With the technological developments of the Fourth Industrial Revolution impacting how we all live, work and relate to one another, a rapid pace of change is happening across all businesses.
This is doubly true in uncertain times, where organizations in every industry are faced with a sudden need to switch to different working styles and make their business the most resilient and flexible.
It's a good time to ask how your business can organize its key processes to deliver the best experience for both your employees and your customers.
With the optimal blend of people, processes and technology, you can make your organization the most adaptable to change and in the best position to thrive.
Here are seven organization tips for businesses to help you continue on the right track.
1. Cut the tech bloat
Goal: Streamline your business tech stack to help your team get the job done most effectively.
Technology can boost your business’s organization, productivity and collaboration. However, there is such a thing as too many tools – otherwise known as tech bloat.
When an organization uses far more apps and tools than it needs, it can quickly experience problems from excessive complexity, distractions and security concerns.
If this sounds familiar, it's time to assess, prune and optimize your business's tech stack.
To keep your technology ecosystem under control and reap the benefits that cloud apps can offer, establish a consistent set of processes using the apps and functions you need to get the job done.
Set the groundwork in place so employees don’t end up trying to juggle a hundred different things at once on too many apps.
2. Build a culture that rewards focus
Goal: Instead of expecting constant communication and collaboration from every team member when they're at their desk, carve out time for every employee to focus on where they deliver the most value.
Staying organized depends on your ability to avoid distractions – which isn't always easy in organizations that have a culture of constant interruption disguised as collaboration.
Common daily time wasters include: using business tools that are too complex or a bad fit for the job; distractions on social media; and manual data entry on multiple different systems that don’t work well together.
Let’s also not forget about the so-called notification fatigue caused by being bombarded by irrelevant notifications and emails every day.
Here are some of the best ways to get rid of the time-wasters in your business:
- Use carefully selected cloud-based tools that everyone in your company knows how to use
- Build an integrated technology ecosystem that maximizes efficiency
- Establish company-wide processes that minimize unnecessary business meetings
- Encourage team members to block out distractions for set periods of focused time
Many of the most organized businesses are those that realize that they don’t have to do things the way they always have.
What processes and assumptions can you rethink to make your business more organized and productive?
3. Migrate to the cloud
Goal: Identify business practices that are still managed via outdated systems or tools, and plan how to replace them with cloud-based workflows and apps.
Almost every business is already using some form of cloud technology, even if it’s nothing more than web-based email. But there’s a lot more to the cloud than many businesses realize.
Whether it’s customer relationship management (CRM), data storage or business automations delivered through the web, almost any digital workload can be migrated to the cloud.
With SaaS tools – or cloud-based apps with a subscription model – your business can escape the physical limitations of desktop computers and enable employees to take their work with them wherever they are.
Continue to bring your business further into the cloud and minimize the back and forth that comes with outdated computing environments.
4. Embrace different working styles
Goal: Create a plan to future-proof your business by embracing different working styles, such as remote working or flexible hours.
From agile startups to enterprises driven by digital transformation, many organizations are already embracing the advantages of different working styles, including enhanced producivity, reduced costs and access to more diverse talent.
But even if your organization is far from ready to enjoy all the benefits of additions such as remote work and flexible hours, making it a long-term priority will help you future-proof your business and make it easier to adapt.
If you're looking to enable more remote working in your business, here are some tips to make the transition as seamless as possible:
- Pivot your company policies to cater to remote work best practices
- Strengthen team communication and collaboration with cloud-based apps such as Slack
- Reduce your reliance on in-person meetings by introducing video call apps
- Adjust your tech stack to focus on cloud-based apps that your team can use anywhere
5. Focus on smaller goals
Goal: Look at company-wide, departmental and individual-level goals to ensure that they are broken down into actionable next steps.
It’s harder for your business to stay organized if you set lofty goals that are both intimidating and difficult to focus on.
In every department and job role, determine the most likely way that your team will be able to reach your key targets before breaking them down into actionable next steps.
With smaller and easily measured milestones, your team will be in the best position to stay focused and avoid burnout and confusion.
6. Go paperless
Goal: Identify what's causing the piles of paper in your organization and create processes to minimize this.
Paper is a common source of disarray in many offices, but a largely avoidable one. If you don’t already have a digital filing system, then it’s time to build one.
Here are some of the best ways to help your business go paperless:
- Attach notes and files to customer records digitally in your CRM
- Use team apps like Google Drive to collaborate on team projects
- Take document signing online with apps such as DocuSign
The more you reduce your reliance on paper, the faster your business will be able to modernize, and the easier it will become to organize your workflows.
Established businesses may have a harder time, since they often still have huge amounts of valuable information in printed documents or on physical digital media.
Start by scanning and digitizing everything and uploading it to a document management system. That’s a lot more organized than having reams of documents and paper receipts piled up around the office!
7. Automate workflows
Goal: Identify what's needlessly consuming time in your organization and determine how you can use automated workflows to free up more time to focus on what matters.
If there’s one thing that kills productivity above all others, it’s cumbersome manual processes that eat up time and leave workflows open to human error.
Manually importing or exporting data between your email marketing software and CRM might not sound like a big deal at first, until you realize you have to do the same thing with lots of other apps and databases. Eventually, the challenges of scale make it practically impossible.
Sage advice holds that anything which can be automated should be automated. You could get started by automating:
- Lead scoring for new contacts in your database
- Sales nurturing email workflows
- Backup and syncing routines between apps
- Customer care processes, such as alerting account managers of support tickets or carrying out NPS surveys
- Enriching data between apps with two-way integrations, such as between your CRM and email platform
The goal should be to unify your technology systems and processes into a cohesive environment in which everyone on your team has access to accurate and current information in real time, no matter where they’re physically located.
With the right tools and data at hand, everyone in your team can stay organized without getting bogged down in repetitive manual tasks or spending hours trying to track down that one key document.
When there's so much going on in your business, staying organized isn't easy. But by streamlining your core processes and looking towards the future, you can meet the challenges of scale and put your business in the best position to thrive in the years ahead.