Downtime is a common problem in many workplaces, but a lot of business owners aren’t very practical in their approach to it. You need to tackle it from several avenues, considering all the things that lead to lost work time. Here’s a quick guide to alleviating this serious productivity problem!
Time tracking and task management
So how much downtime are you having to deal with in your office?
Many business owners know they have problems with downtime, but this is really nothing more that a recognition of a relatively vague problem. Do you keep track of that downtime? If you notice any, make a note of it. Record how long it lasted, as well as the cause. This gives you data that can help you prevent the problem.
Of course, if there’s been a malfunction then you need to make sure the resultant downtime isn’t really downtime at all. Sure, the main task may be blocked, but does this mean you should treat the downtime as an impromptu break? You shouldn’t waste work hours.
Keep employees focused; make sure there’s another task they can shift their time and energies towards. However, don’t just hand out arbitrary tasks.
A coffee machine
This may seem like an odd thing to bring up, but you’d be surprised just how important the provision of a quick coffee dose is when it comes to reducing downtime. Caffeine proves to be a powerful and efficient stimulant that increases energy and motor function.
Let’s face it — sometimes we just need some more coffee before we can face a particular problem to the best of our ability. That or our caffeine addictions start to scream, “MORE COFFEE!” at us so loudly that we can’t concentrate on anything else!
In an office without a coffee maker, this is what happens — employees head to the kitchen. They wait for the kettle to boil. Other employees walk in wanting coffee. The kettle has to be filled more than once and before you know it your employees start chatting. The water cooler break hasn’t even happened as yet!
Sure, these ‘mini-breaks’ can be useful for employee satisfaction, but they can end up being massive time-sinks. Consider getting a coffee maker installed.
An external level sensor switch can help prevent the fluid levels getting to ‘empty’ unexpectedly. With all of this mind, try to think of other time-saving resources for the kitchen.
Many would say that the cause of most downtime in the workplace is human error. This could very well be true in certain production facilities, but this isn’t often the case in modern offices. Often, downtime is caused by technical problems.
Internet connection issues, hardware failures, unexpected mandatory updates (looking at you, Apple). If you want to make sure these problems are solved as quickly as possible, then make sure you’ve got a strong and reliable I.T. department!
Of course, what would be even better than fixing the problems? That’s right: if you were able to prevent the problems from ever occurring in the first place. One way of achieving this is to invest in better equipment, but even these need regular maintenance over time to prevent problems.
Better computers won’t help with most Internet issues, though. Make sure you’re working with a reliable ISP (Internet service provider) that can provide high-speed Internet.