SMB Matters

Struggling With Your New Year’s Resolution to be More Productive in 2018? Here’s How to Eliminate the 3 Biggest Productivity Hurdles Companies Face

March 14, 2018

With so many demands on your time, it’s easy to be affected by productivity hurdles. Productivity is usually tied to other vital business outcomes, such as employee morale, efficiency and the bottom line. Improving your productivity game can have a positive impact on your overall business success. If you are  struggling with becoming more productive in 2018, below are three HR-related productivity hurdles that business owners commonly face and a few solutions that might help you overcome them.

Productivity hurdle #1: context switching
Context switching refers to giving attention to multiple tasks that are simultaneously calling for our attention. These interruptions can be in person--such as when an employee interrupts your workflow to ask a question--or through emails, phone calls and other media that surround you on a daily basis. Switching to a new task while still in the middle of another increases the time it takes to finish both tasks by 25%, according to a study from the University of Michigan.

Solution: remove distractions
Learn to treat interruptions as just that, interruptions. Email requests, text messages and other instant communications give you a false sense of urgency, resulting in a knee-jerk reaction to respond. Instead, try creating a daily “to-do” list, with your tasks listed in order of priority. Then check off your tasks in order of priority. Additionally, set aside 10 to 15 minutes during two to three designated points in your day to respond to emails. As you sort through incoming requests, filter them into your to-do list in order of priority and don’t turn your focus to them until your more important tasks are completed. By focusing on your priorities, you can minimize distractions that impede productivity.

Productivity hurdle #2: employee burnout
Now that you know how to tackle context switching in a manner that will help manage your workload better, we can turn our attention to your employees and how to better help them focus on their work.  Employee burnout is a very real phenomenon that can result in low levels of productivity and a high frequency of turnover. Many studies show that the combined cost of replacing an employee can be between 1.5 to 2 times the employee’s annual salary. This is due to recruiting costs, time spent on reviewing and selecting candidates, and then slower productivity resulting from new employee training. Helping your current employees avoid burnout through more improved productivity can be vital to retention and, thus, your bottom line.

Solution: employee empowerment
The key to retaining your employees and maintaining high levels of productivity is proper motivation of your workforce.  Effective time management and a more autonomous workplace can help employees feel more empowered. Empowered employees are more likely to take on important projects. To further optimize your employee productivity, make sure to provide employees with clear goals, provide frequent performance feedback and reward them (through monetary incentives, for instance) for reaching their goals.

Productivity hurdle #3: regulatory and compliance issues
It’s incredibly challenging to stay up to date in the ever-changing regulatory environment in which businesses today operate. The amount of time and money it now takes to tackle compliance issues can be a massive hurdle to your productivity. Trying to keep abreast of all the employment laws and regulations that affect your business at the federal, state and local level can hinder your ability to accomplish anything else. In fact, 33% of small businesses consider regulatory burdens to be a significant challenge to future growth.  

Solution: leverage HR best practices
Following consistent HR practices ensures that you are not overwhelmed later. Creating robust systems and processes for updating business information is exceedingly helpful, especially when there are compliance issues at stake. Regular training for managers will also help minimize your risk exposure as they learn to identify changing regulations and the correct way to navigate them. Finally, professional guidance from an HR expert will help you successfully handle the more technical aspects of compliance.

By considering these three productivity solutions, you can start reclaiming your time, focus and energy to power your business toward even greater success.

This communication is for informational purposes only; it is not legal, tax or accounting advice; and is not an offer to sell, buy or procure insurance.

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