The start of a new year is one of the most common times for us to self-evaluate and set goals for personal improvement. As you think about possible resolutions, consider some goals that will help improve your productivity in every aspect of your life. Beefing up your efficiency by working out your pivotal workflows is one way to make some major gains in 2024.
How Can a Workflow Be Improved?
A workflow is crucial for organizational efficiency, providing a structured sequence of tasks to achieve specific objectives. However, workflows may falter for various reasons.
- Unclear processes or a lack of standardized procedures can lead to confusion and inconsistent workflows.
- Inadequate communication and collaboration between affected team members may result in disjointed efforts that slow the progression of tasks.
- Outdated technology and tools can make your workflow more sluggish than it needs to be, decreasing overall productivity.
Pinpointing the areas that may cause bottlenecks or roadblocks in everyday processes is the first step in improving your workflow. It’s important to regularly assess your operations so you can optimize workflow efficiency to achieve desired outcomes.
Are You Wasting Time at Work?
Research says nearly a third (31%) of employees say they waste around 30 minutes per day at work. However, this is just the time they spend on tasks that aren’t related to their job (like browsing online stores or checking social media).
How much of your day is spent waiting on technology, reaching out to coworkers about progress on tasks, or sitting in a collaboration meeting that isn’t strictly necessary? In reality, many parts of your day probably aren’t as streamlined and productive as they could be.
The same research found:
- Less than 3 hours of the average workday is actually productive.
- Employees waste 50 days a year doing menial, repetitive tasks.
- Companies that improved employee engagement and workflows reported a 27% increase in profit margins and 50% increase in sales.
Many workplaces will focus on a form of ‘presenteeism’ — where the physical presence of a worker is considered a form of productivity. In reality, it’s very easy to look busy without really accomplishing much.
Productivity and busyness are two very different things. Your effectiveness comes down to how focused, organized, and streamlined your workflows are.
How To Assess Your Current Workflows
Are you ready to make 2024 your most effective and productive year yet? Here are seven steps to identify where you can improve for the new year.
1. Map Existing Processes
You can’t improve without a clear understanding of how things are typically done and where the biggest bottlenecks or roadblocks lie.
Begin by mapping out your current workflows, identifying each step involved in a given process. This provides a clear visual representation of the existing structure.
2. Identify Inefficiencies
Analyze each mapped workflow to pinpoint areas where things are sluggish or get off track. This could be due to manual processes, unnecessary steps, or communication gaps.
3. Involve Key Stakeholders
Who is impacted by the workflow? Inconsistent approaches, misaligned priorities, or inadequate communication can cause gaps in your process.
Collaborate with anyone involved in the workflow to gain insights into their experiences. Gather stakeholder feedback on pain points and potential improvements.
4. Standardize and Document Procedures
Establish standardized procedures for each step of the workflow and document them comprehensively. This ensures consistency in execution and serves as a single reference point for team members.
5. Leverage Technology Solutions
The right setup can help you accomplish more. You can use a business technology assessment to identify suitable technology solutions that align with your processes and needs. These may include project management tools, automation software, collaboration platforms, or multi-function copiers that will help you enhance efficiency.
6. Implement and Test Changes
Gradually implement proposed changes to the workflow and monitor their impact. Testing allows for adjustments to be made in real time, ensuring that improvements are effective and well-received by the team. Consider changing your workflows slowly, only implementing those changes that will make the biggest differences at first. Too many changes at once can make things feel complicated and confusing.
7. Continuous Monitoring and Optimization
Working out your workflows shouldn’t be a one-time fix. Today’s rapid technological advancement means the tools and solutions at hand are continually changing.
Regularly monitor the workflow's performance post-implementation. Collect feedback, track key performance indicators, and remain open to further optimizations as the organization evolves and requirements change. Continuous improvement is key to sustained efficiency.
Consider the Use of Agile Workflows
Are you looking for a way to improve your ability to adapt, pivot, and collaborate? An agile workflow is a flexible and iterative approach to project management and task execution.
You can establish an agile workflow by breaking down tasks into smaller, manageable
components, regularly reassessing priorities, fostering open communication among team members, and leveraging tools that support agility (such as Scrum or Kanban boards). This approach promotes responsiveness to changes, enhances productivity, and ensures a more focused and efficient work process.
Partner With UBEO for Workflow Support
UBEO helps companies of all sizes streamline their document management and printing processes. For more help honing your workflows, reach out to our team today. We’ll provide a free assessment to pinpoint weaknesses and barriers in your current setup.
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