Productivity Tips for Small Businesses JD March 31, 2015 entrepreneurship 157 The success and sustainability of a small business is in direct proportion to the productivity of its employees. The benefit of operating a smaller corporation over a large one is that business solutions can be integrated at a faster rate. With several simple tips and a proactive approach, you can easily improve productivity levels among your employees and ensure that your small business can run as efficiently as possible. Invest in Quality Office Equipment: Every functioning business requires high quality office equipment. This is especially important for smaller businesses where employees are juggling multiple jobs every day and rely heavily on working equipment. A computer or printer malfunction can lead to delays in deliverables, so investing in reliable devices will ensure that you avoid any kind of hindrances to company productivity. Look to trusted brands like Fuji Xerox, which offers an extensive range of printers, copiers and other multifunction devices to keep your office running smoothly. Block Your Biggest Distraction (The Internet): Access to the internet is obviously vital for any business, but unfortunately it is also the biggest form of distraction and an excuse for even the most task-orientated employees to procrastinate. 5-10 minutes spent checking emails or social media here or there may not seem like a lot of time, but these minutes when accumulated together are eating into productivity levels. While disconnecting the internet for long periods of time isn’t a practical solution, an alternative is to install software that prevents users from connecting to the internet for a short period of time. Programs like Freedom (PC and Mac users) and SelfControl (Mac users) will block internet access for scheduled time even when the computer is restarted of the program uninstalled. Anti-Social (PC and Mac users) works similarly to these programs, except instead of disconnecting from the internet completely, it simply denies access to the biggest social media sites, video streaming sites and web email programs. This is perfect for workers who still require the internet for frequent research. Having allotted, distraction-free time will drive you to accomplish a task and the reward (internet access) will be an added motivator. Identify and Harness Your Peak Energy Levels: A person’s energy levels rise and fall at alternating times of the day. For some, energy levels are at their peak from early to mid-morning, others are more invigorated after midday. The trick to harnessing your ability to be productive is to identify these peak energy hours. Your prioritized tasks that require the most concentration should be scheduled in accordance with these periods, allowing you to utilize your full brain power and optimum energy levels. Tasks that require less focus can be completed outside of these hours. This minor, but highly beneficial change can be easily adopted within a small business and will completely alter the way you approach your work. Conduct Stand-Up Meetings: Stand-up meetings are a more efficient alternative to standard sit-in meetings. Where regular meetings traditionally take place in the office once a week, often stretching out to two hours, stand-up meetings are given every day in the same location for fifteen minutes. A stand-up meeting requires all team members to participate and share the answers to three key questions; “What have you completed since the last meeting?”, “What do you plan to complete by the next meeting?” and “What is getting in your way?” These questions are designed to inform employers and peers of accomplishments and contributions since the previous stand-up meeting and to collectively identify and attempt to solve any obstacles – giving way to better coordination between colleagues. A stand-up meeting not only physically forces alertness, but shorter increments of work have also proven to be more productive than large, infrequent blocks.