As Vice President of Strategic Business Development at FileVision, Laurie Shufeldt sees her share of customers in need of improved productivity. Shufeldt helps SMB customers, especially those in the healthcare, financial services and government industries, bridge the gap between digital content and paper documents. Based on her experiences, here are the top five productivity killers capable of slowing down any firm or practice.
Productivity Killer No. 1: Disorganization
Whether it’s too many post-its on a computer screen, electronic files scattered across the network in disarray, or stacks of paperwork that need to be processed, disorganization cuts productivity rates in half, if not more. Organization isn’t just about how neatly papers are piled on a desk. It is about how easily and quickly information can be accessed.
The solution? Step one – streamline how you identify, locate, obtain, and maintain information within your organization. Implement a good search and retrieval system that provides instant access to information through multiple search tools for documents, content, relationships and data. Digital versions of documents should be quickly and easily found through user-defined key words and criteria or through full-text search.
Productivity Killer No. 2: Lack of automation
It’s a fact that automation boosts productivity. Organizations should evaluate all processes in the office and measure how much time each of those tasks takes and seek out technology solutions that automate tasks and free up employees’ time.
Productivity Killer No. 3: Inefficient internal communications
Organizations that have inefficient internal communications suffer lower productivity. Companies can make internal communications more efficient by recognizing that their business’ information knowledge base includes all ways in which team members communicate (email, verbally in meetings, memos, etc.). Silos where information is stored need to be integrated into the overall organizational plan.
For example, if a representative responds via email to a customer inquiry, that email should be automatically routed / tagged to the customer’s profile in the database. Or, voicemail messages should be notated electronically and categorized according to the record to which they correspond, so the information employees need to do their jobs better is at their fingertips.
Productivity Killer No. 4: Lack of planning and workflow processes
Organizations that lack workflow plans and processes suffer a killer productivity rate. To get started, organizations should research and identify a workflow system – most likely a technology solution combined with existing office procedures. A good workflow system should automate and monitor internal procedures, allow critical path processes to be assigned to tasks / information (data or documents) and enhance existing processes for improved task management along with multiple levels of accountability and control.
Productivity Killer No. 5: Handling the same papers (or data) more than once
Perhaps the only butcher to productivity bigger than too many cooks in the kitchen is too many of those cooks repeating the same steps and handling the same information more than once. This office dilemma could take many forms – from making duplicate paper copies of the same document for different filing systems to multiple people reviewing information independently of one another. The solution: Create one file that can be accessed, updated, and shared from one central information management system.