Unseen Inefficiency: the Hidden Productivity Challenges Facing Businesses

Dakota Murphey avatar
on April 06#best-practices
Workast Project Management app for Slack Teams

One of the biggest challenges business owners and line managers face today is maintaining consistent productivity within the team and keeping ahead of competitors when it comes to knowledge and skills. Often, the gaps in your processes and systems that are hindering your productivity are overlooked and unseen, meaning that they could be affecting your growth and profits for months. 

These are a few of the hidden challenges your business could be facing that may be impacting your business in a negative way.

1. Limited remote communication 

Remote working is commonplace now and as more and more industries find ways to adapt to this way of working, there’s the risk that collaboration and process can slip in the meantime. Meaningless repetition, internal conversations that aren’t detailed anywhere and lost time through a lack of collaboration between in-house and remote employees can have a big impact on productivity in the long-term. 

When employees don’t collaborate on tasks and projects, and fail to communicate with all involved, it can make it harder for everyone to do their jobs well and to schedule. Businesses need to assess work processes where remote employees are concerned and utilize software that can make collaboration easier.

2. Not leveraging IT assets

Staying ahead of tech trends may require capital investment, but in neglecting this area of your business in a bid to save money, you could wind up losing money in the long term through limited productivity. IT assets have a ripple effect throughout the business and impact the quality of work your staff can produce, as well as providing security for databases and internal systems. If you’re using tools that aren’t fit for purpose, it’s naturally going to have a negative impact on the quality of your work and your ability to get through higher quantities of work. 

Whether it’s inflexible systems that aren’t equipped to support business growth or having to deal with costly upgrades that make it impossible to generate positive returns, treating tech as an afterthought could be affecting your business financially in numerous ways. A full tech audit can help businesses identify the tools and devices that are slowing them down, so they can make changes accordingly to boost productivity and support business growth. 

3. Avoiding cybersecurity measures

Security and productivity are constantly in a tug of war in most businesses, but avoiding cybersecurity could wind up costing you – not only in terms of downtime but via the repercussions of ransomware, the impact to your reputation and data loss. Identify hidden vulnerabilities in your organization’s data and network systems instead of leaving unguarded systems open to attack. A cybersecurity incident can:

compromise confidentiality to integrity 

involve unlawful data processing

cause an unauthorized data breach, or 

alter data without consent. 

It’s a huge risk that so many organizations take every time they neglect cybersecurity, and one that can massively affect the productivity of the business. 

In skipping over cybersecurity protection, you’re putting productivity at risk as an attack could leave your entire network down and prevent you from accessing files and data that’s critical to your business. To combat the risks, businesses need to implement cybersecurity incident plans, have training in place to educate staff and invest in monitoring tools that will alert employees to threats so they can take action. 

4. Vague goals

So many business leaders expect productivity without clearly defining goals for their team, but one can’t exist without the other. It’s impossible to evaluate the effect of work or improve staff performances without knowing what you’re measuring against and how to monitor output effectively. Teams need to know why they’re working on a task or project, the deliverables expected and what timeframe they need to work towards. These details may seem inconsequential but without this information, productivity can easily wane. 

When a project is required, setting clear goals and mapping the process with project management tools can ensure that everyone is aware of priorities and time estimates and can track their progress clearly. It’s a simple yet often overlooked step that can have a positive effect on productivity and growth. 

5. Incomplete training

Training plays a vital role in how prepared employees are for their day to day roles, and also unexpected challenges that inevitably will arise. The more prepared you can get your team, the more productive they will be as they won’t be held back by challenges and issues. Most companies look at training as solely a way to advance in a specific role, but that’s not always the case. Staff need to be able to understand the broader sector they work in too and training is essential to assist them with decision-making and critical thinking. Training ultimately helps employees to understand the bigger picture, and that’s vital when it comes to supporting and encouraging productivity, especially when it comes to new staff members. 

To overcome this productivity hindrance, training needs to be factored into the onboarding process to provide staff with education on domain knowledge of the field they’ll be working in, work processes within the company and the duties they’ll be undertaking.

6. The importance of tackling hidden issues

When your internal systems are restrictive, your IT equipment is breaking down on a regular basis and your staff are wasting time as a result of poor communication, your business isn’t achieving its best. And every minute of downtime your organization experiences is another minute that the business is losing money through lost productivity.

These hidden spots of your business operations may seem small in the moment, but over time, they build up to have a big impact. In assessing these areas, you can enhance productivity, scale up and take advantage of increased profits as a result. 

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