9 Daily Tasks Costing Your Business Money
WHEN IT comes to running a business, you’re always on the lookout for ways to cut costs and raise your profit margin. There are some obvious ways to save money. But have you thought about the daily tasks that are costing your business money and your employees time? Often, the most frivolous functions turn out to be the largest problems.
We did the math and found the nine tasks employees engage in on a daily basis, that hurt a business’ bottom line.
When working with a large team, between several departments, we often tend to spend too much time at meetings. In fact, office workers consider too many meetings to be the greatest time-stealer at work.
You need to keep your team on the same page. You need regular updates on what’s happening in each of your projects. But too often, meetings get drawn out, stealing away valuable minutes in your day, and interrupt whatever you were working on at the time, regardless of whatever kind of flow state you might have been in.
The key to successful meetings? Planning. If you just need a quick update, hold a stand up meeting for a maximum of ten minutes. If you need a longer meeting, set an agenda. Don’t go in blind or you’re certain to get off track and waste time. Stick to the topics that you must cover and avoid veering too far off course.
2. Outdated processes
According to a survey, 42% of firms reported that outdated, inefficient business processes and systems contribute to a decline in employee productivity. It’s all too common to see paper forms wander from desk to desk, and see employees logging in to multiple, disparate systems to collect data. These manual and paper-based processes cannot keep pace with the digital world, where users expect information on demand.
It is true that the costs of Professional Services Automation (PSA) can be considerable, but the alternatives are worse. Surveys have collected some very notable examples of enterprises that saved largely by automating various business processes: Cisco Systems saved over $270 million in annual operating expenses, Frito-Lay saved between 30,000 to 50,000 work hours per year, and R.J. Reynolds saw a 53% reduction in invoice processing costs, among many.
Regardless of whether your company is small or large, you can certainly reap the substantial benefits of automation.
Your business is your baby, and you want every detail to be handled just so. Recognise yourself? This is the common mindset of a micromanager. However, you have to understand that the members of the team were chosen for a reason, and each one of them brings a unique skill and expertise to the project.
While keeping your finger on the pulse of your company is important, you also need to trust your employees to do their jobs.
Have you ever thought about how much of your valuable time you are spending watching over employees, double-checking work, and having a hand in absolutely everything? Just because something does something different than how you would do it doesn’t mean it’s wrong, so take a step back and let your talent do what they’re best at.
4. Excessive email
Do you have automatic notifications that tell you when a new email arrives? One minute you’re laser-focused on a task and the next you’re checking your email to see what update just popped into your inbox. It’s distracting.
A study found that out of 95,000 emails sent, 75,000 were internal.
If turning off automatic email updates force you to stay focused, do it! Many business owners also make a rule for themselves that they will only check their email 2-3 times throughout the day – first thing in the morning, right after lunch, and just before leaving the office.
High functionality team collaboration tools can also be helpful in the case of excessive internal emails. Use Slack for instant communication, Notion for project discussions, or Scoro for real-time collaboration. Setting up concrete communication rules means no more shuffling through emails to find relevant information and files, and time saved at work.
5. Face-to-face communication
43% of people say interacting with coworkers causes them to miss the most work, beating the 28% who blame that on surfing the Internet. Nobody wants to spend their workday in silence, but who can truly admit being a master of multitasking?
Most of the interruptions at work are considered trivial: co-workers who want to chat or someone stopping by the office to get your feedback about something that could’ve easily waited until you left work.
As more people become eager to improve their work/life balance, remote working continues to grow in popularity. Working remotely is a great way to get some silent solitude to enable you (or your employees) to get on with the job at hand.
6. Overloading on administrative work
A recent study found, that administrative tasks such as recording transactions, tax reporting, scheduling, and filing, were the main tasks which consumed the most time. How much time are you spending on tasks like these? While it might seem like you are saving money by handling administrative tasks yourself, you’re taking time away from other important tasks, and most likely overwhelming yourself, or your employees.
Fortunately, there are several time-saving tools and software available that can speed up tedious administrative tasks. From making a schedule to paying your employees, you can use these tools to help your business run smoother.
Track your time and bill accordingly with automated time tracking software, pay your employees and compile tax reports with user-friendly accounting software, track your mileage with a mileage reporting app, or schedule appointments with a simple scheduling software.
7. Irrelevant data
With so many analytics tools available, businesses can easily access real-time data on almost every area of operations. However, not all of this information is useful. Although data storage is relatively cheap these days, there are hidden costs in big data initiative beyond the mere cost of hard drives.
As more companies realize the value of extracting data, there will be growing pains, forcing companies to determine which data is important and which doesn’t matter.
There is no golden rule defining which KPIs businesses need to monitor.
It depends on the industry, nature of projects, the company’s structure, the budget, and people who use these business metrics for making decisions.
Most importantly, there is no use in collecting all this data, if you don’t have the tools to monitor and analyze it and improve on it. The best KPI reports enable monitoring of key performance indicators in real time. As a result, teams are constantly informed of project progress and can make informed decisions, and avoid mistakes.
8. Faulty reports
Manual data entry is prone to errors. Employees copy and paste information from one spreadsheet to another, and merge records together. Each of these processes has the potential to introduce errors to spreadsheets and will end up costing your business lots of money.
An analysis of multiple studies suggests that close to 90% of spreadsheet documents contain errors. You can’t afford all the mistakes.
So what’s the alternative?
Cloud-Based software is an excellent option ensuring you always have the latest data in front of you. Business intelligence software gives you a complete overview of your team’s work with a detailed task report. It also ensures that everyone in your company has access to the same information, helping to make well-informed business decisions.
Add key work performance metrics to your team dashboard to instantly compare against set benchmarks and take action when needed.
9. Lack of motivation
As it turns out, money for nothing doesn’t feel so great. While it might seem that we work for our salary, studies show that we want to feel that our work matters.
Motivation is one of the keys that will push us into taking action and keep us moving each day. Without motivation, we tend to procrastinate on the things that are supposed to get done.
Teams that have a purpose, and perceive their contribution to the purpose, tend not to get distracted and waste time at work. When people see how what they do contributes to the total effort, it’s easier for them to rally around the cause and see their purpose. When employees know that their performance is being measured objectively, consistently and in a constructive way, they are less likely to wander off and waste time.
There are numerous creative ways to motivate and engage your employees, from gamification to setting weekly plans, being transparent, and rewarding based on feedback. It is important to learn what makes your employees tick. Ask your employees what they do and don’t like working on, share the big picture company goals, and respond to their questions.
Know the way, go the way, show the way
69% of the respondents surveyed say that they waste at least some time at work on a daily basis. More than half of those surveyed say they waste time because they believe short breaks actually increase productivity. Boredom came in a distant second as 20% of people stated that they simply aren’t interested enough in their jobs to pay full attention. Lack of incentive, being unsatisfied with their jobs, and not being paid enough also made the list.
With so many distractions in employees’ day, the least you can do as an employer is to engage your people with only the tasks actually benefiting the company. An effective leader is only as good as the team they lead. If the leader doesn’t set expectations for the team to achieve, then the team will set their own and do what they want – including wasting as much time as they can.