How to Improve Your Small Business Productivity

In a small business, it’s important to keep up productivity levels to help your business keep growing. Don’t think productive employees make a difference? Just take a look at these statistics for workers who aren’t productive:

  • Disengaged workers had 37% high absenteeism, 49% more accidents on the job and 60% more mistakes
  • Unproductive employees cost the US between $450-$550 billion a year

With those stats in mind, let’s dive into ways to improve you and your employees’ productivity below.

 

  • Invest in apps that will help you and your team

 

Apps aren’t just to play games and goof off in your spare time. They can be incredibly useful to structure your time and keep you focused. Here are some of our favorite apps and websites below to keep you focused.

  • Forest: Grow trees in a virtual forest! First, you choose a type of tree you want to grow, set a time that you don’t want to touch your phone for, and then press “start”. If you leave your phone alone for the specified amount of time, a baby tree will grow into a big, beautiful tree but if you exit out of the app before the timer runs out, your little tree will die. As your focus grows, so does your forest.
  • Freedom: This handy website blocks distracting websites like Facebook and Buzzfeed. As much as you’d like to see Aunt Cathy’s cats in their cute holiday sweaters – work hours may not be the best time to do so.
  • Focus Keeper: This app uses the Pomodoro Method of 25-minute blocks of time to focus on a set task. Take a short break and then get going again. After four 25-minute periods, you get to enjoy a 20-30 minute break.

 

  • Use software specific to your business

 

If you run a pest control business, use pest control business solutions by Housecall Pro, for example. If you run a coffee shop, use an clock-in system like Homebase for your service industry employees to use. Just make sure whatever software you use is convenient, user-friendly, and has administrative controls you have access to. This is an important feature to keep in mind because in all likelihood, you’ll probably have to undo actions at a certain point and you won’t want to wait on a third party before the necessary changes are made.

 

  • Keep tabs on your employees

 

We’re not encouraging you to spy on your employees, of course. But if you have a remote workforce or even if you’re in the same office, it’s a good idea to use a messaging system to stay on top of everything and to promote communication. Fleep, for example, is a great internal messaging tool you can use to check on the progress of projects due soon or to simply check in with a remote employee.

 

  • Hire the right people

 

Hiring the right people means you shouldn’t take just anyone who responds to your Craigslist ad for a new position, you’ll have to vet all of your prospects thoroughly. Here are some steps you can take to make sure that you’re hiring only awesome people:

  • Write an accurate, detailed job description
  • Create a solid set of interview questions that are compliant with state and federal regulations pertaining to discrimination
  • Put job postings up on a variety of job sites
  • Use background checks on potential employees in the final stages of hiring

 

  • Keep your employees motivated

 

Keeping your employees motivated doesn’t mean you’re forcing their noses to the grindstone for 8 hours straight. It means implementing incentives to work hard, creating an open, healthy company culture, and rewarding those who go above and beyond regularly.

 

  • Consider using an alternative schedule

 

If your company structure allows for it, consider utilizing an alternative scheduling system. Not only will this give your employees to work when they’re at their best (night people can work during the evenings and morning people can rise with the sun) but it also allows for longer business hours.

Instead of closing up shop at 5 pm every day, you’ll have employees that can respond to client questions and inquiries at non-standard business hours. You can either have set alternative hours such as 7 am to 3 pm or 10 pm to 6 pm, or employees can come and go as they please with the understanding they need to finish certain tasks.

Takeaways

As a small business, there are many internal and external factors that can impact growth and productivity. But with the right structure and processes in place, your small business will be more productive than ever.

Adam Torkildson