Types of Productivity: What You Should Know

Types of Productivity: What You Should Know

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Small businesses often find themselves grappling with the challenges of limited manpower. A recent article from Forbes reveals that 80% of SMEs don’t have any employees. Those who do only have 3 to 4 employees on average. With this in mind, businesses must understand that productivity goes beyond just working harder; in fact, numerous types of productivity can help you achieve your goals.

Read on and learn how SME owners and managers can navigate various types of productivity. Hopefully, knowing the various types can help you mitigate employee fatigue and establish a streamlined and efficient employee management process. By delving into the various types of productivity, we uncover actionable insights that can empower small businesses to achieve their goals and foster a thriving work environment.

Understanding Productivity Beyond Time Management

The 2020 pandemic ushered in numerous transformations in the business industry, including flexible hours, hybrid setups, and remote working. In fact, recent surveys suggest that 55% of knowledge workers are now being offered a hybrid setup up front, where they can choose to go to the office or work at their home on any given day. These shifts challenge traditional beliefs about productivity. That is, work quality and output relies on the standard 40-hour workweek and a conventional office setting

In the conventional office model, the emphasis was on desk time. Managers evaluated employees based on the hours spent in office rather than the quality of outcomes they produced. However, in outcome-based working, teams prioritize results over inputs. This shift is a response to the challenges posed by the pandemic and also a recognition of the evolving nature of work.

Outcome-based working aligns seamlessly with remote and hybrid work structures. It measures the effectiveness of task completion based on predefined standards and deadlines rather than the time spent at the desk. This approach encourages employees to independently achieve clear objectives that suit them, fostering flexibility and autonomy.

Moreover, the benefits of outcome-based working extend beyond individual productivity. It promotes higher levels of engagement, enthusiasm, and innovation among employees. The freedom to prioritize essential goals, take time off when needed, and work outside conventional office hours contributes to a more globally connected and effective workforce.

Types of Productivity Small Business Owners Should Strive For

Productivity is about working to fulfill a certain outcome. If your company produces physical capital like goods or products, it’s easy to gauge productivity. It’s a little more ambiguous, however, if you are a service-based business. Or, if your team doesn’t produce physical output. In outcome-based working, knowing how to be productive is as important as putting in the hours. Here are the types of productivity businesses should encourage their employees to attain:

Time Productivity

Time productivity is about optimizing every moment you’re working on a task. Employees can prioritize activities in different ways. They can start by leveraging calendars and project management apps. For instance, calendar blocking can help individuals allocate dedicated time slots for specific tasks, ensuring a focused approach. This approach is exemplified when employees proactively manage their time, resulting in a streamlined workflow.

On the other hand, it's also worth noting that time productivity isn't just a "me" issue among employees. Recent surveys suggest that the average employee gets interrupted about 60x per day. With this in mind, managers must always protect the working time of their employees, allowing each one of them to have long stretches of time for deep dives into their projects.

Energy Productivity

Personal energy levels also matter in productivity. Research suggests that people are only productive for 4 hours a day; exceeding such a timeframe would require a conscious boost in their energy.

Employees can boost their energy through practices like proper nutrition, breaks of a few minutes at a time, and incorporating exercise into their routines. Taking short breaks, engaging in quick workouts, or even practicing mindfulness can rejuvenate the mind and body, positively impacting work performance. Small business owners play a crucial role in encouraging these habits, creating an environment where sustained productivity becomes the norm.

Task Productivity

Task productivity is all about doing more with less. Employees can embrace methodologies like the Eisenhower Matrix or the Pomodoro Technique to enhance efficiency. For example, breaking down tasks into smaller, manageable chunks and focusing on high-priority items can significantly boost productivity.

When employees are task-productive, they can meet deadlines and maintain a high standard of work. This doesn't just expedite the overall turnaround process of output but also reduces the risk of revisions and editing, which affects the time and energy of an entire team. Furthermore, task productivity also fosters a culture of continuous improvement within the organization, allowing employees to be more efficient and effective as they take on more responsibilities.

Team Productivity

In the collaborative landscape of SMEs, team productivity is the linchpin of success. Effective team communication, strategic delegation, and leveraging individual strengths are pivotal.

When team members openly communicate, delegate tasks based on expertise, and harness each other's strengths, it increases productivity. McKinsey & Company's studies underline this, revealing a 30% increase in innovation for businesses prioritizing collaborative productivity.

The Role of Automation and Outsourcing in Productivity

Monitoring various types of productivity might be overwhelming for some business managers and owners. Fortunately, integrating numerous automation infrastructures and efficient outsourcing can automatically boost employers' productivity.

Automation Myths and Realities

Thinking that automation would remove the humanity within your working process. Spoiler alert: it won't! Here are the realities of automation solutions:

Myth 1: Automation replaces jobs.

Reality: Automation enhances tasks, not jobs.

Contrary to the belief that automation eliminates jobs, its primary aim is to streamline repetitive tasks, allowing employees to focus on more strategic aspects. Research indicates that organizations embracing automation often witness job growth as new opportunities arise.

Myth 2: Automation is for large enterprises only.

Reality: Automation is scalable for all businesses.

Large enterprises often lead automation initiatives. However, scalable solutions cater to businesses of all sizes. Starting small and gradually expanding automation processes is a viable approach, ensuring accessibility for SMEs.

Myth 3: Automation implementation is complex and lengthy.

Reality: Automation can be straightforward.

Automation tools vary in complexity, with many being user-friendly and requiring minimal coding. Quick wins can be achieved by automating specific tasks, providing businesses with immediate benefits without prolonged implementation processes.

Myth 4: Automation benefits specific industries only.

Reality: Automation is versatile across industries.

Automation's applicability extends across sectors, from healthcare to finance and manufacturing. Customizable solutions address diverse industry needs, streamlining workflows, reducing errors, and enhancing productivity.

Myth 5: Employees fear job loss due to automation.

Reality: Automation can enhance job satisfaction.

When implemented thoughtfully, automation relieves employees of tedious tasks. This contributes to increased job satisfaction, skill development, and engagement.

Myth 6: Automation is prohibitively expensive.

Reality: Cost-effective solutions exist.

Affordable automation options cater to smaller businesses. So, the return on investment often justifies initial costs, considering long-term gains in productivity.

Myth 7: Automation is a one-time implementation.

Reality: Automation requires continuous refinement.

Successful automation is an ongoing process, necessitating regular evaluation and refinement to align with changing business needs and technological advancements.

Strategic Outsourcing

Small businesses can strategically outsource non-core tasks to optimize efficiency and focus on core operations. Common areas for outsourcing include:

Administrative Support

Delegate tasks like data entry, appointment scheduling, and correspondence handling to virtual assistants, freeing up valuable time for core business functions.

Bookkeeping and Accounting 

Outsourcing financial tasks, such as bookkeeping, invoicing, and payroll processing, ensure accuracy and compliance with regulations, allowing the business to concentrate on strategic financial planning.

IT Services

Non-core IT functions, such as software maintenance, helpdesk support, and network management, can be outsourced to specialized providers, reducing the burden on in-house resources.

Marketing and Social Media Management

Engage external agencies for marketing strategies, content creation, and social media management, leveraging their expertise to enhance the business's online presence.

Customer Support

Outsource customer service and support to call centers or virtual assistants, ensuring timely and effective communication without overburdening internal teams.

Human Resources

HR tasks like recruitment, employee onboarding, and benefits administration can be outsourced, allowing small businesses to access professional HR services without maintaining an in-house department.

Small businesses seeking reliable outsourcing partners should prioritize factors such as expertise, scalability, and dedicated support. The success and efficiency of a business often hinge on the dependability of its outsourcing partners, making the selection process crucial.

Wing Assistant stands out as an exceptional outsourcing partner, offering up to 80% quicker and cheaper solutions compared to traditional hiring. With dedicated assistants solely focused on one client, businesses benefit from personalized attention and improved processes over time.

The inclusion of a free Customer Success Manager ensures proactive issue resolution, and the Wing Workspace App facilitates seamless communication and task management. Backed by ongoing quality supervision from trainers and supervisors, Wing Assistant provides a robust and dependable outsourcing solution for small businesses aiming for efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

Leveraging Technology for Advanced Productivity

Recent surveys suggest that 42% of SME brands use technology to its full capacity. These SMEs attribute most of their revenue generation to software and tools that use machine learning. This is expected to increase significantly in 2024 as more AI-driven tools are being introduced in the market.

Here are some of the AI and collaborative tech solutions you should integrate into your business:

AI-driven Productivity

New technologies like AI play a pivotal role in enhancing productivity across businesses. AI can help businesses to double the amount of work done on a daily basis. Furthermore, these innovative tools can streamline workflows, predict bottlenecks, and suggest optimization strategies.

  • Reclaim, an AI scheduling automation app, boosts productivity by optimizing scheduling, defending focus time, and improving work-life balance. It efficiently schedules meetings, prioritizes tasks, and prevents burnout with smart calendar controls.
  • Another notable tool is Decktopus, which is revolutionizing presentations with AI. It automates the design process, saving time and eliminating stress, allowing professionals to focus on delivering compelling messages.
  • Additionally, ChatGPT serves as a versatile chatbot tool that can address business demands across industries. It is flexible, easy to use, and, when connected to Zapier, can be automated for seamless integration into various apps. This automated workflow facilitates tasks like writing marketing copy and conducting market research.

Collectively, these AI tools contribute to increased efficiency, time management, and optimized work processes.

Collaborative Platforms

Collaborative platforms play a pivotal role in enhancing productivity by fostering seamless communication, efficient task management, and streamlined collaboration. Tools like Slack facilitate real-time communication, breaking down communication barriers and ensuring quick decision-making. Meanwhile, productivity platforms like Asana and Notion aid in task organization. They can help teams with project management, and knowledge sharing, thus optimizing workflows.

Moreover, the integration of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) is set to elevate collaborative experiences. As of this writing, AR and VR technologies have had an impact on 23 million jobs worldwide, offering advancements in productivity, innovation, and effective training. These technologies transcend physical boundaries, enabling remote teams to engage in immersive collaboration and training sessions. AR and VR applications enhance visualization, simulate real-world scenarios, and create interactive environments, contributing to a more engaging and productive collaborative work culture.

Mastering the Art of Rest

Rest is integral to employee productivity, playing a pivotal role in overall well-being and work performance. Adequate rest fosters mental clarity, creativity, and physical health. Managers should optimize for different types of productivity, but they must still encourage their team to rest. It is because rest directly impacts an individual's ability to focus and deliver quality work. Small businesses can leverage this by promoting a healthy work-life balance, encouraging breaks, and implementing flexible schedules.

Leveraging the power of rest can go as far as allowing employees to sleep during their break time. The concept of inemuri in Japanese culture challenges the conventional view of sleeping at work. Inemuri, or selective sleeping, is accepted in Japan as a sign of hard work and dedication.

By recognizing the significance of rest, businesses can boost employee morale, reduce burnout, and enhance long-term productivity.

All Types of Productivity Contribute to Business Growth

In the dynamic landscape of startups and SMEs, understanding and implementing diverse types of productivity is a catalyst for growth. Embracing productivity in all its dimensions is the key to unlocking the full potential of a business. As small business owners navigate this landscape, the pursuit of productivity becomes synonymous with the pursuit of sustainable success.

Do more with your time! Take a look at our detailed list of productivity apps you can use to streamline your workflow this year.

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