Are your staff walking around looking dazed and confused, more than usual that is?
Maybe you have caught a few hitting their heads against their desks. Look, they may be into that, and if so, just back away quietly and slowly.
If not, it may be time to look at your internal workflows with a view to improving efficiency, lessening frustration and distraction, not to mention medical expenses.
What Is Workflow?
In simple terms, a workflow is a set of tasks grouped within a process. Those tasks are required to be done in order to serve a purpose, mostly to accomplish a goal. Therefore, the flow to the end needs to be smooth, or as smooth as humanly possible. Humanly possible? Now there’s potential for a cop out, right there. Relying on human beings is risky, yes, but without a decent workflow practice, we at times would never get out of our own way. Sorry, sometimes the truth stings a little.
Map It Out
Get into the habit of mapping out individual processes. Yes, it can be arduous and seemingly counter-productive but the beginnings are most important. What you are doing is creating a strong foundation for every step in the workflow to, well, flow.
Speaking of mapping, personnel does enter the equation as well.
Different employees have differing strengths and weaknesses. Some prefer autonomy while others crave collaboration. If you think about it, an effective workflow should work with strengths and weaknesses so ensure tasks are not in the hands of potential procrastinators, or in the case of the opposite, those who cut corners for the sake of reaching the finish line first.
Look at the time it takes to accomplish each task. Time management is actually very measurable.
Here’s one idea you may use. If a task within a process takes under two minutes to do, then do it. If it doesn’t, leave it.
Are your people doing tasks a certain way simply because it’s always been done that way? Many organizations waste so much time doing tasks they shouldn’t even be doing at all. Maybe manually done reports can now be handled by newer software. Review, prioritize and delegate. Your workflow will thank you. So will your staff.
Change, like death and taxes is inevitable and it’s certainly none truer than in the business world.
In order to keep your workflow momentum, there is a need to be mindful and mitigate issues by making sure your workflows are capable of changing, should the unforeseen happen.
The changes need not be anything catastrophic. They can simply be a change of leader or certain employee. If a key person resigns suddenly, an adaptable workflow will not render everyone shaking in the corner in the fetal position.
Something’s Got To Give
Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security. Just when you thought it was safe, even the best workflows can begin to show cracks under pressure. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Something will go forward if it is pushed, but be aware that it may push back.
As an example, there are at times in any business when staff increases are put on the back burner, for month’s even years. Still, the work needs to get done, and we may need to look to our processes to ensure projects and their accompanying demands don’t go astray. Keeping workflows off the street, and out of the pool halls is not as easy as we might have thought, is it? Just stay on course. This too shall pass. Getting your staff from point A to B with little or no stress by following some simple steps. Change them up and have your own rules, but be mindful of the simple fact that successful workflow practices can change the way your business runs. This alone can help with customer satisfaction, helps get results quicker, and prevents important processes from getting bogged down, or even disregarded.
Granted, it’s not easy at times, but easy is non-productive and boring. Review your workflows today, and soon you will be on the path to least resistance.