Startups are famous for demanding 60 to 80-hour work weeks, where team members may or may not get major holidays off. They’re also famous for getting a lot done in a short period of time, though that varies from company to company. The best organizations have a few tricks that dramatically improve productivity, and these can often be adopted by other groups. Halkin leading supplier of managed and serviced offices, who have worked with hundreds of companies share 5 of their top productivity hacks for startups.
Remove the Distractions
Distractions drag on your productivity. Set up cubicle walls and let people wear earphones as they listen to music. Ask people to limit their casual web surfing to breaks. Get rid of the noisy office equipment and replace it with something quieter, or else move it to where it won’t interrupt other people. Ask people to turn off the audio notifications that they’ve received a new text message or instant message. In short, remove the distractions.
Consolidate Your Toolbox
It is easy for people to pick up half a dozen software tools in the search for the best functionality. Unfortunately, this divides your time between half a dozen tools, and it often results in wasteful duplicate data entry. Consolidate your toolbox. Find two or three key tools such as project management software, supply chain management or ERP software, and an office suite. Make sure that whatever you use can connect or automatically share data with the other tools you have. A side benefit of this will be faster onboarding for any new team members you get.
Eliminate Almost All of Your Meetings
Never hold meetings because you think you’re supposed to hold meetings. The classic example is the weekly team meeting where everyone reports their status. Use project management tools to see what is happening in real time. Meet with specific individuals or teams to deal with problems as they arise. Don’t pull everyone away from their work to give a report of what they did this week. And if you do hold regular meetings like sprints in software development, end it once that phase of the project is over. When you do have a meeting, keep it focused on a set agenda. Have breakout sessions afterward for specific issues that don’t take up everyone else’s time.
Move into a Managed Office
Moving into a managed office like those offered by Halkin can be a massive time saver for startups. You can choose the office to move into, and it is already ready for you. You don’t have to buy furniture, set up phone or internet service, or shop for copiers. You move into a well-known location in the commercial district instead of a small, cheap office. Your lease is typically month-to-month, and service is scalable. If you need to rent a conference room for an afternoon or an additional suite of offices for the week, it is an additional line item on that month’s invoice. You gain access to a premium location at a reasonable price, and you typically pay less for amenities like security or fully stocked break rooms because the cost is divided among all the tenants.
Do the Hardest Tasks First
It is human nature to want to procrastinate and thus try to avoid the unpleasant tasks. This often results in surfing the internet, talking to peers and doing low priority work instead of what must be done. A good way to eliminate that tendency is to do the hard tasks first. Review the financial reports, pay your taxes, give the underperformer their feedback and otherwise do what you really don’t want to do first. A side benefit of this approach is that you won’t let problems fester until they get so bad you can’t ignore them any longer. Get it done and out of the way.