By Fazlin Fransman-Taliep
Despite the evidence indicating that teams work better when small – think Jeff Bezos’ two pizza rule – small numbers are not always a guarantee of efficiency. Take small businesses or start-ups for example.
Many have small teams, but because of limited resources (compared to their larger competitors), teams are often overwhelmed by the number of tasks they need to fulfill.
This is supported by the Anatomy of Work Index report by Asana which states that most employees spend 60% of their time on things related to work, but not actual work.
The same report further states that only 27% of an employee’s time is spent on skilled work – the things they were hired to do.
These statistics are shocking. However, in many instances it is not the fault of the employee, but rather a consequence of internal systems that distract, detract, duplicate and enforce busy work over real work.
This can often stem from unproductive meetings, miscommunication, too many emails, and not being aware what other members of the team are doing.
These issues can cause major productivity bottlenecks.
It is therefore important for you to remember, that to increase efficiency in your small team, you need to remove barriers to their productivity, introduce useful tools, and create a conducive work environment.
Below we have highlighted 5 ways in which you can create better efficiency in your small team:
- Eliminate unnecessary meetings
A plethora of meetings often give the illusion of productivity, when in many instances they put a halt to real productivity. Of course, not all meetings are unproductive.
However, when meetings are planned with no clear goal or agenda, they inevitably waste everyone’s time and often break momentum.
One of the first things you can do to create efficiency is to get rid of unnecessary meetings.
- Give team members ownership
When you give team members ownership, you are making them accountable, which induces a sense of responsibility with regards to their work.
For different team members, this will mean different things. This is why it is critical that you understand the strengths and weaknesses of each member of your team. When you have this understanding, you can entrust different team members based on their capabilities. You can create this environment by clearly defining their roles and stating your expectations.
One way to effectively manage your team is to utilize a project management tool.
These tools enable you to actualize this process, empowering each team member to update their progress, thus shifting accountability and ownership of tasks to them.
- Ensure proper Communication
Effective communication is key to being productive, effective and efficient. It will help your team understand their roles and assignments better.
It is therefore critical that you ensure your communication is:
- And includes critical feedback and praise
- Never overschedule
Resist the temptation to assign individuals too much work, without a buffer time between tasks.
This is critical because employee burnout according to the Indeed
Study is frighteningly high. Work-related burnout often results from long-term, unresolvable job stress.
When you take this into consideration, you can create a more conducive work environment.
Furthermore, an overtly full schedule leaves no room to deal with emergencies which inevitably arise in businesses.
- Create a conducive work environment
Work environment and infrastructure are essential to your team’s productivity. A recent study illustrates that physical environment affects an employee’s performance.
As such careful consideration needs to be given to the layout and designing of offices spaces to optimize productivity.
Furthermore, the work environment in the office is also critical to a team’s productivity, specifically as it relates to the company’s culture.
As the leader, you need to define the desired set of values and behaviors, and connect the company culture you want with accountability mechanism.
Simply put, lead from the front, and incentivize the behavior that contributes to the culture you want to create.
Team productivity is similar to making your favorite food. Some ingredients might need to be sautéed such as the onions.
Other ingredients, just need to be added at a given time.
Empowering your team to be productive, means understanding your teams’ strengths and weaknesses, and knowing how to manage each individual, will mean that the team will be more effective as a whole.
Empowering your team to be at their productive best requires a well-mixed recipe of different components.
Improving your team’s efficiency is a never-ending process. It requires small constant actions.
Fazlin Fransman-Taliep is the director at Kijami Media.