Time is probably the most valuable resource your business has, and you don’t want to be needlessly wasting it.
Some of the most notorious time wasters for a small business—such as employees focusing on personal matters during the workday—are well known. But what are some lesser-known time saps you should be focused on as a business leader? Here are five:
1. Unproductive meetings
It’s not that meetings are inherently bad. It’s just that they’re usually poorly managed, says Amy Foley, a productivity speaker and consultant, and co-founder of Inbound Back Office, a back-office support platform for digital marketing agencies. “They tend to be disorganized, with no specific purpose, so nothing productive comes out of them,” she says.
With more people working remotely, the trend toward video meetings has actually amplified these issues. Business owners and managers think it’s more important than ever to “gather the team” every day to re-create the personal interactions that used to happen around the water cooler. Unfortunately, holding too many meetings can have just the opposite effect, Foley warns. She offers these tips to make meetings more valuable:
- Create an agenda: All you need is a few bullet points outlining the topics that will be discussed and the decisions that need to be made.
- Keep it short: Meetings should never last more than 15 to 30 minutes; invite only the people directly involved in the issue and keep the discussion focused on the topics at hand.
- Send a recap: Immediately after the meeting, send everyone a brief recap of what was discussed, next steps and a list of action items assigned to each attendee.
2. Lack of delegation
Delegating key tasks can be a tall order for entrepreneurs used to doing everything themselves, but it’s critical to sustaining long-term growth, Foley says. She recommends using a video platform such as Dubb to explain what’s needed with a task so that it’s easily shareable with employees as they take on more responsibility. You can video yourself as you perform the job and narrate the process. When it’s time to pass on that duty to someone else, they’ll have the video to walk them through the process so no one else has to spend time training them.
3. Ineffective use of technology
The ultimate goal of technology is to boost productivity, but there’s an increasingly thin line between “productive” and “unproductive” systems in today’s workplaces, notes Tom Winter, co-founder of DevSkiller, a high-tech recruitment firm. Productive technology is designed to streamline and facilitate a particular task or business function. Task management software such as Asana or Wrike and customer relationship management (CRM) software such as HubSpot or Zoho are just two examples of technology can help make a business more productive.
Other popular platforms, such as Slack, though, easily slip from being a productivity tool to a distraction. “Although we use Slack for business and inter-company communications, it’s easy for people to get sidetracked and use it as they would social media, with endless chatter and posting pictures of dogs and cats,” he says.
In fact, the chatter on these collaborative platforms has gotten so bad that one study found that 34% of employees surveyed said they would get more work done if they uninstalled their business chat platform. However, Winter says managers can reduce the distraction issue of these platforms by establishing clear expectations and guidelines around how they are used.
4. Slow or unstable internet
Working over slow or unreliable internet—whether at home or in the office—can take a huge toll on your company’s productivity. “Given the need for more Zoom meetings and video conferencing due to the pandemic, always aim for more bandwidth if you can budget it,” Winter says.
But speed is only as reliable as the connection, he cautions. Even if you have a high-speed plan, there are other issues that can be slowing you down, such as a WiFi router that is not optimally located. So it’s worth looking at possible ways to speed up your internet.
5. Spam phone calls
No, it’s not your imagination. Spam phone calls are blowing up personal and business phone lines, and the problem is growing exponentially. Robo-dialed spam now makes up about half of all phone calls being made, wasting time, energy and money. Robo-blocking features, such as Spectrum Business Voice’s Call Guard, automatically block malicious robocalls and send caller ID alerts for other suspicious telemarketing calls.
The fact is that no employee—not even the boss—is 100% productive all of the time. With so many people now working from home, it’s more important than ever for managers to shift their mindset from process-based performance measures to results-oriented employee management, Foley says.
Robo-dialed spam now makes up about half of all phone calls being made.
“For people to be the most productive, they need the freedom to develop the work routines that work best for them,” she says. “When you focus on results, productivity improves, and the need to micromanage disappears.”
CALL TO ACTION:
Spectrum Business offers both high-speed internet and phone plans, along with Call Guard, to help you and your employees save time and maximize productivity. To learn more, call us at 855-299-9353.Print this article