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4 Ways to Optimize Your Workforce by Encouraging Employees to Work Smarter, not Harder

With the looming global recession, more and more business owners are considering workforce optimization. This process is complex and time-consuming, but when done right, it may help you bridge the skill gap, prepare your teams for the future, and attract and retain top talent without letting employees go.

This said, workforce optimization is much more than layoffs and budget cuts. If you involve the entire team in this process and rely on advanced tools like an employee tracker and workforce management app, introducing flexible work focused on increased employee productivity and well-being, you can create tight-knit, highly performing teams ready to face and overcome the crisis.

By introducing new practices, you’ll encourage employees to work smarter, remaining highly productive and focused on reaching critical company goals.

Introduce Shorter Work Week

The four-day workweek has been a successful experiment so far. After the shorter work week experiment conducted in Iceland when findings showed that fewer days spent at the office didn’t affect productivity. But it increased employee satisfaction. Public workers who participated in this experiment stated that they were happier and healthier.

After Iceland, the UK decided to try out a shorter work week. Over 3.300 workers from 70 different companies in positions ranging from financial experts to workers in fish and chips restaurants went on a 4-day work week regime. The only condition they need to fulfill during this 6-month experiment is to remain as productive as if they’re working “normally.”

You may wonder if this is feasible.

You can help your employees make the most of their 4 days at work by limiting team meetings to 5 minutes. And dedicate 30 minutes to meetings with clients. One company, for example, introduced a traffic light system to limit workplace distractions. Employees have a light on their desks and are open for chatting when the light is green. The yellow light means that they’re working but still can chat occasionally. And the red one indicates that they are dedicated to focused work and shouldn’t be disturbed.

By making small changes in the way you operate, you may secure high productivity in shorter work weeks.

The bottom line is that you can make your employees happier while still highly productive by shortening the work week. And highly satisfied employees deliver top-quality results, leading to optimized workforce performance.

Dedicate Time to Focused Work

According to Assana’s research, American workers tend to spend over 58%of their time at work in meetings or tackling every incoming email. This means that low-quality, work-for-work tasks eat up most of the time they could otherwise dedicate to creative, meaningful work.

Fortunately, you can easily shift the focus of your employees to creative tasks. You can follow the lead of an English business owner who dedicated deep-work time. For two hours in the morning and in the afternoon, his employees ignore their email inboxes and Slack meetings. Meetings are also forbidden at this specific time. This makes it easier for employees to focus on their key tasks and work without disruptions.

By determining a portion of time for focused, distraction-free work, you’ll help your employees tackle complex and demanding tasks with undivided attention. This may result in unexpected breakthroughs and outstanding outcomes.

Encourage Lateral Moves in Your Company

It’s critical that you have open and honest communication with your employees from day one. Pay attention to their wishes and expectations regarding their roles in your company. If you listen carefully to their plans for career development, you can do what’s needed to make this development possible.

If you see that someone is struggling with their workload in their current positions, have a sincere 1-1 with them to try and find out whether a job in a different department would be a perfect fit for them. Then provide all the necessary training and guidance to make this move possible.

This workforce optimization strategy can be more effective and less expensive than letting employees go and replacing them with new talent. You can always check out the employee tracker reports to see whether employees that moved laterally are more productive in changing roles and estimating the training efficiency.

More importantly, statistic shows that the majority of employees nowadays prefer working in companies that offer continual training and learning programs across departments, so this move can give you a competitive edge over the competition.

Cut the Cost of Obsolete Tools

Using numerous apps and tools to organize and streamline communication and workflows in remote and hybrid environments has become standard. But when you manage multiple remote teams, you can quickly lose track of all the apps your team members use daily. Also, you may not know how effective these are.

Here’s where internet monitoring software for business may be of great help, showing you the apps and websites your employees frequently use to work on their tasks and setting them apart from the others. You can use this detailed, real-time analysis to deactivate or unsubscribe from specific tools and apps that your employees use rarely or never during their work hours and cut significant costs.

Final Words

The future of work is here, introducing increased work flexibility and autonomy in the remote and hybrid workplace. Keeping your business afloat in times of uncertainty and a global recession may be challenging, but if you adapt to the changed workplace and employees’ needs, you’ll need to embrace new leadership styles and strategies that can help you optimize the workforce and stay within budget during the crisis.

Consider shortening the workweek and reorganizing your tool stack to cut significant costs. Also, help your employees be more time efficient, dedicating more time to focused work on their tasks. By doing this, you’ll encourage employees to work smarter, not harder increasing their productivity and lowering overall costs.

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