The benefits of breaking down your organisation’s productivity barriers


Every organisation starts with a why. Whether you’re a pizzeria passionate about great pizza, a care provider wanting to deliver exceptional service to your users, or a software developer aiming to create fantastic software. There’s always a why.

But as your business matures, you and your team are faced with more and more tasks that must be completed every single day—things like admin, accounts, timesheets, and expenses. But when you and your team focus on these tasks, the real value-adding elements, the things that answer your why, can often fall by the wayside.

So, imagine if time and money were no barrier, what changes would you want to make in your business? What would you and your team want to spend your time doing?

Imagine what you’d be able to achieve if everyone was free to make the most of every second they spend at work. If, rather than getting lost in a sea of admin and paperwork, they were instead able to draw from their talents, feel empowered through trusted autonomy, and make tangible contributions to a shared vision.

But as we all know, these barriers do exist. Those non-core tasks matter; they’re critical to keeping your organisation going. But there are still things that you can do to break down those barriers to productivity. And when you do, you’ll begin to reap the benefits, giving you the freedom to get back to your why.

Read on to find out how you can begin to break down those barriers, and what benefits you could see when you do.

Get connected

93% of the people we spoke to during our recent study on productivity said they need to access information or insight from colleagues either on a daily or weekly basis. Despite the regular need to share data across teams, almost half of mid-sized organisations exist in a ‘supply and demand’ data economy with no direct access to the data they need.

Having a single source of data means staff across different departments, sites, and even remote workers have access to the same information. It helps to retain data integrity and minimise errors because all employees can update information from wherever they are.

Introducing a single source of data can also prevent your team from duplicating effort. Your marketing team can update a customer’s contact details, and that will feed through to your sales people, your account managers, your customer service team. No one is wasting time updating several systems, and everyone is working from the same, up-to-date information.

Furthermore, simple, accurate, and integrated data can not only reduce the need for your team to focus on non-core tasks but can improve their performance of core tasks too. An MIT study found that data driven companies have 4% higher productivity and 6% higher profits.

Give your people the best tools, in the easiest way

Don’t get us wrong: Your team will always need to complete those non-core tasks that keep your business going. Things like absence management, expenses, and other HR and admin tasks won’t take care of themselves. But the right technology can help you to streamline and simplify each of these processes, so they’re no longer a drain on your resources.

How many systems is your organisation using? How many usernames and passwords do you and your team need to remember? How many different screens do you need to log into to do even the simplest things?

When looking at how you can use tech to tackle your productivity problems, it’s essential to focus on quality, not quantity. Rather than investing in a separate system for HR, a different system for accounts, another for marketing, and so on, you could see a real benefit from investing in a system for everyone – one that any individual from any department can use.

We like to refer to this as distributed enablement. With an integrated system, not everyone needs a full software licence for every area, they just need the ability to complete role-specific tasks quickly and easily, so they can focus on the tasks that matter most to them. People are essentially able to self-serve and help themselves to the info they need, as and when they need it, without having to disturb their colleagues with access or data requests, and then waiting for things to be actioned by other people.

Bring your teams together

Facilitating greater collaboration across your business can be a great step in the right direction when it comes to breaking down those productivity barriers and really harnessing the potential within your organisation.

Often, a lot of the problems that prevent collaboration is poor communication. Some organisations are also simply not set up in a way that makes it easy to share and collaborate. Information, for example, may be siloed with only one part of the organisation having easy access to it. This can make it difficult to foster relationships based on trust between departments.

When we work in silos, we don’t make use of each other’s different skills and various points of view - both of which are vital ingredients for innovation. Pooling resources and expertise also makes it easier to work more flexibly, which can help ease the pressure on individuals.

Two easy ways to encourage collaboration is to give everyone access to the same centralised information, and to give your teams easy ways to communicate with each other. You could introduce group chat and instant messaging functions, or how about collaborative spaces hosted on the cloud where teams can share documents and discuss ideas.

By introducing these tools, you can encourage improvements in collaboration across your business, with various departments more likely to understand one another and feel part of a larger cross-functional team.

And as a manager, you can make more informed business decisions based on insights gleaned from your operations as a whole.

To find out more about what improving productivity could do for your organisation and some simple tips for helping you to harness your team's potential, download our e-book Achieving More in a Busy World.

Kickstarting the Economic Engine Room

Why solving the productivity crisis for UK mid-market organisations is essential to economic success, and how to do it.
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