Guest post by Kayleigh Alexandra at MicroStartups

Productivity is the engine of business success. Regardless of whether you provide a service or sell products, your continued operation depends on the consistency and quality of your output. Unless you’re somehow achieving world-changing innovation (which is very unlikely), you can’t get away with lengthy stretches of inactivity.

That consistency, it bears stressing, starts at the individual level — and it’s there that major issues can arise. Many businesses are team efforts with each task requiring input from several workers, making each one a potential blocker. On a big project, it only takes one person dragging their feet for the entire thing to end up delayed.

If you’re concerned about the productivity of your business, then you need to take action to effectively motivate and maintain it. There are many common pitfalls that slow operations down and leave their owners wondering why things aren’t getting done.

In this article, we’re going to look at some of the easiest productivity mistakes you can make and explain how you can avoid them (or mitigate them if that isn’t possible). Let’s begin.

Relying on mediocre software

Now that we’ve entered the era of remote working, it’s even more important to make good use of business software — yet there’s no shortage of options out there, which is good for variety but tricky for those who need to narrow down the options. Even for small and/or infrequent tasks, using outdated or limited software can soak up time and obstruct progress.

And when it comes to key business tasks that demand regular attention (tasks like accounting, for instance), choosing one piece of software over another can save you huge amounts of time, effort, and money. Look at how Reckon One has made life easier for many business owners. It can take a little time to do your initial software research (checking features and testimonials), but making that commitment early will help you enormously in the long run.

Providing inadequate equipment

The same case we just made for the significance of software can be made for equipment. Though it’s true that cloud computing has lessened the importance of having powerful work laptops, the need for so many people to work from home has massively raised the urgency of investing in equipment for employees to use in their home offices.

In addition to the basic electronic devices (laptop, charger, headphones, etc.), you should consider anything and everything that can help to enable a highly efficient workstation. How can your employees safely and smartly manage their power cords and audio cables? What displays will benefit their work? (Graphic designers need colour-accurate monitors, for instance.) What chairs and desks suit their personal preferences?

Ask your employees what they want, then do your best to accommodate them without going over your budget. It may seem like excessive expenditure at first, but it’ll more than return its value over the coming months and years through allowing your workers to get more done.

Failing to delegate appropriately

Solopreneurs crop up fairly frequently these days, largely due to the immense resources of the internet and associated technology making it possible for one person to run a company without reaching the point of burnout. Even so, they inevitably need to hire employees once their companies grow enough, and it’s then that they can encounter problems.

Why? Because launching and running your own business gets you accustomed to doing everything yourself. You do all the work, and you sign everything off. And when you hire people, you can struggle to relinquish sole responsibility for the entire company’s output, leading you to demand that every last task be run by you before it can be approved.

This will quickly lead you to the point of exhaustion and hold your employees back by limiting their creative freedom. If you trust someone enough to hire them for a position, trust them enough to do it without you looking over their shoulder all the time. Delegate wherever appropriate: this will allow you to focus on sales and allow them to work more effectively.

Lacking employee incentives

For the most part, employees don’t do their jobs because they enjoy them: they do it because they have bills to pay and countless other reasons to make money. This means they won’t go the extra mile in their daily duties. They’ll do what they’re paid to do, and nothing more. If you want them to excel through incredible productivity, you need to incentivise it.

So what incentives can push people to redouble their efforts? This really depends on the employees in question, but there are certain things that have broad appeal: flexible working hours, for example, or funding for fitness regimes (encompassing physical and mental health, since both are worthy of cultivation). If in doubt, ask your employees what they’re looking for. Even a small boost in support can make a big difference.

Correcting these productivity mistakes isn’t typically very difficult, but it’s easy to focus on other things and let them hold you back. Don’t commit that error. Take the time to resolve them now, and you’ll have a much easier time achieving business success.

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