Try filling water in a tank while keeping its outlet open! You need so much more water! More so, the tank remains seemingly full for a very short duration. Too many outlets, and no amount of water will suffice your purpose! Now try sealing the openings. You need less than half the amount of water for the vessel to remain full and for so long until you really use any from it. The latter demonstrates how efficiency can completely change scenario as also in a work place! Lets learn more about how to improve efficiency at work.
What is efficiency at work
The careful use of any resource to achieve the desired performance can be termed as efficiency.
Efficiency is primordial. It is the fuel that a workplace consumes in order to reach its targets. Lack of efficiency is like having a leaky petrol tank. Aiming for a 100% efficiency may be practically impossible, but there is always scope for improvement, to the extent that efforts do not go a waste and become fruitful.
A workplace may include diverse locations ranging from a home office (as has been a trend since the pandemic), to larger offices, factories, business units, clinics, and others. Irrespective of the nature of your workplace, a lack of efficiency at work, can add miles to your destination. Let us introspect into possible loopholes that lead to inefficiency in the first place, and simultaneously observe possible solutions to each one of them. These will give us ways to improve efficiency at work.
6 ways to improve efficiency at work:
1) Human Resource
The greatest assest for any company is its human resource. Mismanagement of employee manpower can derail efficient functioning. Problems in inefficiency could arise as a result of having:
- Limited number of employees or fewer employees being productive
- Employees not trained well at handling tasks
- Employees not adhering to the firm long enough to deliver result. In such a case, recruiting new employees frequently and training them over again could be draining.
The first step is to realize that employees form the framework of a company. Investing in their safety and satisfaction should be prioritized. They need to be given the right environment so they deliver to their fullest potential.
- It is crucial to choose suitable employees depending upon the nature of job and to provide them with the right kind of training.
- Apart from offering the employees suitable pay packages, they should also be rewarded with incentives based on their performances and/or when they work overtime.
- Providing female employees with equal opportunities, safe transport, and flexible work-from-home option could go a long way in maintaining gender balance in the workplace.
- Maternity and paternity leave according to set norms with some minimum pay during the leave helps new parents find balance with their personal and professional roles.
A workplace that practices this ‘proverb’ are bound to make it big. Often health in a workplace takes a backseat:
- At some point, workload drives employees to work overtime and compromise on quality sleep.
- Employees miss out on having a balanced diet most of the days due to lack of time.
- Fatigue takes a toll on exercise, recreation and hobbies.
Realise that from great health buds out enthusiasm. Know that the pinnacle of success rests on healthy and productive employees.
- A five-day work schedule actually gives ample time for the employees to refresh, nurture hobbies, and get back fresh at work again.
- Having shift options is not a bad idea, given that the employees can choose the time of work that suits them best and can have one healthy meal at home.
- In recent times, lifestyle diseases and the prevailing pandemic have led to uncertainty in health. Making provisions for affordable health insurances for their family as a whole, could prove beneficial.
- Having family gatherings at least once a year, will help employees connect better with each other.
Work on your health to improve your efficiency at work.
3) Co-ordination and Communication
Lack of proper co-ordination among employees can throw smooth work-flow off balance. It may result in:
- Frequent rifts between the employees to hinder productivity.
- Miscommunication between various divisions, leading to ambiguous commitment with clients and finally losing on them.
Efficiency flows naturally out of well-co-ordinated teamwork and wise leadership qualities:
- Form efficient teams that comprise members with strong communication skills who co-ordinate effectively.
- Assign strong leaders who delegate the right kind of tasks to the team members and restore synchrony in work flow.
- Divide bigger projects into smaller tasks or subtasks. This will simplify their handling and also help get to minute details with perfection.
- Work by prioritizing tasks.
Learn more about: How to improve communication skills
4) Time Management
Time is precious. Miss-managed time reflects negatively upon efficiency within the company. Time management is not just about working hard and overtime. It is also about being able to work smart and taking the rest of the day off!
Inefficiency in time management can be due to:
- Missing deadlines by whiling away prime time with unrelated activities.
- Working on the same projects over and over again due to poor work quality.
- Frequent multitasking that could lead to stress and an increased likelihood of errors.
- Trying to achieve perfectionism by spending time on excessive reviews.
Well-managed time leaves ample time for the employees to spend quality time with family and indulge in hobbies and recreation. They are then ready to take up the next task with zeal. This happens through:
- Working with focus without getting distracted and meeting timelines.
- Taking care not to repeat mistakes.
- Resorting to multitasking only when need demands.
- Avoiding perfectionism as it is not always productive. Instead focus on good quality work that meets timelines.
Time is the only resource which can not be refilled once spent. Right use of time is the key to improve efficiency at work.
By space, we refer to the work area. It is obvious that the nature of work area depends on the type of job. However, these are some common issues that can disengage employees from work mood only to lead to inefficiency. They include:
- Employees spending too much time in travel with workplaces being remote from the city.
- Office spaces being very congested, allowing little room for ventilation.
- Hygienically ill-maintained wash rooms in offices.
- Office being too remote from medical care facilities.
- Offices not having a standard cafeteria/canteen.
After a year into the pandemic, people are now confident how working from home is not about being recluse. With self-discipline, this idea can be harnessed to overcome many problems relating to work place; prominently with time, space, money, and social distancing.
For jobs that necessarily require physical attendance:
- Invest on well-ventilated work spaces. It is a good idea to opt for shared co-working areas in the heart of the city and have better digital access, when the staff is limited.
- In larger factories, having emergency health-care facility with hygienic restaurants become an added necessity.
Saving costs on wrong areas could prove more expensive on the long run. Similarly, being too lavish could take a heavy toll on company expenses. For instance:
- Hiring too many employees than needed
- Spending on un-necessary luxuries like installing too many air-conditioners, fancy lightings, expensive furniture, or on too many gadgets or appliances in general.
Be prudent before assigning budget. Prioritizing is the key.
- Assign some posts for part time jobs. This ensures there are good employees still working and at affordable costs.
- Explore and develop new vendors for office supplies. Chances are that you may negotiate better deals.
Efficiency leads to Evolution
Let us now shift focus on a broader picture. Observe how inventions bring about efficiency. Efficiency, in turn leads to evolution!
When we track the trail on how we have evolved, we see how efficient we have been with ‘transport’ since the start of time. From just having to walk to places, we can now fly to a country and back all in a day’s time.
‘Communication’ has seen efficiency like no other field ever has. A letter that took days to reach near and dear ones has been transformed to just a ‘click’ of messages in a fraction of second!!
The consequence of efficient transport and communication is ‘globalization’.
Efficiency is in our genes, literally! Did you know that according to a BBC Science report, if we could uncoil, stretch and join together all of the DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) in our cells together, they would be twice as long as the diameter of the solar system! Can you imagine how efficiently they are coiled to fit in tiny spaces within our cells! Yet they store every bit of vast information about our body make-up!
DNAs reminds us of microchips in computers. Storing information could never have been any better! From needing tons of paper to circulate any kind of data to having access to digital libraries from the comfort of our homes; from floppy discs and compact discs to pen drives and cloud computing! Efficiency only makes way for more efficiency, because such ideas transform many other workplaces!
Efficiency is Innovation
Stone age, bronze age and copper age have made way for the ‘digital era’! The word ‘digital’ is like Midas touch! Every area it touches, makes it efficient.
Take the innovations in telemedicine for instance. Gone will be the days when there were long, exhausting queues at the clinics. Online consultations have made things so much easier. This technology delivers care from a distance and makes for efficiency in hygiene as well. No hassles of un-necessary travel! With the pandemic, innovations like remote-operated ventilators have emerged. They save space at hospitals as patients can use them from home.
Software applications or simply ‘apps’, are innovative computer programs that enable us to perform varied tasks. Installed in a computer or mobile, apps improve convenience. Convenience is another form of efficiency!
Conclusion: How to improve efficiency at work
Efficiency is doing things right.Tweet
It is clear by now that efficiency is worth adopting. However, what if in the race to achieve efficiency, we are actually losing out on it? For is it not paradoxical that despite the progress man has made in medicine so far, we are still short of answers on how to beat lifestyle diseases like cancer, diabetes, heart ailments and a host of others that are increasing by the day?
With the convenience in digitalization, have we created ourselves a new trap of emerging cybercrimes?
As we are moving closer to connecting to people across the globe, we at times distance ourselves from our own family. Are we losing out on joyful family time in the face of globalization?
Being focussed on reaching a place quickly, we sometimes lose out on all the fun that we had during long travels. Are we distancing ourselves from fun during travel just to reach our destinations quickly?
Sometimes we need to take time to realise that not everything lies in destination alone. True efficiency is in enjoying every moment of the journey toward the destination. The real meaning of efficiency is achieving the right balance and in improving the quality of life!
Recommended books about how to improve efficiency at work.
Article Credit: “How to improve efficiency at work”
This article is contributed by Ms Preeti Tambraparni, post graduate in microbiology with a certification in clinical research. Her expertise are writing personal blog in life science related topics and health blog.
More articles from Ms. Preeti Tambraparni:
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