No company can completely avoid wasted time. No matter how hard we try, each of us can end up waiting for someone or something else. Making the most of that waiting time is one way to reduce the impact of wasted time. But there are also plenty of internal systems and working practices that could do with some fine-tuning. If you’re looking for ways to save time within your company, you’re not alone.
There are plenty of reasons why you should be actively seeking ways to reduce lost time and the number of hours spent on key tasks. For a start, it is reducing the number of hours your employees could be spending on new and innovative projects. Freeing up their time lets their creativity flow. But it is perhaps the cost of lost hours that is worrying you the most. If you could save thousands every year by reducing how long it took to get business done, wouldn’t you do it?
1. Ditch The Commute
Your employees might be particularly happy about this time-saving exercise. As a busy business owner, it might do you some good to claw back those two to three hours every day too. The amount of time spent in the car each morning and evening can be very stressful. We would all rather be anywhere but stuck in a traffic jam. If you’re willing to offer your workforce more flexible working, you might be quite surprised at the results.
Without the stress of traffic jams and expensive parking, your workforce might be more energetic, better focused and less prone to sick days. They don’t have to spend that extra time each morning preparing a professional appearance either. It could even save them on their dry cleaning bill! You might enjoy more productivity, and more creative flair from a workforce spared the dreaded commute.
2. Collaborative Working
Have you ever sent an employee away to finish a document so you can then refine it, edit it, and send it out? Why are you wasting so much time? Surely if you were working on it at the same time, your employee would know exactly what you’re looking for, and you don’t have to wait for them to finish their bits off first? That is collaborative working made easy for time-saving. Best of all, it’s all in the cloud. You can check on the project or document while you’re at lunch, or on the plane to that meeting.
Collaborating like this also helps to motivate your subordinates. They will feel more integral to the team, and they’ll feel more inclined to prioritize that task knowing you can see when they’re working on it! You can step in with comments or changes as they go to reduce time wasted on edits later.
3. Who Needs Data Entry?
Entering data manually from 3rd party documents isn’t just tedious, it’s costly on time. Chances are you hire someone specifically to perform that task. Are they the happiest member of the team? Probably not. Using automated data entry can save a lot of time as it is often quicker than human data entry. Of course, ocr software accuracy isn’t perfect. Sometimes it needs a little help to improve and get up to speed. But once it’s there, all your supplier invoices could be in the system and automatically sent for payment. As for your data entry clerk? Give them something more fun and creative to do!
4. Walk And Talk
The walk and talk is a tool used for film and TV to heighten the urgency of dramatic situations. It makes the characters appear busier, and it visually supports the rapid progression of events in the narrative. It can work in the real world too! If you’ve got somewhere to be, but you need to have a conversation, don’t schedule it for later. Take the conversation with you!
There are more benefits to this than just saving time. You’ll find your increased heart rate and circulation make it easier to focus and fire off ideas much quicker too. Even if you don’t actually need to be anywhere else, walking while talking is a great way to stay active, fitter and healthier in the workplace. If it can reduce sick days, surely it’s saving your business time too?
5. Self Service Personnel Resources
As an employee, it is really frustrating to try and get an appointment with someone in HR just to book off a long weekend. Using an app to manage leave, check promotion eligibility and even apply for internal jobs can save everyone a lot of time and hassle. There are plenty of systems like this available. Ultimately, they offer a few checkboxes or drop-down menus to allow the worker to submit a request. It’s up to you if you want to allow the system to auto approve requests as well.
Other resources that can be challenging to access include company information, contact details and meeting schedulers. By placing all these details in a single app, you can save each employee a lot of time and headaches. It shouldn’t have to be a big research project to get the name and email address of someone in accounts!
6. Recruit From Within
It’s up to you how you choose to recruit talent for your business. But there is a lot to be said for recruiting from within. For a start, that worker already knows your company and you. They know the culture and fit right in. They know the quickest and easiest way to get things done to your satisfaction too! A clearly defined career progression is a great motivator too. It improves worker loyalty and reduces the amount of training that is required to bring someone into the role.
There are legal issues surrounding this though. You can’t just ignore the wealth of talent outside of your firm. But you can recruit from the ground floor and let the best of the best work their way up naturally. Check your local laws and regulations on recruitment and best practice. If you don’t have to advertise externally, then you can save time on the entire recruitment process. Sifting through applications, holding interviews and training new recruits can take months.
7. Use Freelancers For Those Little Jobs
Some departments, like the marketing team, have countless small tasks that take up more time than they are worth. Your marketers are a creative bunch that are full of fresh ideas. The last thing you want is for them to be stuck on a relatively small creative piece instead of brainstorming and developing the next big thing. This is where freelancers come in. They can dedicate their time, energy and resources to that single line of copy or that cute infographic design.
You might find the same thing for your customer service team. A seasonal influx of orders through the call center can be great. But it means your people are busy taking orders instead of taking care of customer enquiries. Handing over some of these calls to an outsourced service provider means your agents can get on with what they’re best at doing without suffering the fatigue of overwork.
8. No More Paperwork
Shuffling paper and filing hard copies is another job that workers find tedious. Your employees want to be doing something more creative and fun. They don’t want to spend their days moving stacks of papers about. Use a digitizing service to reduce your office-based paperwork to zero. It means that all those documents are available to everyone at the same time, without anyone having to run off to the filing cabinet.
Working digitally like this can also mean that security is improved. There is no more time wasted searching for lost papers and documents. They are all on your server and filed appropriately for anyone with the correct permissions to view. You might even choose to edit them if required. That’ll save a few hours in photocopying!
9. Reminders, Scheduling And Calendars
Make good use of your phone or computer reminder app. This saves you a lot of time worrying about what you’ve got to do or making endless todo lists. Scheduling apps make it easy for you and everyone else in the company to see where you are and what you’re up to! Sharing these details means that every moment of your time at work can be carefully managed to maximize your day.
Shared calendars also mean that you can find out when your key personnel are in the building for meetings. You’ll be able to follow their workflow more easily. Best of all, you can all see when time has been booked off. This saves you the hassle of ringing or emailing when your employee is actually away from the office on leave. Of course, if you don’t use these facilities, then they won’t be able to save anyone any time at all!
10. Video Conferencing
Spare yourself a flight, and reduce the cost of hotels. Simply take that meeting by video call. You might well save hours! How does your business save time?