How to Increase Your Team's Productivity Using Workflows

by Garrett Spence
1/16/2017 10:42:28 AM

 

Developing Effective Workflows For Your Business

Could automated workflows help your team save time, eliminate redundancy or streamline tasks?

You know how helpful systems and processes can be, but sometimes it’s still so tempting to “wing it” in the workplace.

However, this year, why not make a commitment to saving time, streamlining tasks, and eliminating redundancy? Automated workflows can help your team do all of this, and more. Here’s some more information, plus some strategies and tools to help you get started.

What is a workflow?

The term might sound like more business jargon, but it’s a relatively simple concept that can transform the way you get things done.

A workflow is simply the, “execution and automation of business processes where tasks, information or documents are passed from one participant to another for action, according to a set of procedural rules.”

Workflows allow you and your employees to achieve goals in an efficient manner. Everyone knows exactly what they need to do, including the order in which tasks should be completed.

There are a number of ways to set up and create workflows, too. You can choose the setup and method that works best for you and your company.

How to create a workflow

You can map out your workflow on paper with hand-drawn diagrams. You could use software tools like Slack or Basecamp to manage your workflows. You might want to use your own symbols and shorthand. You can make your workflow as simple or as complex as you need.

Clearly, workflows are unique and customizable. That’s part of what makes them so useful.

To get used to the idea, start with a task that you know well, like onboarding a new customer. Brainstorm all of the pieces that go into successfully completing that goal: a signed contract, filing or storing that contract, other forms the customer needs to fill out, which team member will send a welcome email… Think about everything you need to do, then put it all in order.

For this first one, it might even be helpful to write the tasks down on notecards so that you can physically move them around your workflow. You don’t have to tackle these alone, either. Enlist the help of your fellow team members, because they may have information you need.

This guide from Chron’s Small Business website also breaks down workflow development if you’d like to see more tips and suggestions.

More benefits of workflows

If you aren’t sold on the efficacy of workflows, consider the following benefits that you’ll notice when you create and implement them:

  • Organization. Workflows encourage organization, which will save you tons of time over the years. They’re a great way to increase productivity as well.

  • Habits. Completing tasks and projects in a certain way will become habitual, freeing up time and mental energy for innovation in other areas.

  • Fewer distractions. When you know exactly what you’re supposed to be doing it’s far easier to stay focused and ignore the myriad distractions that always seem to crop up.

  • Flexibility. Workflows also force you to correct course when needed. You might discover that there’s a better way to do something after you see all of the steps mapped out. A new tool could switch things up entirely. Having everything written down might encourage another team member to tweak the process, too.

Additional Resources to Help Grow your Small Business

White Paper

How Mail Services and Professional Addresses Help Entrepreneurs Succeed

In today's mobile economy, digital entrepreneurs often work from varying locations. While this can help save money and increase agility, it comes with one big drawback:

Read More >
White Paper

Virtual Assistants Provide a Competitive Edge

Countless small business owners rely on remote assistants or offsite receptionists to help with critical organizational duties. While some are content to offload simple tasks to self-employed, stay-at-home support people, others demand more comprehensive services...NULL

Read More >
White Paper

Virtual Assistants & Remote Assistants: A Comparison

While the traditional virtual assistant is likely to work from home, an executive-level virtual assistant is part of a greater brick-and-mortar presence. This fundamental difference opens the door for extensive training opportunities that broaden the professional's support capabilities.

Read More >
White Paper

Overview of Virtual Offices, Executive Suites and Co-Working Spaces

Work has changed. In an age of instant communication, cloud-based applications, and workplace versatility, the era of the traditional office culture has come to an end. Providers of virtual offices, executive suites and co-working spaces have effectively liberated the nation’s work culture, adding dynamic and energizing new choices...

Read More >
White Paper

Part 1 of 4: Introducing the SBA

For entrepreneurs and small business owners, navigating the tricky terrain of creating a sound business plan, forecasting for growth and developing an operative growth strategy can be a major challenge. Fortunately, American entrepreneurs and operators have access to one of the most effective resources in the worldwide market...

Read More >
White Paper

Part 2 of 4: Starting a Small Business

Navigating the complex terrain of creating a sound business plan, forecasting for growth and developing an operative growth strategy can be a challenge for entrepreneurs and small business owners. Fortunately, American entrepreneurs have access to one of the most effective resources in the world via the Small Business Administration (SBA).
... Click to read more

Read More >
White Paper

Part 3 of 4: Managing a Small Business

Congratulations! You have gotten your small business up and running. Now what? This part of our four-part series on leveraging the Small Business Administration to help you launch and manage a small business will focus on the operational aspects of running a business. Whether you need leadership strategies, day-to-day decision making skills
... Click to read more

Read More >
White Paper

Part 4 of 4: Marketing, Sales and Contracting

Understanding marketing and sales as well as the technical complexity of our Internet-driven society gives entrepreneurs a distinct advantage over the competition. This final segment of our four-part report will take a deeper dive into the logistics and philosophy of marketing and sales and their impact on your business success.
... Click to read more

Read More >
White Paper

DIY Marketing Tools

If a business isn’t marketing, its potential customers are not finding it. Small to medium size businesses often struggle with spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on marketing. New DIY marketing tools, however, have eliminated the need to spend astronomical amounts on online and traditional marketing. These tools
... Click to read more

Read More >
White Paper

Virtual Office for Legal Professionals

Law firms (large and small) and solo legal practitioners alike can use virtual office services and spaces to run their entire legal operations or as a supplement to a home office or traditional brick-and-mortar offices. Virtual office services can be particularly useful during trial preparation
... Click to read more

Read More >
White Paper

Finance & Tax Professionals

Finance and tax professionals, whether they work solo or as part of a larger firm, can use virtual office spaces and services to stay on top of their workloads, especially during the busy tax season. Professional virtual office spaces can be particularly useful when back-to-back client meetings are necessary...

Read More >
White Paper

Traveling Entrepreneur

As business people and entrepreneurs continually strive to grow their business, doing so frequently involves traveling around the country to attend networking or tradeshow events, meeting clients and prospects on their own turf, and getting some face-time with colleagues, contractors or employees who may operate in a remote location. Preparation
... Click to read more

Read More >
White Paper

Virtual Office Eguide

Have you ever wondered why some small businesses are successful and others are not and what do these successful companies do to gain an edge over their competition? Through our years of experience
... Click to read more

Read More >