5 Ways to Increase Productivity in a Startup

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Running a successful startup proved to be a bigger of a challenge than you had expected it to be?

Clients are still few, and you need to make sure that each and every single one of them is happy with the final result they receive. However, your team is unmotivated and unorganized, there is a lot of miscommunication, and as a result, deadlines might be breached. Something is amiss, and you need to get on top of it – ASAP!

After a quick analysis, it became apparent that your small company has productivity issues – issues that can transform into serious problems if nothing is done about them. But where to start, and which moves can you make to improve the overall productivity of your startup? Well here are five methods to consider that have proven to be helpful in the past.

#1 Keep Track of Time

In the eight working hours during which you need to get things done, some obstacles are bound to appear – not just in front of you, but in front of your team as well. In these cases, time management is of the utmost importance:    

  • Start the timer – Break complex projects into smaller, well-defined tasks and focus on completing just one of them at the time. Not only will you be able to stay on top of your game, but you will be able to bill your clients more precisely.
  • Use time tracking toolsuse to-do list or a time chart that will indicate the approximate time spent on each task and give you a better insight on your team’s performance and productivity.
  • Avoid unnecessary meetings – according to this colorful infographic, office employee spends around 31 hours per month attending unproductive meetings. Plan your day carefully and insist on holding the standing meetings if possible – it’ll be a timesaver.
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#2 Rely on Proper Tools to Increase Productivity

There is an app for everything nowadays: accounting, analytics, social networking, writing or project and customer relation management. But choosing which one to use is the predicament.

For example, many scale-ups have opted for a sort of an alternative for an Email.

Also, when it comes to project planning, task delegating, client correspondence or billing, there are many solutions, but not all of them come in one comprehensive package. There are certain project management tools for startups out there that can improve freshly gathered team’s productivity through collaboration and better internal communications as well as better insight into project progress.

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#3 Try to Make Work Fun!

If possible, let your company culture be built by your employees – if not, try to adopt the existing one to their needs. The positive working environment will make them happy, and having happy employees will result in:

  • Reduced employee turnover maintaining a fun work culture is imperative for employee retention. Workers who feel welcome and valued on daily bases are more loyal to their company, thus less likely to leave.
  • Better efficiency and productivity The effectiveness of a startup can be measured by the productivity of each person employed there. An unhappy and stressed employee will be distracted at the best (negligent at the worst) when it comes to performing their daily duties. Fun equals happiness, and a happy employee is a productive employee.
  • Reputation among potential employees – fun environment can attract talented workers which will provide a better quality of the final product. After that, the math is simple: better product is sold at higher prices, and better turnover will result in the overall growth of company’s value in the financial market.

#4 Invest in Training

Now that you made your team happy, it is time to ensure their satisfaction for the years to come. In the beginning, startups rely on a small number of selected employees to perform a wide array of duties. But later on, as the business grows and evolves, you will be forced to take on some new faces. At this point you should tread lightly: don’t hire too many – the right person for the job may already be at your disposal.

For example: Instead of hiring a Python developer whom you don’t know too much about, why not allow your trusted Php developer to learn Python? He will be grateful for the opportunity, he’ll have his skill-set improved, and on top of that, your company will benefit in the long run. Employees are more likely to stay and dedicate themselves to company’s goals if they feel they can further develop their careers within the organization.

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#5 Adapt Workspace to Your Team’s Needs

According to research conducted by Sheffield Hallam University, there is enough evidence to claim that comfort can affect productivity. And while ‘comfort’ is nearly impossible to measure or quantify, some tips can help you make company’s workspace more “engaging” for your employees:

  • Color all the wallsDepending on your company’s structure, you may have to paint different rooms in various colors: blue for mind work, yellow for creativity, red for manual labor, green for focus – so says the color psychologist Angela Wright.  And if there is any truth to Mrs. Wright’s claims, it is actually a rather small investment for an increased productivity.
  • Provide natural lightaccording to study titled “Impact of Workplace Daylight Exposure on Sleep, Physical Activity, and Quality of Life”, artificial light can harm office workers’ sleep, activity, and quality of life. Big windows, a lot of daylight and blue sky can go a long way when one is looking for an inspiration.
  • Playrooms are the way to goworking for a startup IS stressful, and your team WILL need a place to blow off some steam. Whether is the by the foosball table or any gaming console, short breaks filled with entertainment can prove to be just like power naps – a perfect solution for charging the batteries up and soldering on for another hour or two.

There are many ways to improve productivity at startups, and they all originate from the same premise: an organized and happy employee is a productive employee. Since most startups are digital technology based, it is the people and their skill sets that hold the value. Therefore, make time for your team and analyze their needs – in the future, it will reward you tenfold.

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Rachel is currently working as the vice president of communications at Active Collab. After finishing her master's degree in Communications she pursued a career in the digital industry, most notably in marketing and public relations.

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