Although we’re far from out of the woods in regards to the coronavirus pandemic, we are seeing businesses beginning to open up again, some employees (safely) returning to offices and new ways of approaching consumers being developed.
Following the disruption initially caused by COVID19, many businesses are now considering remote working as a permanent option, while others, unfortunately; haven’t been able to survive the pandemic at all.
To recover from the impact, your business has no doubt felt; you need to find a way to cut out unnecessary costs and streamline your operations. In this guide, we’ll outline our suggestions for in-house optimisation.
Improve time tracking
A great place to start when streamlining your business is getting a better picture of exactly what you and your team are spending time on.
Time tracking software has advanced significantly in recent years. It can be used to track how much time you spend on each task, whether it’s answering emails, talking to clients, completing your day to day admin or investing hours into more important projects. Without time tracking tools such as Hourstack it can be easy to lose hours of productivity to tasks that don’t require it.
After a few weeks of monitoring, you’ll have a clear view of exactly what parts of your daily routine is taking up needless amounts of time. You can work out which tasks are inefficient, who is better suited to certain roles and if there are any areas of the business that aren’t profitable.
However, it’s important to strike a balance with time tracking tools. While it’s likely your team will accept it for research and billing purposes, using more invasive tracking software can lead to a breakdown in trust across the business.
Get communicating (and collaborating)
Poor communication and collaboration are one of the biggest blockers to streamlining a modern business.
The structure of the workplace has changed. You can no longer turn your head and talk to a colleague or expect to run into a manager in the hallways on the way to a meeting for a quick update. Businesses need to make an effort to communicate and work together more effectively.
To begin, assess your current communication processes. What tools are you using for email? Would an internal instant messaging service such as Slack be a better alternative? How are you communicating with your clients? Is it done in a way where the rest of your team can see important updates contained in the messages?
A good business only works to the best of its abilities when everyone is striving towards the same goals. That involves clear communication of not just personal aims, but the greater efforts and operations of the business.
One of the best ways to make sure everyone is on the same page is to invest in excellent project management software. A tool such as GetBusy, coupled with a time tracking tool, can quickly help you route out roadblocks slowing down projects and highlight what information is and isn’t reaching the whole team. Once you have the entire team working on on the software, you’ll have the virtual equivalent of an office where everyone can communicate, share ideas and submit work.
Great communication is about making processes seamless and obvious, even to new team members. You can streamline everything in your business, from onboarding of new employees to marketing campaigns.
Cut out the repetitive tasks
Think back to what we said about time tracking. What was one of the most significant benefits of knowing exactly how much time your team was spending on tasks? In a nutshell; it exposed which ones were taking up too much time.
Chances are, these are tasks your team have to do every day. So ask yourself, “are they actually essential?”
Whether you’re in the marketing, customer service or retail industry, you’ll have lots of repetitive tasks that take up a considerable amount of your day and could most likely be automated. Planning your social campaigns ahead of time and investing in scheduling software such as TweetDeck could save you hours, and mean employees don’t have to work at odd times to send out posts manually.
Think about all those customer service emails that land in your online store inbox every day. Do you really want to be answering them all manually? Why not set up auto-replies that direct customers to a comprehensive knowledge base of FAQs?
The pandemic has given many businesses some leeway with both customers and clients. Giving you a chance to iron out your mistakes, and being seen to improve your service is always a bonus.
Find platforms and a working schedule that takes these repetitive tasks out of you and your team’s hands, and you won’t just have a streamlined business, but one that can focus on more profitable and exciting projects.
See the opportunity
Finally, it’s essential to see the opportunity in the present situation.
The coronavirus pandemic has been a tough time for the majority of businesses, with many struggling to retain any sense of normality. Not everyone is in the position of eCommerce, where COVID raised the profile of many businesses.
However, that’s not to say there aren’t opportunities to be had.
Take the advertising industry, which quickly pivoted to COVID-themed content and ads to relate to the present feeling of consumers across the world. Or health and fitness, which noticed a shift towards home workouts after gym closures and reacted with online courses and video programmes. For some, it was a case of lucky timing, but many saw an opportunity and switched up their approach.
While these aren’t strictly examples of streamlining, it shows that even in difficult times, you can make significant changes to your business for the better.
There’s never been a better time to analyse and rethink your business. If it can withstand the pressure of this pandemic, it might just be able to fight through anything! To ensure it’s in an even better place for any future challenges, make sure you follow these tips and streamline your business operations now.