You can have a well-qualified, experienced team of contractors or staff, but without team efficiency, everyone will be wasting a lot of time and not getting much done. Productivity is the key to the success of your business, and the more high-impact work your team is doing, the faster your business will reap the benefits. There are many barriers to achieving team efficiency, such as miscommunication, disorganization, and unclear goals. But by taking proper advantage of available software tools and adopting more effective management practices, you can start to improve your teams’ efficiency at work.
But what does great team efficiency actually look like? It all starts with using services available to you to source a quality team, and then the work begins. In this article, we will explore the importance of team efficiency, especially in today’s day and age. Plus, we will provide you with insight on how to build an efficient team that supports the success and growth of your business.
Productivity: then and now
What does productivity mean to you? Do you feel like as long as you’re busy, that automatically means you’re productive? Does it mean getting through your entire task list for the day? Or does it mean using automation tools to reduce your manual workload?
Well, if you asked people in the industrial age about how to be productive, their answers would be a lot different from ours today. Productivity, at its essence, is the concept of production or producing things. It’s getting things done, whether by producing food crops, machinery, or providing a service.
Back in the day, meeting production quotas or filling your appointment slots was enough. And that meant you were being productive. Writing down a to-do list was a new concept, as was the idea of switching out some manual labor to use machinery instead. But the old mainstream idea of productivity needs an update.
Business owners are now more aware that if they want their brands to experience real growth, then they need to find ways to produce more by doing less. And that is how productivity has now become a business in itself! There are endless apps and software tools available specifically to address problems that business owners have when it comes to productivity. And the industry is growing every day. This article alone features 52 different to-do list apps! Yes, that’s apps just for making to-do lists.
What does the future look like for productivity? With artificial intelligence, smart apps, and digital tools continuing to develop, the sky is the limit. But no matter how technology changes, the core will always be team efficiency.
What is team efficiency?
Team efficiency looks at how all of our business tasks are being executed by our team. How much time is it taking to complete tasks, and how many human resources are we currently using to do so? Whether you have a team of 3 people or a team of 100, the goal should be to create the most significant amount of output, with the least amount of input. That is what efficiency is. The more efficient your team is, the more work they can take on. And the more work they can take on, the more your business will continue to grow.
The key to team efficiency is to ensure that your team is focused on high-impact work and that tedious and menial tasks are automated when possible. It’s eliminating distractions and determining where your team is currently spending time that they don’t need to be, i.e., unnecessary or overly lengthy meetings. Take the time to identify all the areas of your business that are operating inefficiently, and then you can start working on optimization.
Why does team efficiency matter today?
The world of work looks a lot different today than it did even 20 years ago. The basic structure of a 9-5 job, with an entire team working out of the same office, is quickly becoming outdated. Almost every business has contractors, freelancers, or employees who work remotely, and they may live on the other side of the world. Team efficiency can be harder to achieve in remote work environments because effective collaboration is often lacking. But it doesn’t have to be.
Remote work technology has been advancing exponentially, especially since the pandemic. There are many amazing tools that enable remote teams to collaborate and work together, regardless of their location, and it’s imperative you take advantage of that. There is no way your team can work efficiently if management is lacking and everyone isn’t held accountable for their deliverables. When people work remotely, you can’t necessarily monitor what they are working on, so how do you know they are working efficiently. With inevitable distractions at home, such as television, pets, kids, and the internet, it can be a challenge to ensure that your team is pulling their weight when there is no manager physically there to check in on them.
Luckily, there is no shortage of tools and software available that can help you track your teams’ productivity and see how much time they are spending on each task, like Tmetric or Toggl. Maintaining a team mentality and good workplace culture is one of the best ways to keep your team motivated. So don’t disregard the importance of collaboration, video meetings, and frequent check-ins.
Team efficiency vs. team effectiveness
Team efficiency can make a dramatic impact on the productivity of your business. But if you’re only focusing on efficiency, you could be missing out on something equally as important: team effectiveness. Even if your team is maximizing the time they have, that doesn’t mean their results will be good. They might be getting more done, but how’s the quality?
So, let’s look at team efficiency vs. team effectiveness, the differences between the two, and why they are both important.
Efficiency is the measurement of the effort and time gone into different tasks and projects, while effectiveness measures the quality and success of the end result. You can have one without the other. For example, your team can be inefficient but still produce effective work. For example, maybe they are running an ad campaign that took forever to set up but has delivered amazing returns. The campaign was effective, but your team didn’t operate efficiently.
You could also have your team operating efficiently but not effectively. You could have administrative assistants getting through a high volume of customer emails, but they might not be correctly answering their queries.
In today’s remote work environment, finding the perfect balance of efficiency and effectiveness is what every business owner should be striving for. But how do you achieve that?
Tips for building team efficiency
Building team efficiency will help optimize the value of each employee, contractor, or freelancer and directly contribute to the growth of your business. Here are our top tips for building team efficiency:
1. Allow team members to take ownership of work
If team members don’t feel valued and like their work isn’t appreciated, they won’t work as efficiently. Allow your team members to take ownership of their work and show them recognition for it. If your staff knows they will receive feedback and recognition for their work, then they will automatically work more efficiently. It shows them that you’re aware of what they’re working on and will have something to say about it, whether that is good or bad. Hold them accountable.
When your team members are held accountable for their work, they know that it’s their responsibility to deliver outcomes. It also helps empower your team and boost their sense of self-worth, knowing that their work does impact the business.
2. Advocate for alignment and buy-in
If you want team efficiency, everyone needs to be on the same page. When you present new ideas or processes, you have to encourage your team to buy into those ideas. If they don’t see the point or don’t understand why you’re implementing new systems, they will be resistant to adopting them. This is especially hard when working with a remote team.
You need your team to support your vision so they will buy in. Show your team how new processes and systems will benefit them—advocate for alignment. Your whole team, you included, should be aligned with the same goals and find motivation and purpose in those goals.
3. Communicate frequently and openly
Communication is everything, especially if you’re working with a remote team. While scheduling multiple virtual meetings per day could actaully impair your efficiency, a quality communication strategy is imperative for your teams’ success. Without communication, you get miscommunication which is the enemy of efficiency. If something is unclear regarding a project task, your team could get confused and execute it in the wrong way. That would lead to having to redo project tasks, thus taking up even more time!
Establish some primary methods of communication where your team can collaborate together throughout the day and ask any questions they have. Pick a platform and stick to it so there is no confusion regarding how your team communicates. For example, you could keep all communication in Slack and ensure everyone is reachable between 9am and 5pm every day. Or you might be using a project management software like Asana to keep track of tasks and decide to keep all communication on the platform.
Regardless of which you choose, be available to your team and encourage them to communicate frequently and openly with each other.
4. Note people’s strengths and weaknesses
Every member of your team has strengths and weaknesses. They each have prior work experience, interests, and a unique skill-set that you may not even be aware of. You could be currently assigning tasks without knowing what each team member is actually proficient at. Or you might be giving people work that they really struggle with. Some individuals are creatively brained and may thrive doing design and social media tasks. Others might have a more analytical brain and work well with data, numbers, and organization.
Identify your team members’ strengths and weaknesses so that you can effectively allocate them tasks that help them thrive. That way, they will feel good about their work and their contribution to your business. Team members will also work faster and be more productive when they are doing tasks that they enjoy, and know how to do well.
5. Promote an inclusive culture
At the end of the day, team efficiency relies on one thing: your team. It can be hard to build a team mentality and inclusive culture in a remote work environment since everyone is working apart from one another. , But you can still establish a good workplace culture remotely through team-building exercises, learning opportunities, and providing a safe space for your employees.
Establishing an inclusive culture also means focusing on diversity in your recruitment efforts and giving your employees and contractors means to provide feedback to you. An inclusive culture in your business promotes a healthy work environment and will help to increase both team efficiency and engagement.
Building an efficient team
Building an efficient team starts with you, the business owner. Identifying your current barriers to efficiency and what is causing the friction is a great place to start. Once you know what is holding your team back from truly performing at their best, you can begin addressing those issues. Determine where your team members’ strengths are, and allocate them high-impact tasks that will motivate them to work efficiently. Automate where you can, and give your team access to productivity tools to reduce the amount of manual work needed.
But before you can even begin building team efficiency, you need to have a team. Hire from a place of inclusivity and use services like Wing Assistant to be matched with top-quality candidates who can help your business in various areas. You can work with a Wing Assistant for as little as $899 per month. So, get started here!
Kandice is a content writer & strategist with over 5 years of experience in digital marketing. She specializes in SEO-optimized content for the SaaS and tech industry. She’s a digital nomad, currently based in Mexico, and is passionate about helping other business owners and freelancers increase their productivity when working remotely. When she’s not behind her computer you’ll find her at the beach snorkeling, playing volleyball, doing yoga, or cooking up a delicious vegan meal.