Are you overwhelming employees? Keeping things simple is key

Joe Svetlik

Tuesday 30 August 2016

Chances are, you’re not getting the most from your workforce. Streamline your business, and you can make your employees more productive and less busy at the same time.

A busy workforce is not always a productive one. Indeed, many employees complain that the two ideas are mutually exclusive: often they’re too busy with admin and menial tasks to actually do the main part of their jobs.

According to Deloitte’s 2015 Global Human Capital Trends survey, 74 per cent of respondents said their work environment was complex or highly complex. The culprits? The always-on nature of technology, increased administrative and compliance demands and overly complex business processes.

So how do you make sure you’re not overwhelming your employees?

Getting rid of the chaff

Decluttering is the order of the day, whether it’s junking pointless emails and meetings, or reducing the amount of admin each person has to do.

Different firms take different approaches. Coca-Cola recently shut down voicemail in order to streamline its working practices, while Google has published a nine rules for email document to stop employees wasting time. Other companies – such as Futurology institute The Future Is Here – go a step further, with staff only checking email at lunchtime and at the end of the day. After all, if it’s urgent, they can always pick up the phone.

Simplify or die

This isn’t simply to create a more relaxed working environment – it could be vital if a company is to thrive in the face of ever-more focused competition. Startups are disrupting many industries not only because of their innovative approaches, but because they’re more nimble and quicker to react than hulking great organisations.

Crucially, they’re also very good at keeping the customer experience at the heart of their business model.

If you don’t find a way for your employees to focus on what it is they’re employed to do – and hence serve your customers better – you could find yourself falling behind the competition.

How to simplify

Make simplification a priority and talk to employees about how they spend their time. Find a way to cut down on the number of meetings and conference calls. If they’re essential, hold them standing up to stop them dragging on and only invite people who have to be there.

Investing in the right technology can also help simplify your business. The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet can be used as a laptop, a tablet and even a projector. It’s all your devices in one. And because it does all these jobs, there’s no need to switch between devices, eliminating the risk of not having the right document at hand. It’s a simpler, but more effective, approach to working.

For more articles concerning the office of the future – and other topics including connecting a remote workforce and streamlining work processes – check out our ebook series, Office 2020: What 21st-century organisations need to know.

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