to ask for help. The truth is, asking for help can increase office efficiency and your overall success in more ways than just one. If you’re a manager, make sure you equip your employees with all the necessary resource they need for extra help. Also, make it clear that it is never frowned upon to ask for help. As a manager seeking to improve their office productivity, you’re asking for help just by reading this article.
If you spend one-third of your day in an office, at least make it the most useful one-third of your day. Creating a unique space for employees to blow off steam, or keeping the office smelling like lavenders are easy hacks that provide huge benefits. You can improve your employees’ productivity, efficiency, and interest in working which means a more successful business for you.