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How to Increase Your Team's Productivity Using Workflows

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By Garrett Spence   |    January 16, 2017   |    10:42 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.

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