Business Work Better
As a business owner, one of your most important functions is keeping distractions, interruptions, and disengagement to a minimum so that everyone working at your business stays on task. Of course, it’s not always easy to create this ideal workplace environment in the real world! If the ups and downs of a demanding workday have you and your employees frustrated, try one of these five ideas for keeping things running smoothly.

Improve Time Tracking Solutions

If you employ hourly workers and you’re still using paper to keep track of labor, it’s past time for an upgrade. Clunky time management systems lead to inexact recordkeeping, which means you could be overpaying employees and losing money—or underpaying them and alienating high performers from their work.

Look for a cross-platform timekeeping solution that accommodates your business structure, and that’s simple enough for employees to use without your supervision. One-size-fits-all offerings have given way to highly specialized tools that support the unique needs of individual businesses, so whether you want a salon calendar or a contractor app, take some time to research your options and upgrade your scheduling solutions.

Organize and Automate Where Possible

Your business should be organized enough to ensure that a new employee can find any materials they need without needing you to find it for them. If that’s not the case, it’s time to take stock of your workspace and figure out a way to make essential tools and supplies accessible. You and your employees can lose hundreds of hours annually looking for mislaid or inaccessible equipment, and often compound your losses when you have to repurchase things. Hire an organizational pro if you need to do so—but make it a priority to stop losing and misplacing important items.

Offer Employees Appropriate Autonomy

A team of happy, motivated employees will support your business’s growth, but how do you make people feel positively engaged with their work, especially if you’re already paying competitive wages? Empower employees to act with autonomy to serve customers efficiently and manage their own schedules to the extent it works for your business model.

If you run a cafĂ©, you’ll have to tell employees when to show up, but with clear, mutually-supported policies in place, you can let them manage customer experiences on their own, freeing them to delight, soothe, and attend to customers more quickly than they’d be able to if they had to ask for your input with every problem. This freedom makes your employees feel involved and improves customer service outcomes.

Set Clear, Achievable Goals

When things are going wrong, it’s easy to insist that all problems boil down to needing to work harder or make more money. These are reasonable desires, but because they’re vague and don’t offer the opportunity for action, it’s hard to convert them into results.

Instead, set SMART goals for your business. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. By constraining your goals, you’ll make yourself think about what you want to change, how to get there, and when. “Work harder” becomes “Dedicate more time to finding and serving new customers,” and “make more money” becomes “Raise gross revenue by 10% this year with a new marketing strategy.” With this framework, you’ll implement new policies to lead you to your goals, and you’ll be able to judge whether or not you were successful.

Stay Positive and Manage Stress

Running a business is hard work, and the variable income, 16-hour days, and endless to-do lists can sour even the sunniest disposition. Unfortunately, your mood affects not just you, but also your business and employees. Part of your job is demonstrating the tone you want workers to convey to customers, so it’s essential that you keep your stress levels low to set a good example. Time management is a critical tool for stress management, but so is self-care; if you never take time off, you won’t be able to avoid overload.

Keeping everyone at your business upbeat, high-energy, and focused on work is a tall order, but that doesn’t mean you’re not up to the task! With smart time and priority management and a good relationship with your team, you can keep your business moving efficiently.