When brought up in a business context, inefficiency often conjures specific images. Blame is pinned on things like poor communication or lackluster collaboration. From there, leadership tends to focus on solutions that revolve around improved communication standards and streamlined collaboration. Often this leads to a bump in productivity. But even so, it can also leave much to be desired.
If you’ve found that addressing obvious things like communication and collaboration hasn’t solved your company’s inefficiency issues, don’t worry. You’re not out of luck.
Here are a few less-common factors that can impact a business’s efficiency as well as some suggestions to improve them.
How Inefficiency Can Impact Your Company’s Performance?
Before diving into specific problems and solutions, let’s take a minute to review what’s at stake. After all, terms like “productivity” and “efficiency” are bandied about, often without a second thought.
What elements of your organization’s activity are at stake when you aren’t operating at peak efficiency, though? Of course, the answer will vary from one business to the next. Nevertheless, there are a few common elements that tend to be negatively impacted by inefficiency no matter what the company or industry. These include:
The standard of your product offerings can begin to slide when you aren’t able to operate efficiently.
Inefficiency is the bane of every budget, with slow and ineffective procedures often soaking up far too much money.
Similar to cost, if you have an inefficient business process, it can eat up time that can be better spent on other tasks.
Both individual employee morale and your collective company culture can atrophy in an inefficient atmosphere.
If you’re aware of these factors chipping away at your company’s bottom line, you should dig deeper than basic communication to address the issue. Below are three subtle yet essential business factors that can impact a business’s flagging productivity.
Consider how each one may be impacting your company’s ability to operate in an efficient manner.
1. An Inefficient Infrastructure-
The infrastructure of your workspace has a huge impact on your employee’s ability to be (or not be) productive. It’s a fact that is as equally true in a corporate office as it is in a work from home situation. If you want to hunt out inefficient aspects of your operation, start with the infrastructure holding your team together. This includes:
The use of technology can speed a business along — at least, up-to-date tech can do so. Does your tech need an upgrade?
New computers reduce loading time. Software solutions like Trello and Asana can keep your team connected and collaborating without skipping a beat. Wi-Fi solutions like Plume WorkPass reduce connectivity issues and provide more network customizations and control.
Ergonomics isn’t just about the comfort of your workstation. It also directly impacts your productivity. Restless legs are distracting, backaches can shorten workdays, and so on. A quality chair, desk, and other workplace ergonomics solutions should always be given due consideration.
The actual space that you work in can also be a huge productivity impactor. Factors such as air quality, lighting, and sound can all impact the ability to focus. If the atmosphere of a workplace is low quality, it can reduce the efficiency of the employees that inhabit that space.
The technology, ergonomics, and environment of your workplace should always be frontline factors in the fight for efficiency.
2. Employee Inefficiency-
Your workplace is a major factor in your staff’s ability to be productive. However, each member of that staff can also be a major contributor to your collective inefficiency as well.
For example, uninterested and disengaged employees can be detrimental to your productivity. In fact, according to Forbes, a disengaged employee working at the average annual salary can cost a business a whopping $16,000 per year due to their inefficient behavior.
You can improve your employee’s efficiency by:
Providing better feedback:
Feedback should never be relegated to being more than a chore or a repetitive task. It is a creative and informative opportunity to highlight success and constructively address failure. The team at Pixar is an excellent example of a group that has used feedback effectively for years.
Don’t fall into the fearmongering mindset that enhancing your employees’ skills will enable them to leave your company. Encouraging your staff to engage in continual learning helps them become more skilled, valuable, and engaged employees.
Empower your employees:
Do your best to encourage ownership within your staff. Lean on individual responsibility, delegate when you can, avoid micromanaging, and otherwise coax your employees to invest themselves in your collective success.
There are many ways to improve employee engagement. And, of course, as a rule, an engaged employee is an efficient employee.
3. A Lack of Goals:
If you don’t have concrete, understood, and attainable goals in place, it can leave your company spinning its wheels. Do your best to establish and maintain SMART goals for your organization. These should be:
Employees and employers alike should always have SMART goals that they’re working toward. This helps to maintain focus and momentum — both of which are critical for sustained efficiency.
A company is an organization made up of countless different facets. Some of these are human in nature. Others are technological. Still, others are environmental. While all of these work together for the collective success of your organization, they can also hold it back.
This is why it’s important to consider every aspect of your company’s efficiency. Sure, you can start with the obvious candidates, like communication and collaboration. However, you shouldn’t stop there. Instead, continue digging into the possible factors behind your lagging productivity, lackluster engagement, and any other inefficient aspects of your operation.
If you can find the nuanced factors feeding your company’s inefficiency, you can address them and, in the process, set your business up for a prolonged and profound level of efficient success.