If you run a small business, you know how important employee engagement and efficiency is. But do you know how much it's costing you?

About 85% of employees feel disengaged at work, according to Gallup's State of the Global Workplace report. The economic impact of lost productivity costs around $7 trillion globally.

But as a small business owner, how can you better engage your workers and improve productivity? The odds are better when you are operating with a small team of employees and do not have the deep resources a larger company might have. This means even minor changes to your workflow or team structure can have a big impact on your business's productivity and bottom line.

This article will offer some tips and techniques for maximizing your workplace efficiency, increasing your employees' productivity, and improving your overall work environment.

What Does Workplace Efficiency Mean?

We are talking a lot about workplace efficiency, but what exactly does it mean? Work efficiency means your team is accomplishing tasks and working toward goals, wasting the least amount of time, effort, and other resources.

You have probably heard the phrase "work smarter, not harder" before. This is essentially what workplace efficiency boils down to. This does not mean workers should just complete work quickly, though. You want your team to produce quality work, as well.

There are four major sources of workplace inefficiency:

  • Workplace distractions: You might face a wide range of distractions that take your focus away from your work, from social media and email overuse to chatty co-workers. Some workers might have external causes of distraction, such as sickness or relationship problems.
  • Poor communication: If you are not communicating well with your team, it could affect the quality and amount of work they produce. Communication problems could stem from ineffective communication tools to poor interpersonal skills.
  • Unmotivated workers: Employees who are not motivated will not produce good — or very much — work. It is important to understand why they are lacking motivation. Is the workplace culture toxic? Is there a poor relationship between managers or co-workers? Are they unfulfilled by their work?
  • Burnout: Overworked employees will eventually reach a breaking point where it will affect their workload and cause them to produce less work.

8 Tips for Increasing Workplace Efficiency

If you are not sure where to start, here are some easy tips for training more efficient employees.

Track Time Spent on Tasks

Time tracking throughout the workday can help employees manage their time better by seeing how long they take to complete tasks. If they are aware of how much time they are spending on projects, it will improve their work productivity and motivate them to finish tasks within a reasonable time frame.

Project management software and other project management tools can help your team keep tabs on their workload and how they are spending their time on the clock in real time. Time tracking will encourage your staff to spend less time multitasking and more time focusing on one job at once. And understanding where your workers might be falling flat will help you determine how to increase efficiency and productivity and improve their time management skills.

Make Your Workplace Comfortable

Your physical office environment can affect your team's efficiency and productivity. Among the factors which might cause your employees' productivity to drop include the temperature, lighting, noise, and air quality of their workspace. Even the comfort of their chairs or lack of natural light could take a toll on their work. So, be sure to check in with your employees about their physical comfort and really listen if they have any areas of concern.

Establish Clear Communication Guidelines

The communication between employees is critical to work being done by the deadline and effectively with few mistakes. It can improve collaboration and ensure expectations are properly conveyed before work is completed. It also keeps workflow moving between team members and departments.

So, as a small business owner or manager, communication is an important area of investment. One way to ensure effective communication is to create checkpoints for employees so they can notify their team members when they have completed work or if they are ready to accept another task.

Keep Equipment Up to Date

Do not underestimate the importance of updating your office equipment. Outdated technology can operate slowly and break down often, making it harder for your team to do their jobs well, if at all.

You will feel the effects of this financially as well. Businesses in the United States lose up to $1.8 billion annually because of time wasted on old equipment. If you are worried about spending money on new equipment, you will actually save money compared to the time lost waiting for IT and potential clients lost because of delays.

Ensure Employees Know Their Roles and Tasks

To keep your employee productivity on track, make sure your workers fully understand their roles and tasks to prevent headaches down the road. If there is miscommunication about the work you ask them to do, it could cost you time and money.

Regular proper training on tasks, reviewing workflow processes, and welcoming employee feedback are all important parts of ensuring your team members know what they are supposed to be doing, how to get it done efficiently, and how to solve issues which may arise along the way.

Don't Overload or Overschedule Employees

It might sound counterproductive, but if you do not overpack your employees' schedules each day, it can actually make your team more productive and efficient. Having room to breathe gives you the space you need to make edits and changes to your work, shift gears if something unexpected comes up, and relax a bit to avoid burnout and mental health issues.

Avoid Unnecessary Meetings

Too many unnecessary meetings can damage your workplace productivity by wasting time better spent on completing tasks and leaving workers feeling unmotivated.

So, rethink your next meeting before you put it on the calendar. Would your employees be better off using the time doing something else? Could your meeting's agenda be conveyed in an email or a quick phone call?

The fewer meetings you schedule, the more your staff members will thank you, as it frees up their time to focus on their most important tasks.

Create a Positive Workplace Environment

Your company culture and your employees' happiness at work will dictate their productivity and efficiency. A positive work environment leads to higher job satisfaction and less stress for your staff, meaning they are more likely to quickly and efficiently produce good work.

If your business has a toxic environment, you will see the opposite effect on their work outcomes. If there is no work-life balance, proper communication, encouragement, or job satisfaction, your business productivity will plummet. Employee efficiency relates directly to engagement, and your employees' happiness can have a direct effect on your company's success.

Quickly and Easily Manage Your Small Business Finances With Skynova

Increase your team's productivity by accurately tracking and managing your income, expenses, sales tax, payments — and all other money going in and out of your business — using Skynova's accounting software.

Our all-in-one platform simplifies your bookkeeping by creating an easy-to-understand snapshot of your financial picture. With all your most important documents organized in one space, we offer a centralized hub for all your accounting needs and help streamline your filing system.

Notice to the Reader

The content within this article should be used as a general guide and may not apply to your specific situation. Always consult with a professional accountant to ensure you are meeting accounting standards.