Organizations of all sizes constantly strive for higher efficiency and productivity. Over the years, automation, digitization and digitalization have significantly improved workplace efficiency and productivity. Now, more work gets done in less time with fewer resources. Resources and their skills are the two critical assets that help professional service organizations succeed and generate returns on investment. Unfortunately, when resources are not managed well, employees are either under or over-utilized, which causes employee burnout and impacts overall productivity. However, a thriving industry caters to professionals and organizations and provides them with information, tips and software applications that help improve productivity.
While this series isn’t intended to be a comprehensive “how to” manual, we’ll cover easy-to-follow tips, starting with tracking time and projects. How can organizations, managers, and individuals enhance productivity and get the desired results?
Plan Strategically and Take a Systematic Approach
Veteran chefs, seasoned military commanders, and experienced business managers subscribe to the “Well begun is half done” philosophy. For example, a chef can whip up a multi-course meal in short order by thinking ahead about what is needed to get something done and assembling the necessary ingredients and utensils before starting. Similarly, before carrying out an attack, a military commander will try to gather verifiable intelligence on the combat zone’s geographical features, weather, the state of preparedness of his opponents, and the readiness of his troops and logistics.
For business managers confronting challenges at work, some of the most fundamental processes, such as tracking employees’ work time or the status of a project, can become a recurring hassle. Organizations that have planned their efficiency strategies often start with low-hanging fruits, such as automated time and attendance tracking. Plus, they have institutionalized systems that allow them to be more efficient and waste less time on routine administrative functions, such as approving a timesheet or a time-off application.
Use Appropriate Tools
Automation and significant advances in software and hardware technologies have tremendously contributed to improving overall productivity and business outcomes. However, some business processes, such as time-tracking, are often still being performed manually. But automating routine processes, such as reporting time and attendance and applying for time off, can benefit organizations from the multiplier effect of more significant time savings, reduced paperwork, and less time spent on correcting manually-entered timesheets. In addition, automated and intelligent tools to develop a project plan enable organizations to access real-time information and streamline operations.
Organizations that don’t incorporate the right tools perform mundane tasks and struggle to meet deadlines. Plus, there is a higher probability of errors. Incorporating the right tools and technologies into the system improves accuracy, saves time, minimizes the risk of errors, and allows the workforce to focus on their core duties.
Analyze and Automate Processes
While automated processes can make a significant difference in freeing up valuable time that teams may otherwise spend pushing paperwork, competent managers know that having a lot of data is not the only way to improve processes and overall efficiency. Organizations can get insights that often directly impact productivity and profitability by using tools that help analyze raw data—such as seeing how many employees or consultants it took to perform a particular project or the resources spent to complete it. Rather than doing things the way they were done earlier, improvements resulting from data from a workforce management solution can be surprisingly easy to implement and benefit from.
Monitor the Progress Periodically
Today’s leading workforce productivity solutions offer real-time project status updates and allow management to make course corrections and strategic changes proactively. Even in enterprises, it is possible to monitor and direct employees toward successful and timely outcomes as long as the right tools are used to track project status. Such tools enable easy input of information, such as hours spent, project milestones, and financial expenditures and have proved to be a boon for organizations that strive for improved productivity and efficiency.
In a technologically-driven business ecosystem where delays and procedural inconveniences can cost a company dearly, there is little reason to delay the adoption of systems that empower managers and employees alike to get the work done at the right time and with the desired outcomes.
How an Intelligent Solution Can Improve Resource Utilization
Many organizations are losing significant sums due to efficiency gaps and missed opportunities for maximizing resource utilization. Spreadsheets and siloed systems make it incredibly difficult to identify the right resource for every project. Organizations today have multiple departments and teams, each with its own workflows, methodologies, and methods for measuring utilization. As teams and processes grow, this will undoubtedly become more complicated and unmanageable. Keeping track of work hours and resources will not reduce repetitive tasks and improve process efficiency. On the contrary, organizations would need a unified project time-tracking solution to gain visibility across processes and measure utilization.