Three ways to improve productivity and do more with less after COVID-19

Now more than ever you need to do more with less. This will not only help you to recover from the economic impact of COVID-19 but will also make you a more resilient and prosperous business for the times ahead.

We understand what it takes to build a successful and prosperous business because we have lived it.  The following are three things we adopted that we believe can also help other businesses as they emerge from lockdown and adapt to the new trading environment.

Map your processes

Process mapping is the visual representation of how you deliver the different activities in your business. It provides a framework for everyone to follow and gives clear direction to everyone in the business, especially when things don’t go as planned.

Many businesses know they need to map their processes but have never got around to doing it; or they don’t know where to start.

If you haven’t documented your processes then you are potentially putting your business at risk.

This was the case for our business. Nothing was documented so we were incurring unnecessary cost each time we delivered a new project.  But after we went through a process mapping exercise, we identified areas of simple process improvement and productivity increased by more than 30%.  It also allowed us to create a business operation that could scale, because there was a clear and consistent process that also staff understood and could easily follow.

How to create a simple process map

If you are ready to start mapping your processes take a look at our tutorial video which gives you a simple step by step guide.

Adopt agile working principles

Agile is a way of working that helps deliver a project in the most efficient way possible.  This is because it focuses on iterative delivery, regular feedback and rapidly adapting to changing conditions.

It makes projects and teams very easy to manage as everyone is empowered to make decisions and adapt to change.

Research shows that agile teams are 25% more productive than non-agile teams (source)

You don’t need to be a software house or technology company to adopt agile; it has wide ranging benefits for all types of businesses.  You also don’t need to slavishly follow every aspect of the methodology. If you are entertaining the idea of adopting agile then start by:

  • Backlog all the activities to complete a project
  • Prioritise the activities in order of importance
  • Use a Kanban Board with three columns ‘to-do / doing / done’
  • Daily review with the whole team to see which activities are being worked on and if anything is getting in the way
  • As activities are moved into done collect feedback (from colleagues and/or customer)
  • Adjust the backlog (adding new activities or re-prioritise) as the project develops
  • Project is complete when all activities are moved to the ‘done’ column

At Blue Wren we follow an agile methodology called Scrum. We use it across all areas of our business, not just software development. If you would like to know more Scrum we highly recommend you read: Sutherland J., Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time

Collaboration tools

Adopting team collaboration tools and techniques can have a dramatic impact on improving workplace productivity, especially as remote working becomes the norm.

According to research, companies that promoted remote collaboration are five times more likely to be high performing than companies that did not. This is particularly true if employees are working towards a shared purpose or goal. (source)

Major benefits of collaboration tools include breaking down company silos, allowing information to flow uninterrupted across the business; connecting remote employees in real-time to engage and respond to day to day activity; and providing transparency across all aspects of the business for employees and customers.

Before choosing the collaboration tool that is right for your business, you must first identify the main challenges you are trying to overcome.  This is where process mapping can help to visualise how you operate and identify opportunities to adopt the collaboration tools that will improve productivity.

Time to do more with less

The COVID-19 crisis has presented you in a once in a lifetime opportunity to transform your business into something more resilient, productive and profitable. You now need to do more with less.

We have the expertise and the software platform to help you. So, if you would like to discuss how we can help your business improve productivity, please don't hesitate to get in touch. You can do so by calling the office on 01772 823734 or by visiting our online enquiry form.