No matter what industry you are in, chances are the last few years have found you doing more with less. Fewer employees, fewer resources, and less training are all hallmarks of companies trying to survive when the economy is less than ideal. Even though these types of cutbacks demand that you improve efficiency, it can often be an efficiency that suffers the most.
Efficiency is not just about accomplishing tasks as quickly as possible. Efficiency is about getting things done well without a lot of wasted time waiting for someone else or struggling with technology. In fact, the right technology choices can improve efficiency throughout your business, and not only because it should function better than older systems.
Communication is Critical
If your ultimate goal is efficiency, communication is critical. No company operates solely under the power of one person, and more sophisticated projects can require large teams to fill a huge range of functions. Being able to communicate with all project team members and stakeholders is an essential piece of the efficiency puzzle.
One recent McKinsey Global Institute study found that employees who are engaged with one another, including communicating with one another, were 20 to 25% more productive than employees who did not feel adequately connected to their co-workers. To take full advantage of this potential for improved efficiency, it is important for a company to incentivize good communication and be sure that the company has the infrastructure to support consistent communication.
Collaboration Fosters Creativity and Efficacy
Another critical piece contributing to efficiency is collaboration. Regular collaboration, beyond a meeting, is the best way to dig out the most creative solutions to project issues and to improve overall team communication standards. Meetings can certainly be a part of this, but so can other company communication channels, including phone calls and instant messaging.
Legacy Systems Can Hold You Back
In a connected world where workers increasingly spend time away from their desks and out of the office, adequate communication and collaboration can be all but impossible without the right hardware support. Waiting for responses to emails, dealing with complex voicemail systems, and dragging on meetings for too long because you do not know when you will speak to the team again can all be a major drain on productivity.
Luckily, a range of technology options exists to help teams better communicate and collaborate. For example, unified communication systems that allow employees to take calls on their mobile phone exactly as they would in the office makes remote employees better integrated into the entire team and therefore better able to contribute their skills to complex projects. Interoffice communication systems that offer instant messaging, simple dialing features and easy-to-use collaboration tools can also be extremely helpful in fostering that connection that employees need to maximize their productivity.
Optimizing efficiency should always be a goal of a successful leader. When a team is efficient, they can not only finish projects faster but can do so with a better sense of accomplishment and with a more positive regard for their team and for the company. Spending the time to figure out how communication tools can work in your favor to improve project efficiency can have a significant impact on your overall business goals.