Did you know that the average worker wastes more than half their time?
That’s the key takeaway of a study by AtTask, which found that most office-based professionals only get to spend 45% of their working day doing the things they’re paid to do. The rest of their valuable time gets eaten up by things like pointless meetings (7%), trawling through emails (14%) and other interruptions or basic admin tasks (20%).
No employee worth their salt likes to think that they are doing a below-par job, and no employer wants to think they’re getting a poor deal out of the salaries they’re paying out. These figures are pretty dispiriting for everyone. But as numbers people, you no doubt see the bigger issue at stake: if you’re wasting your resources on such an epic scale, how on earth will you scale up?
If you’re looking to grow your firm, you need to know that the business is operating as productively and effectively as you can. You need to know that your profit margins are as high as they can be, that your work processes are streamlined and efficient, that you’re not haemorrhaging cash along the way. You need a strong and predictable cash flow and a financial outlook that can absorb risks and support investment and expansion.
You need to stop wasting time.
Here’s how to knock inefficiencies on the head.
1. Improve Collaboration
A lot of the time, the technologies and processes themselves are the problem, especially if they’re not up to scratch when it comes to ticking off simple tasks. Even the daily back-and-forth of communicating with clients and colleagues can be a real headache, especially when you’re sending overlapping emails and attachments with conflicting edits to be reconciled.
The problem here is that you’re trying to make multiple different workflows mesh together, when you really need to use just one. By switching to smart project management tools and opening up shared, cloud-hosted folders to all stakeholders, teams can work on the same, original document together, keeping on top of changes as they go. Plus, you can easily maintain a constant dialogue that prevents against duplicated effort, communication breakdown and confusion.
2. Strengthen Remote Access
Having to wait around unnecessarily is practically guaranteed to drive people nuts, especially when it cuts into their work-life balance with no discernible benefits.
Instead of creating a situation where team members have to be physically in the office to get anything done, why not free them up a little bit?
That means creating ways to “check in” after hours, so that they can keep tabs on progress and respond from anywhere – rather than waiting around for hours on end for an all-important call or email that never arrives. It means giving them access to documents and work apps hosted securely in the cloud, so that they can crack on with important tasks while they’re travelling to and from work or client meetings.
… It means cutting out many of the daily set-backs and frustrations that so quickly eat into your valuable time.
3. Delegate Effectively
One of the most pervasive, yet easily solvable, ways that time gets mismanaged is when we fail to spread tasks effectively between those on hand to help. Senior staff end up holding on tight to mountains of tasks and working themselves into the ground, even when they could be sharing the load with junior colleagues who are crying out for more responsibility.
When your time is priced higher than that of others on your team, it makes no sense at all to limit your billable hours by clinging to admin that could easily be handled by those with less expertise. Instead, use the power of the cloud to start approaching task lists and documents collaboratively. That way, graduates and junior staff get the chance to develop and prove themselves – and you can spend precious time more profitably.