Six productivity hacks for SMEs

Business growth is fuelled by many factors, but there are two essential pillars: employing the right people and increasing productivity. Businesses, especially small to medium enterprises looking to grow, the focus should be on making the most of the latest tools and tips to enable their employees to work more efficiently and effectively. The Office for National Statistics (2015) showed that output from UK workers fell by 20%, widening the productivity gap with other G7 nations to its largest amount since 1991. Although the government is receiving the brunt of the blame for the decline in productivity, businesses also share the responsibility of improving office productivity and motivating workers to be more efficient.

With the challenge set, here are six top tips on how to increase productivity in your workday:

1. Digital to do lists: Everyone has their own ways of tackling tasks, some like to start with the easier ones early and focus on the harder ones later in the day, while others like to get the blood, sweat and tears out of the way to ease them into the afternoon. Apps like Clear, Todoist and Any.Do are paving the way to help organise your day, by integrating it through devices. Todoist and Any.Do also allow you to integrate from your Mac through to your Apple Watch; keeping up to date with daily activities while on the move.

2. Exercise to break up the day: – There have been a number of studies into the need to exercise at least 30 minutes a day, but when you’re working on a large project and having to play catch up before the day has even started, it’s quite a difficult feat to accomplish. Exercises throughout the day could range from simply taking the stairs at work, to going for a walk in the fresh air during your lunch break. Exercise has been proven to not only release endorphins, which is your body’s way to keep your mood levels up, but also helps in relieving stress.

3. Work flexibly: With the technology we have available today, it is no longer essential to be tied to our desks. Working from home or on the go is considered the norm in many organisations. Flexible working is becoming a key driver for Millennials entering the world of work, and if it isn’t an option in their current workplace, surveys have shown that 23% of Millennials will then opt to look for a new job. 83% of companies reported an improvement in productivity and 61% said their profits increased after implementing flexible working. With this in mind, organisations are still facing the challenge of embedding it into the company culture; in essence creating a “new contract” between the company and employees.

4. Use Mobile Tech: In conjunction to enabling staff with flexible working hours, Forrester has identified that employees are 12% more likely to feel empowered to solve problems; further increasing productivity and positivity in the workplace when provided with mobile apps that give them the information they need to do their job while on the move. Top apps we recommend are Evernote, great for note taking, organising and archiving inspirational ideas, Dropbox, a file sharing and storing platform, and Swype, an intuitive keyboard app.

5. Break down the walls of data– Working through data on a day-to-day basis can be a mind-numbing exercise, however brands like Piktochart are making understanding, and analysing data easier. Piktochart generates information into infographics and creates beautiful visualisations making it easier to digest the data.

6. Wearable tech in the office: Wearable tech is expected to become ubiquitous within the work place, as 6% of the current UK adult population own a piece of wearable technology, with 55% of these adults claiming to purchase a second piece of wearable tech. Wearable tech is a great way for your organisation and your employees to manage personal health and to plan daily activities based accordingly on real time data. Aside from monitoring your health throughout the day, according to Rackspace, employees wearing wearables at work became 8.5% more productive and 3.5% more satisfied with their jobs.