With everyone pressed to work smarter, not harder, are you making the best use of available work resources? It is common for businesses and organizations to establish work routines and scheduling arrangements over time. Such routines can be the result of shared agreements ("we hold our staff meetings at 10:00 am") or the outcome of lessons learned in difficult situations ("we make sure someone is always available to answer the phone"). In other cases, work habits exist simply because no one has ever given the matter much thought. Whether you work as part of a team or for yourself, it can be helpful to identify work approaches that may be consuming more time and energy than necessary. Here are a few common mindsets that can stand in the way of optimal productivity and may also affect customer satisfaction with your business:
"Only I can do this"
People working with this mindset frequently feel angry about their larger-than-average workload, yet are unwilling to let go of tasks or responsibilities. While special skills should of course be applied to expert tasks, other assignments can easily be delegated or outsourced. The results may look different, but sharing the workload more evenly saves time and also empowers other team members. In addition, it ensures that important decisions are not lingering in someone's inbox and holding up the workflow.
"I've always done it that way"
This attitude can be particularly pernicious if 'always' refers to several decades. Yes, we used to fax contracts to customers, but that's no longer necessary. We also no longer need phone books and paper printouts of every document. Clinging to outdated technology and refusing to give new approaches the benefit of the doubt wastes time and fails to take advantage of modern productivity gains. The use of obsolete tools may also delay work results and keep others waiting–with negative impacts on the customer experience.
"Crisis - let me help!"
A prompt response to critical situations such as customer complaints, rush requests, or inquiries from key accounts makes sense, but dropping everything you are doing for the 'crisis of the day' does not. Employees with a helper mindset will kindly offer their assistance even if they don't have the necessary time or expertise to jump in. The quality of their own work may suffer as a consequence of too many disruptions.
Although your customers can't see everything that's going on behind the scenes, they won't be shy to share their impressions of customer service and responsiveness. As expectations for response times rise, it becomes imperative to address all factors that cause internal time waste and delay.
What are your best tips for addressing work habits that consume too much time?
I look forward to hearing from you!