It’s the little things: five quick tips for SMEs

Whoever coined the term ‘it’s the little things’ was absolutely right and it works in so many areas of our lives when it comes to having gratitude and making things work.

First published on Thursday, Aug 13, 2020

Last updated on Thursday, Aug 13, 2020

4 min read

Business owners in their busy lives might just forget it’s the little things that can improve business efficiencies, so maybe now's the time to go back to basics.

Encourage employees to chat face-to-face

When did it become old-fashioned to have a simple face-to-face conversation to the person sitting opposite you? If you find your employees consistently sending emails or chat messages to co-workers, encourage them to get up every once in a while, stretch their legs, put one foot in front of the other until they reach their target and – gasp – talk.

There are two main benefits to this. First, email or instant messaging is not always the quickest way of getting an answer. In fact there's usually much to-ing and fro-ing, so it can take even longer. Talking to each other can speed up the process of finding answers and solving problems. Second, so much of what is communicated between people is non-verbal. And your employees will learn a lot from each other simply by seeing the other’s facial expressions and body language, avoiding the potential for miscommunication.

Single-task every once in a while

It’s not always going to be appropriate to single-task, but when you do, you'll be more productive and get through tasks quicker.

Single-tasking refers to focusing on one thing, with minimum interruption, until it is completed, whether it's a whole project or simply responding to all your flagged emails. Block out some time to concentrate on that task alone, it’s good for the soul to get things completed and crossed off your to-do list. While you may be used to multi-tasking, and it may seem more efficient, increased focus on one task alone will get it done better and faster and increase your creativity, energy and focus.

Set goals – for yourself and your employees

It’s always better to have a target to reach rather than meander aimlessly around without direction. Setting goals for everyone in the business can provide focus and clarity. Make them clear, specific and tangible and then make a plan around how you are going to reach them, mapping out any challenges and opportunities that you could meet along the way. Seeing them become a reality will be motivational, whilst your business benefits too.

Decide to delegate

As your business grows, you will have to concentrate on the more important, high priority tasks and so rely on your workforce to free up some of your time.

Delegating is not easy for many business owners, but it is critical to avoid burnout. And while you might not believe anyone could possibly do a job as well as you, the truth is, in many instances, they can. Start off by giving employees small responsibilities and see how they are handled. When you see them being done well, it will help build trust in these employees and you can start delegating bigger tasks. Think of it this way too: delegating helps employees develop their skills, knowledge and abilities, and you will be empowering your workforce to work independently and feel valued, whilst at the same time delivering more value.

Reward employees who can improve business efficiency

As simple as it sounds, not every business rewards its employees for showing initiative when it comes to increasing productivity, cutting costs or streamlining processes. If an employee can do any of these things, and so contribute to making your business a success, then show your gratitude with an extra day off, a small bonus or a weekend away paid for by the company.

For more tips and advice, we at BrightHR have created a ‘Play and Productivity’ report in partnership with author and productivity expert, Graham Allcott. You can download it for free at here

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