10 Ways to Improve your Efficiency
No matter what type of industry you work in today, the landscape is crowded. In fact, it's overcrowded. Our competition is always sitting just around the corner, whether we are a physician's office, a health club or a retail establishment. The pressure to perform at the highest level has become the new norm, as corporate directives demand results and in many cases, a longer work week. So how do we as owners, managers, supervisors and front-line employees hope to keep up? One way to level the playing field a bit is by becoming better and more efficient at what we do, so let's examine 10 ways to improve your efficiency.
Have clearly defined goals
Goals are the roadmap on your journey. Without them, you will be wandering aimlessly in the land of underachievement. When realistic goals are set, you can then develop the steps required to fulfill them. Let's say for example, that you want to build a medical office building in a busy area of the city. You've purchased the tract of land, completed all your research, received your zoning permits and have commitments from interested health care practices looking for space. Now, a goal at this point would be to have the architectural designs for the building drawn up, but remember we're trying to improve our efficiency right?
Then this goal would need to be "clearly defined", and it's not. A clearly defined goal would be to interview three architectural firms that have years of experience in designing medical office buildings, have great references, can deliver the plans within the needed timetable at a price that is within the defined budget. Only when the goal is clearly defined can it improve efficiency on how the tasks to achieve it are managed. And remember to write them down. Goals left unwritten are just dreams.*
Communicate those goals effectively
On January first, three pharmaceutical sales reps are given a yearly quota of 200 sales each. The previous sales manager simply told the staff that he needed two hundred sales from each of them and sent them on their way, which is why he is called the "previous sales manager".
The efficient way to communicate this goal would be to lay out a concise roadmap that the sales staff can follow. If they can expect to close 10% of the prospects they talk to, then they need to be talking to 40 people per week in order to close 4 sales every week. You would then detail how you were going to provide leads for them to call on, hand out sales sheets for presentations and make them aware of any incentives they receive for hitting their quotas each week, month or year.
Measure the results
This is sometimes referred to as an annual review-when you go in and find out if you're getting a raise or losing your job. In an efficient organization, results are measured every step of the way and not just annually. Communication is an ongoing process and as results materialize, adjustments can be made in real time.
Without organization, there is wasted time and there is nothing efficient about wasted time. Know what tools you need to complete your tasks, know where those tools are and make sure those tools are in good working order. It doesn't matter if the tool is a lawnmower or a file folder, the rules are the same.
How many times have we cringed up when we suddenly realize we forgot to do something important? Post it notes, checklists, typing it into an online reminder or phone app. are all great ways to avoid forgetting that appointment or not making efficient use of your time. Remember that poor kid whose Mom pinned a note to his jacket and sent him to school?
Get people talking face to face
Interoffice email has been called one of the biggest wastes of time ever created.** Think about how many people become needlessly involved in an email string by contributing one small piece of information and then being forced to read dozens of emails that no longer involve them. This is not how an efficient organization operates. A walk down the hall to obtain a piece of information from a co-worker is much more efficient than having seven people swimming through an endless sea of emails instead of performing other tasks.
Sitting at your desk for too long has serious health risks. Get up and move around, stretch a bit. How many times have you been staring at your computer screen and then realized two hours went by? A recent study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine in September 2017 highlighted very serious health problems associated with sitting too long. Treadmills for the office anyone?
Computers and electronic devices have taken office efficiency and communication to new levels, but not all offices take advantage of the technological advances. Some are still immersed in the "this is the way we've always done it" mindset. If you can think it up, then there is probably a software program or app. for it. Staff brainstorming session today at 2:00
Working until 7:00 every night trying to get everything done isn't efficient. Distribute the tasks to some proven performers and watch them shine. Then go home when everyone else does.
Recognize and encourage your employees
Efficient managers will recognize and reward employees for their performance. It keeps the employee motivated and feeling like they are part of something. A quick word of encouragement goes a long way in demonstrating the value you place in that individual. They live for it, so give it to them
*Disclaimer: This article provides general information about medicine, health, and related subjects. The words and other content provided in this article, and in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice. If the reader or any other person has a medical concern, he or she should consult with an appropriately-licensed physician or other health care worker.
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