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April 2024

Six actions to start the new season with a productive spring in your step

As we start a new financial year, it’s a good time to tidy up our organisations, figuring out what we can let go of and what we can improve to make things run smoother and be more productive.

Let me share six actions you can take to start the season with a productive spring in your step:

  • Map your processes –  in business language also called ‘process mapping’ or lean management (largely used in manufacturing but applicable to all industries/businesses) a method that provide you with a better understanding of processes and help organisations to identify areas for improvements. It helps you to visually depict the flow of work, people tasks and the waste (processes) that can be removed for a more productive and streamlined system. To learn more about this methodology look for Six Sigma or contact SMAS at Scottish Enterprise.
  • Be Energy efficient –  sustainability is not only the right thing to do but it can bring financial benefits to your business. Consider switching to LED lighting, buying smart plugs or adding solar panels to your roof. Have a look at Business Energy Scotland or Zero Waste Scotland for support and to check whether you are eligible for loan schemes or grants.
  • Introduce AI powered tools/solutions –  whether they are automations or AI powered solutions these technologies can help you do more in less time. Have you ever considered using software or programmes together to replace manual tasks? For instance, does your accounting software talk to your CRM? Do you use Chat GPT to come up with ideas for social media? Do you use read aloud or dictate in Microsoft Outlook to send emails whilst doing a walk? Do you have an AI assistant? Honestly, there is an AI world to discover! Check Google Chrome store for extensions suitable for your needs.
  • Look after your staff – businesses are made of people so if they are not productive it’s very unlikely that the business is. I suggest focusing on  engagement and health. What do your staff think about your people strategy? Do they innovate or create? If you are not sure, use the Fair Work tool and start tracking the improvement to make your staff more engaged. Is your staff healthy? Do they sleep enough? Do they exercise? Do they eat nutritious food? Employers are more and more interested in supporting employees’ health (physical and mental), nowadays there are various apps that can help you with the job. Check out apps like IncentFit, OK Positive, Clear Review and PeachyMondays amongst others.
  • Be smart at time management –  how many times do you wonder why days are not made of 50 hrs? I feel the pain! I don’t have a magic wand, but I have some tricks to help you better manage your time. Write to-do-list, always start your day with the heavier task first, block your calendar for focus time, recognise your less favourite tasks and delegate them to colleagues, say no when you don’t have capacity.
  • Be a clear communicator – communication is a very important element of a productive business. Clearly state staff/colleagues’ tasks, responsibilities and deadlines, be transparent in sharing opportunities and challenges of the business, listen actively and carefully and encourage your people to have a voice. This should give great results.

The above tips might sound daunting at first but believe me the juice is worth the squeeze.