Bottlenecks are those pesky hiccups in workflow that can cause massive backups in productivity if you don’t get past them quickly. Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for handling workplace bottlenecks. Bottlenecks have various causes, and eliminating them requires an answer that fits the problem.
Bottleneck 1: Slow Team Members
Let’s say you have a project that requires input from every member of your team. It needs a little IT work, some accounting, a run through HR and a touch of promotion before it goes out into the world. The accounting department is swamped, though, with year-end tax work and budgeting. The project passes through IT without a hitch and stalls as no member of your accounting department has time to work on it.
Solution: Store it in the Cloud
Storing company files on a cloud server gives every member of your team simultaneous access to a big project. So instead of the project stalling with accounting, the human resources and marketing departments can access the file, do their parts, and, once accounting completes its section, the project will be ready to roll. Use software like Sharepoint to enhance your server’s collaboration potential.
Bottleneck 2: Missing Information
So, accounting is still busy with necessary year-end duties. Those tasks are top-priority, and everyone in the department is working their hardest from the second their butts hit their seats in the morning to the time they wearily clock out in the evening. You have a potential investor, though, who wants to see your full business outline. They have to budget too, so they need they it ASAP—but the accounting department is simply too busy to do the research.
Solution: Incentivize the Task
It’s not your accounting department’s fault that year-end is a rough time for them, so make it worth their while. If you need year-end done and some numbers for your investor too, put some more time on the clock. Schedule a couple nights of overtime when year-end is put aside and that research work gets done.
Bottleneck 3: Tasks That are Too Hard…or Too Easy
Do you have someone in IT who enters the number of visitors from your company website into a spreadsheet each month? No wonder she’s trying to poke her eyeballs out with a pencil.
How about a monthly project that is so labor-intensive that it sits in the department “to do” box for days as employees choose to work on other projects until finally an unlucky employee runs out of work, plucks the undesirable project from the box, and cries on the way back to his desk with it?
Projects that are too hard, or too easy, can both be bottlenecks because no one wants to do them.
Solution: Eliminate and Clarify
No one in your office should be manually entering numbers from a website, so if that archaic task still exists in your office, it’s time to get a computer programmer to write a script to automate it once and for all.
While some tasks are more difficult than others, few office tasks are as impossible as they may seem. Eliminate headaches on difficult tasks by writing up step-by-step guidelines whenever a seemingly impossible task comes in. Then, the next time the same problem comes up; it won’t be a bottleneck.
Completely ridding your office of bottlenecks is a dream, not a reality. By being ready for bottlenecks as they arise, though, you can squeeze through them and keep work flowing. A productive office is a profitable office, so don’t let bottlenecks put the squeeze on your company.