There’s no question about the important role that SMBs play in driving the economy. And finding the right tools to power your business is critical. Moving to the cloud has helped countless businesses reach more customers, raise their bottom line, and make a bigger impact. But with a dizzying selection of services available to help boost your team’s productivity, and new ones appearing every year, it’s easy to get lost in all the technological clutter. How we collaborate has evolved over time, so it’s crucial to find the right tools for your business. At the end of the day, it’s about helping your team do their best work – after all, the people that form your company are the true heroes, every day.
A people-first approach to adopting process improvements is a foolproof way of getting the most out of your technology investments. That said, before you jump in to the latest techy tools and gadgets to improve your team’s workflow, start with the basics to ensure you have a solid foundation.
Communication is key. It sounds simple, but facilitating strong communication – written or verbal, from the Wi-Fi password to the quarterly sales goals – effects every level of the business. When your team is communicating well, everyone feels heard, meetings are more productive, creative ideas lead to higher-quality work, and the business thrives. This is even more critical in small organizations, where team members often own several roles. For example, as a small software startup, your graphic designer may also be doing the copywriting and building marketing campaigns. Clear communication, delegation of tasks, and effective collaboration is even more critical, and directly impacts how productive your team will be.
Here are a few quick wins that any team can implement to improve communication, and by effect, boost productivity:
1. Turn off cell phones. Sounds counterintuitive when talking about communication, but notifications are just too tempting and provide a constant disruption. Institute times when phones are off or left in another room, so team members can focus on what’s at hand.
2. Work in time blocks. When the team is working hard to push a project across the finish line, consider allotting blocks of time for working on specific tasks, and nothing else.
3. Designate someone to take minutes. Minutes are not an outdated formality. They’re critical to recording what was discussed, what the key action items are, and who’s responsible for them. If you don’t write it down, it’s hard to communicate expectations and maintain accountability after the fact
4. Set agendas. If you don’t have a clear agenda before walking into a meeting, you’re going to waste people’s time. Figure out the questions or problems you’re trying to solve before you convene, and stick to the agenda.
5. Keep questions to the end. Build in time into meetings for a Q&A session. You’ll keep meetings on track but still get to the valuable questions that come up along the way.
6. Respect start and end times. By not leaving meetings open-ended, you’re forcing everyone to be focused and productive.
7. Create hard and soft deadlines. Use the soft deadline as the hard deadline for task delegation, and circulate deadlines widely so everyone is on the same page.
8. Share the right passwords. You shouldn’t have to shout across the office for the Wi-Fi password. By sharing passwords through a team password manager, everyone has the right passwords to log in to do their work. And, you’ll make sure security is built in to your team’s every day activities.
9. Embrace a remote working culture. With the right tools, working remote doesn’t have to mean reduced productivity, and can actually save valuable time and resources.
10. Set expectations with customers and clients, too. Share these tips with meeting attendees, so everyone can save time and stay focused.
Getting the right communication processes in place will help your team save time, work more efficiently, and be more productive. Using LastPass to organize and share passwords, plus join.me to collaborate, will help you keep the simple things, well… simple, because you’ve got bigger fish to fry.
What are your quick wins for improving team communication?