Work Efficiency | 10 mins read

Everything You Need to Know About Work Efficiency

everything you need to know about work efficiency
Mary Kate Morrow

By Mary Kate Morrow

Introduction

Research and statistics reveal an unquestionable need for massive workplace reform. Innovative industry professionals must renovate business practices in order to gain a competitive edge, create a better working environment, and optimize work efficiency.

What Does it Mean to Be Efficient'?

Business professionals must understand the definition of workplace efficiency in order to properly analyze and implement efficiency improvements into existing business operations. Efficiency is defined as the system using the smallest amount of input to produce the highest amount of output. Working efficiently results in a higher produced volume from the same amount of resource input.

In the workplace setting efficiency usually describes the tasks and labor accomplished in a single workday by an individual employee. Tasks and work completed by a team or department are encompassed within the definition of workplace efficiency. In order for an employee to be quantified as efficient, they must work diligently and purposefully towards their task completion. Efficient employees typically-

  • Complete tasks based on priority
  • Break up projects into tasks, and tasks into subtasks
  • Take frequent, small breaks
  • Minimize distractions
  • Communicate purposefully
  • Delegate mindfully

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The Value of Working Efficiently

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The value of efficiency is reflected in a business's profits, success, and bottom line. Efficiency provides a wide array of benefits, including-

  • Optimal resource usage
  • Reduced waste
  • Cost reduction
  • Decreased errors
  • Improved productivity
An efficient employee is an invaluable resource to a business. An efficient employee can bring up the entire team and positively influence a business's bottom line. Business owners cannot put a price tag on efficiency, as it is reflected in every aspect of a business. For this reason, efficiency is a crucial priority that business professionals cannot afford to ignore.

Contrarily, inefficient employees drain businesses, effectively rotting them from the inside out. Inefficiency proliferates an unproductive work environment, brings down company culture, and depletes company resources.

There are many reasons an employee may be inefficient, such as-
  • Work is not challenging or stimulating
  • Interrupted or distracted too often
  • Lack of accountability or motivation
  • Given unclear instructions or deadlines
  • Procrastination

Efficiency and Effectiveness

While efficiency is essential, a successful business also requires effectiveness. Efficiency and effectiveness are symbiotic in nature, efficiency can only be functional if it is effective. Effectiveness is defined as production occurring with the least amount of resource waste possible. In the workplace setting, effectiveness would be the completion of tasks, projects, goals, or labor accomplished with the smallest possible volume of resource expenditure. Focal resources range from employee time to monetary cost.

Similar to efficiency, effectiveness contributes to all aspects of your business. While efficiency is crucial for your business's profits, effectiveness is essential for its growth. Proper allocation of resources, mindful delegation, and conscientious resource utilization are primary indicators of an efficiently-run business system.

Efficiency and Productivity

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Efficiency, effectiveness, and productivity are the trifecta of a successful business. All three principles correlate with one another and are impossible to adequately comprehend if any individual concept is ignored. We have previously defined efficiency as the system that uses the least amount of input to produce the largest amount of output. Productivity is defined as the process of being efficient, productivity is efficiency in practice. Whereas productivity quantifies chronological output, efficiency quantifies input versus output.

In the workplace setting, productivity is the process of ideally utilizing available resources to produce the largest possible amount of quality products or services. Focal resources range from labor to inventory. Depending on your specific industry type, product or service are classified as whatever produces business profits.

In many businesses, profit is earned with a combination of products and services. An example of a business earning both service and product profits is represented within the restaurant industry where service is provided by a range of staff members and your product is any foodstuffs served.

Online employee scheduling software that makes shift planning effortless.
Try it free for 14 days.

Tips & Tricks

With virtually endless potential varying resources, products, and services to consider, business owners will be relieved to learn that there are universal productivity tips available to kickstart their optimization process. Universally beneficial tips and tricks for industry professionals to consider include-

  1. Use time tracking software-
    Research demonstrates that only about 17% of people can actually correctly estimate time passage. Consider investing in and implementing time tracking software. Time tracking apps will log employee productivity and help to better understand how long tasks take to perform. Analyzing data will pinpoint pain points and allow for corrective attention to be undertaken
  2. Establish deadlines-
    Deadlines are crucial to productivity. Often the length of time spent on a specific task depends on how much time is allocated for its completion. Deadlines produce just enough stress to enhance productivity. Remember, only realistic deadlines are effective. Unrealistic deadlines will not promote motivation nor efficiency
  3. Prioritize tasks-
    Categorize to-dos list by task urgency. Prioritizing tasks and projects will keep employees organized, motivated, and accountable. Streamlining to-do lists will increase efficiency, productivity, and effectiveness
  4. Reconsider meetings-
    Research finds the average office employee spends over 31 hours a month attending unproductive meetings. If you can reiterate or negotiate with your team members via email format, phone conference or video conference, consider doing so as an alternative to formal meetings
  5. Consciously commute-
    Decrease unnecessary commutes by allowing employees to work from home whenever possible and appropriate. Business bottom line will benefit when prioritizing your most valuable business resource- your successful and satisfied employees. If you must commute, then use that time productively. If on public transportation, take advantage of the time to review your calendar or reply to emails. If driving, use the time to brainstorm projects or reevaluate contemporary business operations
  6. Consider biology-
    Ultradian rhythms consist of 120-minute biological intervals. The first 90 minutes contain mental energy peaks while in the remaining 30 minutes contain mental energy dips. To take full advantage of your ultradian rhythms, work in 90-minute intervals followed by resting for 30 minutes. You may find it challenging or unrealistic to work consecutively for 90 minutes. In fact, most people only stay focused for 20-25 minutes before their attention drifts. Try to work with your attention span instead of against it by using the Pomodoro technique. The Pomodoro technique designates 5 minutes of rest for every 25 minutes of work within 90-minute sprints
  7. Avoid perfectionism-
    Perfectionism does not equal productivity. Excessive reviews or revisions exhaust your most valuable resources- your energy and time. Producing good quality work within established deadlines is much more ideal than a marginally better product that is completed too late

Improving Employee Efficiency

Efficient, effective, and productive employees are a business's greatest asset. Remember, you hired your workers for them to increase your business's potential and profits. Your employees create a trickle-down effect that will inevitably reach your customers and clients. Ideal employees will likely provide better products, customer service, interactions, and experiences with your clientele.

An unideal employee can cost your company a fortune and hinder your business's overall success. Consider the psychology at play in an unhealthy work environment. When better-improving employees see their unmotivated counterparts being fiscally compensated the same way that they are, they will likely respond by decreasing their work ethic.

Your top-performing employees may feel that there is no point in putting in the extra effort if it makes no impact on their paycheck or position in the company. Failure to reward high performing staff members can demotivate your entire staff. This negativity proliferates rapidly and will quickly debilitate your business's bottom line.

In order to optimize your workforce, you must reward your well-performing employees. You should dedicate as much, if not more, energy and time to doing so than disciplining your under-performing employees. There is an added benefit for you as a business owner when engaging with your employees in a positive way, your business's overall work environment and bottom line improve. When your company can share and celebrate successes together, there is an effectively limitless space for growth and continued improvement.

How to Improve Employee Efficiency

Every business owner dreams of a world-class productive, efficient, and effective workforce. You would be ecstatic to have satisfied, self-motivated, and accountable employees that you can depend on without having to hyper monitor or micromanage.

An ideal workforce provides the ability for business owners to focus on what really matters- extending their enterprises and focusing on the tasks that only they can perform. Thankfully, there are many ways to improve employee efficiency, including-

  • Splitting up tasks mindfully
  • Understanding both the physical and mental capabilities of employees
  • Enlisting an accountability partner
  • Avoiding perfectionism

Improving Team Productivity

Industry leaders must dismantle and challenge widely-practiced workplace protocol and sociological norms in order to understand how best to improve work productivity. Productivity hacks, ranging from self-management to self-care exist in opposition to accepted contemporary industry standards. Business professionals can greatly benefit from reexamining their own unproductive, inefficient, or outdated biases. Research strongly reflects this conclusion-

  1. Between 1996 and 2000, employees calling in sick to work due to stress increased by over 300%
  2. 75% of employees report that they believe workers now have more on-the-job stress than one generation ago
  3. Only 34% of the United State's workforce feels engaged at their job
  4. Ironically, the more employees are micromanaged, the less productive they are.
    Remote workers-
  • Are more engaged and productive
  • Log more hours
  • Perform better
  • Take less sick days

    Perhaps you supervise your employees closely to divert them from using social media on the clock. Research on social media found that social media power users are more productive at work, more efficient multi-taskers, and overall much more satisfied and happy occupationally.

Going Digital

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Industry leaders can improve efficiency, effectiveness, and productivity by investing in and implementing software solutions ranging from time tracking software to communication apps. In fact, businesses that have implemented digital solutions have increased efficiency by 39%.

Additional benefits of going digital include-

  • Optimized productivity
  • Cost reduction
  • Expanded market opportunities
  • Improved customer satisfaction
  • Streamlined task and project completion
Project management software systems can remotely be accessed and updated by every member of your staff. Ensure all employees can efficiently utilize the project management software by providing proper training and encouraging your staff to reach out regarding any troubleshooting needs.

Conclusion

  • Disengaged employees cost $483 to $605 billion annually
  • Efficiency is the system that uses the smallest amount of input to produce the highest amount of output. In workplace, efficiency encompasses both the tasks and labor accomplished in a single workday by an individual employee and those completed by a team or department
  • Efficient employees bring up the whole team and positively influence a business's bottom line while contrarily, inefficient employees will bring down their business
  • Effectiveness is production occurring with the least amount possible of resource waste. In the workplace, effectiveness is the completion of tasks, projects, goals, or labor accomplished with the smallest volume of resource expenditure possible
  • Efficiency, effectiveness, and productivity make up the trifecta of a successful business
  • While productivity quantifies chronological output, efficiency quantifies input versus output. Productivity is efficiency in practice, the process of being efficient. In the workplace setting, productivity is the process of utilizing available resources most ideally in order to produce the largest possible quantity of quality products or services
  • Efficient, effective, and productive employees are a business's greatest and most invaluable asset
  • It is necessary for industry leaders to dismantle and challenge widely-practiced workplace protocol and sociological norms in order to improve work productivity

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