How Businesses Can Save Costs By Improving Team Efficiency.

When your team members are more efficient, your business performs better. Yet, inefficiency is not a monetary cost, it is a cost of time, energy, and team motivations. But won’t businesses be behind the race if all those are sacrificed?

How Businesses Can Save Costs By Improving Team Efficiency.

Defining efficiency.

The capacity a team has to accomplish the goals or objectives administered by an authorized personnel or the organization.

Being efficient means spending time wisely so that you are able to deliver results that drive growth. When you aim for efficiency, your attention at work is diverted to completing tasks that contribute towards a collective goal.

When your team members are more efficient, your business performs better. This is not a claim that efficiency alone is plays the largest role in business growth, as other factors matter too. Yet, when it comes to trusting a team to run daily operations, ensuring they make the best use of their time is crucial.

The costs of inefficiency.

Being inefficient is obviously detrimental to your time, and your results.

We know it’s a good productivity practice not to constantly switch between tasks or to waste time constantly checking emails. All too common, is the vacuum of being thrown into a work progress that looks like an endless cycle of:

  • Joining meetings to discuss work
  • Writing tasks down
  • Brainstorming ideas for tasks
  • Getting approval for the idea
  • Start elaborating the idea into a plan
  • Ask for another approval
  • Start doing the actual work
  • Go through 3-4 more approvals and edits
  • Get sidetracked by so-called ‘urgent’ task
  • Finally get around to finishing the actual task
  • Having to get a final approval from the manager, director, and finally the CEO.

And this doesn’t account for all the time spent idling - checking emails, chatting with coworkers, joining dozens of meetings per day. A single task that would have taken less than 1 week could extend for one month. That same amount of time could be spent more wisely on work that drives business growth.

Leading for efficiency.

Most of us know what our ‘perfect’ day would be like - getting meaningful work done. But what’s missing is a mechanism around achieving great work.

If you’re leading a team for efficiency, it’s important to adopt a systematic approach to enable your team to produce at their most efficient rate. That could mean enabling change on many different levels - work culture, team communications hierarchy, and leadership.

To help teams be more efficient, leaders can:

  • Ensure everyone stays on the same page with the right priorities
  • Enable teams to focus on both process and results
  • Give autonomy.

Stay on the same page with the right priorities.

If you want your team to be 10x more efficient, then you need to define what kind of results they should be working towards. Your team may be people who work extremely hard, and they can leverage that by working towards the right goals.

Define clear goals. Get your team aligned with the organization’s goals by hosting a quarterly goal-setting session. As a team, decide what you want to achieve monthly and quarterly with the overall goal in mind. This can help your team narrow down their focus for the quarter so they achieve maximum output.

Example of Goal Setting
Guide To Planning Your Week For Better Productivity
Back in the day, productivity is usually defined by working long hours and completing more tasks. But this definition is no longer relevant in today’s world.

Automate shallow tasks. Shallow tasks are tedious tasks that consume so much of our time with minimally impactful results in return. Shallow tasks drain us and often we are sucked into them without realizing they're damaging to our productivity. The key is to identify them, and automate those tasks before they distract us.  

Table by Doist

Delegate. The most efficient people know that it’s impossible to do everything and still produce great quality at all times. They'll choose 1 or 2 of the most important tasks to focus on and delegate the rest to others.

Use a tool to track progress. We often get sidetracked because we let emails, text messages, and meetings determine how we spend our day. If you’re ready to take back the control, you and your team need one place to keep all priorities in check. A project management tool keeps all work progress, team communications, and files in one place. By adopting the right tool, your team can communicate better, stay on top of priorities, and always stay updated on what everyone’s up to.

Status Updates

If you are considering alternatives for a project management tool, Bloo is the most affordable and easy-to-use tool you’ll ever find. Bloo charges a flat rate of 50$ per month, and you have unlimited projects and users. Compared to other tools, you would save more than 65,000$ annually using Bloo. Try out 14 days for free!

Focus on the process and results.

Being result-oriented is one of the traits highly celebrated in the workplace. Companies love employees that drive results, and investors love businesses that focus on results. A general misconception is that businesses have to choose between focusing on the processes or the results, but results come from well-defined processes. Results are what you measure progress on, but your process helps get your team there and establishes a sustainable business in the long-term. Companies can focus on both.

Establish an effective workflow. Having a workflow is important. Not only are they foundations of great work quality, they also make it easy for teams to view progress. One simple yet effective way teams can structure workflow would be to group tasks/items as: ideas, to-dos, in progress, and done.

If it’s a more technical project, say, recruitment, then their workflow could be: Applications, Shortlisted, Scheduled Interviews, etc. Establishing a workflow that works well for the team will give everyone a clear sense of priorities and helps them (and you) stay on top of the workload.

Track by results, not hours. Long hours of work don’t necessarily equal results. To achieve results, you and your team must emphasize your measurement of success on results. That means, instead of focusing on what time an employee comes and leaves the office, focus on what they have achieved.

Give autonomy to your team.

Those who are given autonomy over their work reported to be happier and satisfied at their current role. Autonomy is all about the freedom to make certain decisions, contribute ideas, and work under limited supervision. Autonomy at work comes with a lot of trust.  After all, you’re letting your team have their freedom in contributing to a business you take accountability for. But it is not just worth it for their motivational growth, but also for the business growth.

“Take care of your employees and they will take care of the business. It's as simple as that.” - Richard Branson.

Focus on the development of people. Your team are humans with goals and dreams in life, and perhaps working for you is a stepping stone towards their greater ambitions. As a leader, your job is not only to drive business growth, but also to help your people grow professionally. Whenever you can, allow your team to do work that challenges them to grow; Give them the control they need to do great work, and be their support system. This could be by allowing cross-department job rotations, encouraging team members to propose and lead new ideas, or prioritizing their learning journeys.

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A business could be trying to save costs by cutting expenses in some other ways, but if team efficiency is not improved, it is still a cost. The costs of lost productivity, time, and motivations, can pull a business far behind its competitors. As a leader, you can help your team be more efficient by communicating the right priorities, focusing on both the processes and results, and giving teams greater autonomy at work.

"Small changes often lead to a big difference."