Do you ever wonder how much time your employees spend working? And no, the answer isn’t eight hours a day. As it turns out, the average employee works less than three hours each day.
Most people spend their work hours surfing the web or making chit-chat. Considering this aspect, it’s not surprising that organizations worldwide are switching to four or six-hour workdays.
Unfortunately, small businesses cannot afford such experiments. What you can do instead is to focus on improving workflow management.
But what exactly is workflow management? Most importantly, how does it influence employee productivity and performance? Let’s find out!
Why Workflow Management Is Essential to Business Growth
Workflow management can mean different things, depending on the context.
In today’s digital age, this process involves optimizing business operations through automation. For example, companies may use workflow management software to automate time-consuming tasks.
This term also describes the tools that organizations can use to optimize teamwork and communications. The end goal is to reduce or eliminate errors, improve turnaround times, and increase efficiency.
Amazon, for instance, spent $775 million on mobile robots in 2012. These advanced machines could read bar codes and carry heavy items from one worker to another. Today, the tech giant has over 200,000 warehouse robots that help employees get more done in less time.
Companies leverage automation to cut costs, increase workplace safety, and reduce manual tasks. Workflow management also allows businesses to identify gaps and redundancies. On top of that, it can improve communication across teams and departments.
As a small- or medium-sized business, you may not have the budget to invest in the latest technology. However, there are other things you can do to streamline everyday tasks.
Not sure where to start? Take the steps to power up your productivity and workflow efficiency!
Analyze and Document Your Current Workflows
A 2017 study found that office workers spend over 550 hours a year completing repetitive tasks. This problem results in annual revenue losses of more than $5 trillion.
Low productivity is even more damaging for small businesses. Imagine all the things you could do simply by eliminating redundant manual tasks! You could work on new projects, develop new products, and expand your services.
Analyze your current workflows so you can identify and automate repetitive tasks. Ask each team or department to draft a flowchart of their daily activities. Next, try to determine which ones are repetitive, redundant, or prone to error.
List down and categorize your business tasks and process. Create a mind map or a diagram and then pinpoint areas for improvement. Describe the activities, labor, and equipment required for each operation.
This information will allow you to break down existing processes into smaller, more manageable steps. At the same time, it can make it easier to identify gaps and flaws.
For example, you could ask your employees what part of their work poses the greatest challenges. There might be some unnecessary steps that they could automate or eliminate. Consider reaching out to a business services company like Razor Group to guide you in this process.
Draft a Future State Map
Use these insights to create a future state map. This document will illustrate the end goal of the improvement process and serve as a blueprint for business initiatives.
Review the map with your partners and other decision-makers to ensure it’s feasible and accurate. Try to identify any tasks that can be eliminated or combined with others for a more efficient workflow. Repeat this process every few months to further improve your business processes.
Rank each activity or process based on its importance. Allocate resources to the areas that matter most. This step will not only increase employee productivity but also help you achieve the best outcome for every operation.
Automate Your Workflow
Next, seek ways to automate your workflows and meet the objectives outlined on the future state map. Since there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, you need to consider your industry and type of business. Take into account your budget and long-term business goals, too.
A good starting point is to use workflow management tools.
Asana, for instance, allows teams to share files, brainstorm ideas, and exchange messages from one central location. This makes it ideal for remote workers and digital companies.
Users can plan entire projects, set milestones, and streamline work requests. Moreover, they can automate routine tasks and use ready-made templates for projects and processes. You can even connect Asana with Slack, Microsoft Outlook, Gmail, Salesforce, and other apps.
Nintex, another workflow automation solution, enables users to manage and improve their workflows. Fintech startups, for instance, can use it to automate policies, investments, and customer accounts. Manufacturing companies can automate critical operations, such as procurement processes and supplier onboarding.
With Nintex, you can plan and map your business processes so you can identify those that are best suited for automation. Its key features include:
- Generate forms and documents automatically
- Enable e-signatures
- Analyze and improve workflows
- Streamline help desk support
- Simplify employee onboarding
- Automate CRM data processing
- Digitize inspections processes
This workflow management system offers custom solutions for organizations across all industries. Plus, it’s suitable for both everyday tasks and complex processes.
Depending on your needs, you may also use Zapier, ProWorkflow, Gravity Flow, and other workflow automation tools. Some appeal to small businesses, while others can accommodate the needs of corporations.
Take Your Productivity to the Next Level
Workflow management drives business growth and success. This process not only increases work productivity but also keeps your team organized and engaged. In the long run, it may improve your company’s bottom line and reduce unnecessary expenses.
Remember, you don’t have to do everything at once. Analyze your existing process and then make one change at a time. Make sure you also browse the rest of our blog for other tips on how to grow your business and stay productive!