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How to improve business productivity: 3 key areas to optimize


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  • Business productivity is complex, but there are ways to overhaul it and improve profitability.
  • Focus on three main areas: Workflow, employee well-being, and office environment to improve productivity.
  • Embrace the future and consider cloud communications as you transition to remote and flexible work options. 

“Working hard, or hardly working?”

Odds are you’ve heard this from the office busybody. 

Personal productivity tips are all over the place. How to have a productive morning, productivity tips and tricks—your social media feeds are jammed with posts, tweets, and TikToks promoting the next big productivity life hack.

But where are all the life hacks to help you master business productivity? You know, so you can work hard, instead of hardly working?

In this article, we’ll cover how to overhaul your workflow (with help from RingCentral) to improve your business productivity.

Today, we’ll cover:

👀 Did you know 1 in 4 businesses have seen a decrease in productivity over the last few months? Learn more in our State of Hybrid Work report.

State of Hybrid Work: Full report


What is business productivity?

To put it plainly, business productivity is the measure of how efficiently your business meets its goals.

Remember that 90s song “You Only Get What You Give”? Productivity follows the same principle, and business productivity is no exception.

The effort you put into your work corresponds with the quality and quantity of the finished product. 

If you’ve noticed lately that productivity metrics are off, it’s time to improve your work processes where you can. 

3 focus areas for improving productivity

There are three areas of your office to focus on to improve business productivity:

  1. Workflow processes
  2. Employee wellbeing
  3. Office environment

To start, do a quick audit of these focus areas. 

Make a checklist for yourself of problems to review. This will be your starting point. Now, let’s look at each of these three areas and how to optimize them. 

Workflow processes

How does your team work to achieve an end product? Do they focus on one thing at a time? Or are they multitasking? Take a day or two to examine the ins and outs of how your team works and why they do it that way. 

Use the right tools for the job

You wouldn’t use a single hammer to build a house—you’d use a nail gun. So if you’re still using snail mail and a plain old telephone service (no, seriously, that’s what it’s called), stop it. 

Invest in work-from-anywhere technology with RingCentral. Our business phone system sets you up (in the time it takes to eat lunch) with calls, messages, and video meetings all in one app you can use on any device, wherever you are. 

Small businesses that switched to a unified communications (UC) service experienced a 52% increase in productivity. An all-in-one business phone system will streamline the amount of time it takes your team to do the everyday tasks they’re already doing. As they say, work smarter, not harder. 

When meetings could be emails, texts, a phone call…

No matter where you work—the office, at home, your local coffee shop, you’ve thought to yourself, “this meeting could have been an email.” 

Meeting times have increased from 10 hours a week in the 1960s to roughly 23 hours in 2020. And workers feel the strain. 

Meetings are essential, and they have their purpose, but see where you can replace an in-person meeting with a video conference, a team chat, or an email. 

RingCentral’s HD audio and video conferencing is a great alternative to in-person meetings and a necessity for employees working remotely. With one click, you can turn a group chat into a video meeting and vice versa.

If you’re going to have a meeting, make it productive. RingCentral lets you easily share meeting recaps with your team. Integrate apps like Slack, Trello, and Microsoft OneNote, and take advantage of screen sharing and annotation for real-time teamwork.  

RingCentral Customer Success Survey Metrics
How to run an effective meeting: A complete guide

At (work) capacity

Identify where workloads in your office are at capacity. Getting things done is the idea, but you can only do so much in one workday. 

Look for tasks you can automate. With RingCentral, you can set up an automated answering service to greet callers and send them to the correct department, extension, or voicemail inbox

The virtual receptionist will take on some of your employees’ workload. That means less time re-routing misplaced calls and more time focusing on important tasks. 

Employee wellbeing

According to a Gallup study of more than 100,000 businesses, those with a higher rate of employee engagement also see a higher productivity rate. 

Since 2019, and largely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, employee engagement has dropped, as seen in the chart above. By improving your employee engagement numbers, you can improve your productivity.  

Healthy, wealthy, and wise

One way to increase productivity in a business environment is to encourage employees to take care of their physical and mental health. Make sure your employees know it’s okay to use their sick time, and make sure you practice the same. 

The same goes for mental health. When you do your employee well-being audit, make sure there are mental health resources available. If your team is mostly remote, consider gifting them unlimited access to a mental health app like Headspace or offer to host weekly one-on-one mental health check-ins via video conference. 

Take a break

Regular breaks during the workday are essential to workplace productivity. Customize your break times with a Pomodoro timer. For example, set the timer to work for 90 minutes and then take a 15-minute break. 

Encourage lunch breaks so team members have a chance to refresh, even if they’re working on the go. Set up a lunchtime walking club or create a quiet space where employees can meditate during their break. Regular, restorative breaks will increase productivity levels and boost employee engagement. 

Office environment

Where you work is just as important as how you work. Take a walk around your office or ask your employees to look over their workspace. Getting work done is easier when your work environment is working for you, not against you.

Invest in ergonomics

Notifications and procrastination can interrupt your production process, but so can an uncomfortable desk chair. 

Send out a brief checklist with a how-to for employees to double-check their workspace ergonomics. For example, your computer screen should be at or just below eye level. This is the perfect height for video conferencing, whether you’re in gallery view or an active speaker layout.

Create a distraction-free zone

Distractions come in all shapes and sizes. They’re anything internal or external that distract you from work. Prioritizing health and well-being will address internal distractions. 

External distractions, like background noise, emails, social media, and notifications, will eat into your time management plans. Know how these distractions affect your team so you can enact measures to reduce them. 

If your business doesn’t offer remote or flexible work options already, consider transitioning in the future. 64% of business leaders said flexible work options had a positive impact on productivity. RingCentral makes managing a remote team easy. Manage your team, customize call flows, and track system activity in one analytics portal:

ringcentral analytics

Business productivity: The key is to keep at it

To achieve business productivity success, you have to stick with it. Once you identify what you need to fix, you can carry out changes and see what works. 

Set up a time, maybe once a quarter, to audit productivity. Stay on top of your productivity to keep working hard, instead of hardly working.

Originally published Aug 19, 2021

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