Keeping track of productivity in a small business

When you’re running a small business, it’s all too easy to get caught up in managing your finances and keeping up with regulatory obligations, and lose track of what’s most important of all: productivity. If you’re not producing enough, you’re in trouble, and if your production is inefficient, you’re missing out on opportunities for growth. Both these things can be difficult to measure, but with the help of emerging technologies it’s getting easier than ever to ensure you’re in control.

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Managing time

Getting a handle on time management is the starting point for maximising your productivity. You can start by walking around your workplace, observing what people are doing at different times of day. Most people are more efficient in the mornings, so shifting important tasks to that time can help in producing clear, focused outcomes. Decision-making tends to be poorer in the afternoon, so this can be a good time for working on simple, repetitive tasks or doing research. Installing software such as Rescue Time can help you keep track of what each individual is doing over the course of the day.

Analysing output

When it comes to measuring productivity, the challenge lies in keeping track of all the separate bits of work your company does. Some of this can be done by asking employees to self-report on task progress or completion in a database or spreadsheet system. As an alternative, and a much more practical option in larger or more diverse businesses, software like Project Partner can be used to identify and integrate outcomes so that you can more easily map overall performance.

Integrating tasks

Rather than spending all your time overseeing work so that you can ensure completed materials move on to the next stage of processing, consider investing in ERP software that can take care of this for you. This makes it much easier to plan employee schedules so that they fit easily around each other and nobody is left doing nothing while waiting for somebody else to complete a task.

Identifying problems

Noise in the workplace is a big problem for some workers, so it’s worth talking to your staff to see if a different office layout might be helpful for them. Simply fitting carpets or adding soft furnishings to the workplace can substantially reduce the amount of noise.

Absences and poor quality work stemming from drug and alcohol misuse can have a significant impact on productivity. Administering the occasional oral fluid lab test is easy to do, minimally intrusive and very effective in encouraging employees to avoid getting into trouble.

Whatever problems your staff may have, it’s always better if they’re confident enough of your support to let you know about them. Taking an interest in your employees as people means you’re much more likely to successfully identify difficulties before they have a serious impact on productivity.

With a combination of technological means and good management, you can ensure that your workplace is running efficiently and your productivity always achieves its potential.

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