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Sanat Singha is a technical writer, an editor, a blogger and a web marketing consultant. Contact him at wsigmas@gmail.com

Most business owners out there want a way to improve efficiency in the office. But they’re not sure how to to do it; “improve efficiency” seems to become a vague, unachievable goal.

What you need to do is pay attention to the workflow in your office. Focus on employees, the things that slow down certain tasks, and the tasks you can eliminate altogether. Here’s a quick guide to making your workflow as streamlined as possible.

Pay attention to each employee

A lot of employers put very general rules in place in the office. But too strict or imposing a set of rules can make employees feel a little bit trapped. It’s not like you can put up a sign that says NO TALKING in bold, blood-red print. And it’s not like it’s a good idea to ban the occasional glimpse at a smartphone. What these kinds of rules do is show that you don’t trust any of your employees.

smartphone

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That’s why you need to monitor all of your employees as individuals. Sure, one of your design employees has been spotted on Facebook a couple of times. But their work output doesn’t seem affected. Whereas another employee might be more distracted by such activity. If an employee isn’t doing the best they can, talk to them in private about it. Make sure they know that there are loads of qualities about them you admire. You know that if they were to be a bit more strict with themselves that they could achieve a lot more.

Let others worry about certain matters

Let’s face it: there are times in your career where it’s better to just leave a particular task to someone else. But a lot of business owners seem to balk at the suggestion of outsourcing. They don’t like the idea of paying for a service that they feel should be done in-house anyway.

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Outsourcing doesn’t just cover issues you’re having with creative aspects of your work. If you don’t have the technical knowledge to deal with an IT problem, then the office workflow is going to be slowed down. Not only does it distract you from your own tasks, but it won’t be done as fast as it could be done! In these instances, the help of an IT company could definitely go a long way.

Look for roadblocks or slowdowns and eliminate them

Business owners tend to notice the really big things that block progress on a given project. They’ll notice, for example, when a computer has completely broken down, preventing an employee from doing any work. But there are a lot of little things in your average office that slows down progress. We tend to notice them for only a short period of time. Eventually, we silently find ways of working around them instead of tackling them.

Lost time

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The problem here, of course, is that little pieces of lost time add up to a lot of lost time. So the fact that an employee’s computer isn’t running as fast as it used to should be fixed asap. If it takes too long for employees to make coffee before returning to their desk, get a coffee machine.