4 Ways Managers of Shift-Based Businesses Can Become More Efficient

Let’s face it. As a business owner or manager, you are frequently limited on time. Your responsibilities are numerous, the demands on your time seem never-ending and, at the end of the week, your patience is cut short.

In any given week, a sample list of tasks may include hiring and training new and existing employees, making and maintaining a schedule, dealing with customer and employee demands, taking care of the company’s finances, and the list goes on.

In many ways, you are expected to be a jack-of-all-trades. Amidst this whirlpool of activity, where do you find the time to rest, relax and recuperate? Or, if you are a work junkie, where do you find the time to focus on those activities which provide the highest ROI?

The bad news is that you can’t create more time, that’s simply impossible.

The good news is that there ARE ways to repurpose your time while increasing efficiency and productivity, and at the same time providing you with some much needed ‘me-time’ at the end of the week. Here are some tips to think about:

Delegate

Let your employees do some of the work for you, they’ll thank you for it!

As counter-intuitive as it may seem, delegating tasks to your employees actually leads to higher performance and greater employee satisfaction.

This is because delegating a task to someone demonstrates trust in them, which in turn boosts their self-confidence. Employees with greater levels of self-confidence (i.e. morale) have been shown to perform better overall than those with comparatively lower levels.

In addition, through delegation employees will experience a greater sense of involvement by taking on a task they are individually responsible for. Delegating is an easy way to empower your employees, and boost productivity.

Refine or replace existing processes

From time to time, it’s necessary to take a bird’s eye view of your own business and analyze what it is you actually do, and how you do it. So often we get caught up in the ways things are and have been for so long that we forget to think about what can or should be.

If you haven’t done this, chances are your business is lagging behind competitors.

To accomplish this, you must first make a complete inventory of your existing processes. Then, one by one, ask yourself the following questions about them:

  • For how long have I had this process?/How long have I done it this way?
  • How long is it taking me to accomplish my task?
  • What are the pros and cons of this process? What do I like and dislike about it?
  • What do my colleagues think about it?
  • Am I the only person who can perform this task? (See point #1)
  • How much is this costing me?
  • Is this the most efficient solution? Is there a way to make it more efficient?

If not, what other solutions exist?

After answering these questions, you may have to do some research on your own to find out which solutions exist and which ones are the most appropriate for you. Trust me, it’s worth it!

Schedule around priorities

As creatures possessing a brain that is based on complex risk/reward systems, it is natural that we gravitate towards smaller, easier tasks instead of larger, more complicated ones. Our brain rewards us whenever we accomplish certain goals, which spurs us on to accomplish more in the future.

This characteristic is not in itself negative; however, it can be if it means avoiding the bigger tasks for the smaller ones all the time.

Have you ever felt really good about yourself after having crossed out 25 things in your checklist, yet realized that none of the most important tasks were done?

Thankfully, one way to avoid falling in this trap is to schedule around priorities. This means scheduling the most important (and sometimes, difficult) tasks first, and working around them.

Interestingly, we can use our brain’s tendency to focus on smaller and easier tasks to our advantage here. Breaking down larger tasks into smaller ones is a brilliant way to do this. Not only will you be more productive, you’ll feel better doing it.

Use a workforce management tool

As a manager of a shift-based business, the time you spend communicating with your staff and associates is most likely high.

On any given week, you may receive anywhere from hundreds to thousands of messages having to do with workplace conflicts, employee concerns, employee time off requests and changes in availability, customer concerns and more. The demand for your time is high.

What’s more, is that you’re expected to keep track of all of these requests, make necessary changes and communicate them to your team effectively. Unless you’re the most gifted multi-tasker in the world, you are probably using some technology to facilitate your day-to-day tasks.

Perhaps you are communicating through some sort of chat platform like Slack or Facebook Messenger or simply by phone, perhaps you are scheduling using some sort of spreadsheet or basic scheduling platform.

Whatever the case, using a workforce management tool like WorkAxle will save you time, and money.

 

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