Do These 7 Things To Improve Employee Efficiency At Work

There are 7 employee-friendly ways to get work done, improve efficiency, all without affecting culture or employee churn. Read how.
Explore Calculator
8 minute read
February 1, 2024

Early stage startups should move exceedingly fast and yet, they don’t.

Startups only have one competitive edge against the bigger companies they try to disrupt and that is their speed.

Because startups are small, they can react to market volatility and new conditions almost immediately. They are small, extremely aligned, and highly efficient at building truly disruptive products.

So why isn’t your startup shipping fast? Why does your work feel like pencil pushing and hopping on one pointless call after the other?

You have the right team. You have the right resources. You have the right idea. You have clearly identified an opening in the market. What’s the big missing piece of the puzzle?

What if we told you that small things are killing your startup’s speed?

The problem might not be big, glaring issues, but rather a collection of small inefficiencies. These little things, easy to overlook, can accumulate and significantly slow down your progress. They chip away at productivity and erode your company culture. It's these small inefficiencies we often ignore, yet they hold back the potential of your team. Addressing them isn't just about quick fixes; it's about creating a smoother, more efficient workflow that propels your startup forward.

Can You Increase Employee Efficiency? Yes, Through Empowerment

Increasing productivity is not about watching their every move or constantly pushing them. It's about trust. You've chosen these people for a reason, so let them show you what they can do.

  • Forget Time Tracking: Watching the clock doesn't make people work better.
  • Make Meetings Meaningful: Cut out pointless meetings. If it's not helping, it's hurting.
  • Play to Strengths: Everyone's good at something. Let your team use what they're best at.
  • Self-Management: Help them set achievable goals and let them go at it. Constant check-ins can slow things down.
  • Smooth Start: Get new people up to speed well. Good beginnings lead to great work.

In short, empower your team. Let them use their skills, and you'll see the productivity you're looking for.

7 things to increase employee productivity

Implement a Feedback System

A good feedback system is like having a direct line to the heart of your team's workflow. It's not just about asking "Are you doing okay?" It's about diving deeper into their day-to-day tasks and experiences.

For example, you might discover that your team spends hours each week compiling reports that no one really reads. This is a classic case of effort without impact. By identifying this through feedback, you can streamline the process, maybe shift to a bi-weekly report, or even find a tool that automates most of the work.

The goal here is to turn feedback into a tool for real change. It's about creating a loop where feedback leads to action, which in turn inspires more honest feedback. This cycle not only uncovers hidden inefficiencies but also builds a culture of trust and continuous improvement. Remember, effective feedback isn't a one-way street. It's a dialogue, a two-way conversation that's always open and always productive.

Streamline project management

Project management can often become a chaotic web of ad-hoc tasks, leading to stress and subpar work. The key to efficiency? Clarity and focus.

Ask yourself: does every team member know exactly what's expected of them, by when, and how to achieve it? Without this clarity, you're just treading water. Great project management isn't about rigid structures or endless meetings; it's about providing clear direction and then stepping back to let your team do what they do best.

Here's where many startups falter. Instead of structured project management, they adopt a more spontaneous approach. While flexibility is a startup's strength, too much of it can lead to confusion and inefficiency. Your team shouldn't be left guessing what their priorities are or how to tackle them.

Focus time is precious. When your team members have a clear understanding of their tasks and the time to immerse themselves in these tasks, that's when the magic happens. They produce their best work not when they're scrambling to keep up with ad-hoc demands, but when they're fully engaged in well-defined, meaningful tasks.

The solution? Centralization.

It's essential to have a single, clear platform for project management. This means all tasks, deadlines, and expectations are in one place, visible and accessible to everyone.

Centralizing project management in one tool brings a world of difference. It clears the fog, so to speak. Everyone knows where to look for their tasks, updates, and timelines. It eliminates the chaos of juggling multiple platforms or the confusion of ad-hoc tasks. With this clarity, your team can focus on what they do best: diving deep into their work with full concentration and creativity.

By choosing one tool for all your project management needs, you streamline communication, ensure consistency in workflow, and significantly reduce the stress of keeping track of multiple channels. This isn’t just about organization; it’s about creating an environment where your team can thrive and produce their best work.

Cut down meetings and focus work by helping them audit their calendar

It's easy to let meetings eat into the time needed for focused, deep work. But how do you find the right balance? A good starting point is analyzing how your team's time is distributed between meetings and actual work. Tools like Google Calendar can be instrumental in providing insights into this balance.

A healthy work environment is one where employees spend more than half of their time in focused work. This level of focus is achieved when there's clear alignment on objectives and minimal blockers impeding progress.

To foster this, scrutinize your meeting schedule. Are all those meetings necessary? Could some be emails or quick check-ins instead? It's about creating a culture where meetings are purposeful and efficient, freeing up more time for your team to engage deeply in their tasks.

Keep recurring meetings to a minimum

Recurring meetings drastically reduce work efficiency. They often become a routine, sometimes without adding substantial value. It's essential to periodically assess the necessity and productivity of these meetings. Consider each recurring meeting on your calendar: What is its purpose? Is this purpose being fulfilled each time you meet? Could the same objectives be achieved through a different, more efficient medium like a shared document or a quick group chat? Is it being held beyond work hours?

Encouraging your team to critically evaluate the need for each meeting can lead to a significant reduction in unnecessary gatherings. This not only frees up time but also enhances the value of the meetings that do take place, ensuring they are focused and productive.

Make them self sufficient so they don’t waste time asking questions

No quick question is actually a quick question.

Think about it. Every time you have a question, you spend 5 minutes trying to find the answer yourself by googling and searching through docs in your Google Drive and Slack. Then, you finally give up and ask a colleague. And then, you have to wait another hour for them to respond.

Every quick question slows teams down.

And, they’re costly. If you’d like to know exactly how much time you’re wasting per question, go to our questions calculator here.

A comprehensive knowledge base like Slite can help your team with time management. By centralizing resources, Slite reduces the need for repetitive queries and meetings, allowing team members to find information independently.

Here’s the key: a knowledge base should be more than just a repository; it should be an interactive, evolving tool. With Slite's AI-powered search and integration with tools like Google Docs and Slack, information becomes fluid and accessible. It's about creating a dynamic ecosystem where information is continually updated, easily searchable, and readily available. This approach not only saves time but also fosters a culture of self-reliance and efficiency.

The effectiveness of a knowledge base like Slite lies in its user-friendly design and advanced features. It’s not just a static database; it’s an active, integral part of your team’s workflow.

Be empathetic to your team. They have a life beyond work, and they deserve downtime

Regular one-on-one check-ins go beyond mere updates; they're about understanding each individual's challenges and well-being. It's about creating a space where team members feel valued and heard.

A generous leave policy and providing mental health support, like counseling through services such as Oliva, are not just perks; they are essential aspects of a healthy work environment. When people know their well-being is a priority, it not only boosts morale but also productivity. They tend to bring their best selves to work when they feel supported both professionally and personally. If you’re taking of their work life balance, your team will become cheerleaders for your company culture.

Empathy in the workplace isn't just about being kind; it's a strategic approach to building a resilient, efficient, and dedicated team.

Set clear goals to crush employee performance

Clear goals are the beacon that guides your team through the complexities of their workday. They provide a roadmap, outlining what success looks like and how to get there. When goals are well-defined, your team members aren’t just working; they're working towards something meaningful. This clarity boosts motivation, drives focus, and sparks creativity.

How to Set Effective Goals:

  1. Be Specific: Ambiguity is the enemy of progress. Set goals that are detailed and unambiguous. Whether it's increasing sales by 10% or launching a new product feature by Q3, specificity gives your team a concrete target to aim for.
  2. Make Them Achievable: Goals should be challenging yet attainable. Overly ambitious goals can be demoralizing, while too easy ones won’t push your team to stretch their capabilities. Find the sweet spot where goals are exciting and realistic.
  3. Align Them with Your Vision: Each goal should be a stepping stone towards your broader company objectives. This alignment ensures that every effort contributes to the big picture, fostering a sense of purpose and unity among your team.
  4. Involve Your Team: Involving team members in the goal-setting process encourages buy-in and commitment. It's an opportunity for them to contribute their insights and feel valued.
  5. Track and Celebrate Progress: Regularly review metrics, goals, and track their progress. Celebrating small wins along the way keeps morale high and momentum strong.
  6. Put incentives in place: A lot of people are willing to go above and beyond, if they’re compensated properly. If you want to increase efficiency in remote work, you need to set smart incentives.

Conclusion - Be anti-micromanagement. The more autonomy your team has, the more they’ll thrive

Remember it's about more than just processes and tools. It's about creating a culture where each individual feels valued, understood, and empowered. By integrating thoughtful feedback systems, streamlined project management, and efficient tools like Slite, we pave the way for productivity. But the true heartbeat of this efficiency is empathy and genuine care for each other’s well-being. This approach doesn't just build a more efficient team; it builds a more human, connected, and ultimately successful startup. Here's to cultivating workplaces where efficiency and empathy go hand in hand, fueling not just our businesses, but also the spirits of those who drive them.

Written by

Ishaan Gupta is a writer at Slite. He doom scrolls for research and geeks out on all things creativity. Send him nice Substack articles to be on his good side.