5 Easy Ways to Improve your Office's Workflow

by Management Paradise on Sunday 3 February 2019, 1:27 PM | Category: Human Resources| View: 215 views
 
 
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5 Easy Ways to Improve your Office's Workflow

Improving workflow and efficiency is something most businesses strive for, but not all know exactly how to go about it. Whether they're stuck in their ways and are scared to do things differently, or simply aren't aware of the tools available to them, many businesses end up being complacent when they should be constantly looking to improve their processes. But by applying a few principles and taking action, you could significantly improve your workflow and increase your output and productivity. Here are a few ways you can do just that.

Start the Conversation

The very first thing you have to do is keep your employees involved. After all, you could have the most solid plan in place and use all the proper tools, but it won't work if you don't have your employees on board. Furthermore, your employees are actually at the frontline and might know more about what needs to be done than anybody, so don't underestimate your employees' input based on rank since those on the ground often have the best idea of what is going wrong and how to fix it.

Implement a Workflow Automation Platform

Implementing a workflow automation platform is essential in this day and age if you want to get the best out of your employees and don't want to micromanage every task. But you first have to identify your exact needs and see which approach would be the best for you.

Lean management will allow you to facilitate workflow by eliminating wasteful processes. It also allows you to focus on things that matter the most to your clients and continually improve your processes and product. Using Kanban tools could help you implement a lean strategy and greatly facilitate workflow.

But what is Kanban you ask? Kanban is a simple Agile framework that allows you to use a pull system to facilitate task completion and monitor progress. The main elements in a Kanban system are the Kanban board and Kanban cards. Your Kanban board will have multiple columns that signify every step of the task process. At the very least, Kanban boards will have three columns - one for requested tasks, one for tasks in progress, and one for completed tasks, though you can add more columns if you wish.

Kanban cards, on the other hand, will each have specific tasks for specific team members. Each task will be “pulled” from a backlog based on priority. This allows managers to set which tasks need to be completed first without having to delegate them individually. All they have to do is add tasks to the backlog and let team members pull tasks accordingly.

Kanban is perfect if you have a steady set of tasks that might need to be modified at various parts of the task completion process. It's a flexible system that allows every team member to provide input and facilitates communication, not only between team members but team members and management as well. Everyone can access the Kanban board in real time, see which tasks need to be completed and what tasks seem to be stalling. It also allows team members to collaborate on certain issues and work on solutions without management constantly having to chime in. And management can oversee the whole process and stay informed while providing input of their own if needed.

Audit your Current Processes

While they often say that you shouldn't fix anything that isn't broken, if something happens to be broken, you need to be able to identify where exactly and apply the proper changes. You first have to start by gathering key information from stakeholders and perform a thorough audit of your processes. Make sure your internal processes are listed, look for any existing gaps, and lay out a clear roadmap of how an optimal workstream would look like in every department.

Prioritizes Areas of Concern

Once you have assessed your processes and identified problem areas, it's essential that you rank them in order of importance. You should evaluate every problem area on a scale of one to ten and tackle the most pressing areas first. This will allow you to focus more of your attention on things that could have more of an impact on your workflow.

Follow up with Constant Training

People often underestimate how much of an impact training, or improper training to be exact, can have on workflow and productivity. When employees are properly trained and understand your company's processes, they are less prone to making mistakes and will be much less intimidated by their tasks. When employees are overwhelmed or intimidated by certain projects, they end up either procrastinating or taking more time than would usually be required, which ends up directly affecting their productivity and efficiency. The more you train them, even if it means them taking the same training course more than once, the calmer they'll be when faced with large and difficult tasks.

You should also make sure that you provide proper training whenever you implement new solutions, introduce new processes or modify old ones. Keeping your team informed will also allow you to gather their feedback and see if the changes actually benefit workflow. Also, make sure that you let them know why these new processes have been implemented and encourage them to give their opinions. After all, they're the ones who will have to work with these new set of changes, and while some solutions might seem good on paper, there could be major issues that only your employees will be able to identify.

However, that doesn't mean that you should bend to their every whim either. In some cases, older processes might've been easier for them, but lead to poorer results. So, make sure that you listen to their feedback, but let them know that they'll have to deal with these changes for the sake of efficiency.

Conclusion

Facilitating workflow is all about applying the right methodology and identifying problem areas. Make sure that you always listen to your employees and use tools they'll be able to adapt to.

 

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