Optimising your team’s workflow

Vaishnavi Dwivedi

3 mins

Optimising your team’s workflow

We’ve seen that productivity has spiked among employees due to work from home, allowing us a bit of relief and trust. Although, this spike is majorly on an individual level. If we look at it from a team’s perspective, communication gaps are higher than ever. We spend most of our time doing secondary work like writing or responding to emails and attending what feels like a gazillion meetings. 

And it hasn’t necessarily been pleasant for managers. No matter how hard we try, it isn’t easy to accommodate our team onto a streamlined workflow in these trying times. There is no uniformity in our work environment and, subsequently, our circumstances and way of working. 

Teams aren’t the most effervescent now. But there might be a few things that can optimise your current workflow. 

Why waste time say lot word when few word do trick?

We all are prone to miscommunication now more than ever. It is essential to set proper channels for your team members to communicate with efficacy. It would be best if you went out of your way to ensure that everyone on the team is on the same page. Miscommunication is the leading cause of negativity in a workplace, and you need to avoid it at all costs. 

Some ways to ensure efficient communication:

  • Set up separate communication channels for different situations.
  • Set them up based on urgency, importance, and complexity.
  • Define independent channels for conflict and query resolution.

We waste much time waiting for people to respond to our queries or follow-ups. If we have a set channel for urgent stuff, people would be able to get themselves a reply sooner. A wise choice for such a channel would be somewhere everyone is active most of the time and have their notifications turned on. 

The same goes for the unimportant yet relevant stuff. Let’s talk more about that.

Divided by the pandemic, united in spirit

We’ve already established that working from home has diversified the work environment within a team. But a slight sense of belongingness would go a long way to ensure your team is on the right track. It is a central notion in early-stage startups where most of the members are the founding team and are united in spirit with their company’s vision. If your team understands why they’re doing what they’re doing every day, they will feel in control of their situations. 

Here are some ways to ensure your team is united in spirit:

  • Avoid a chaotic overload of irrelevant yet important information on work-related channels.
  • Have a separate playground for experimentation and brainstorming. Similar to Google’s 80/20 policy, refreshing your employees with new sets of ideas and perspectives.
  • Organize weekly hangouts to loosen up and build a better bond with your teammates.
  • Try to have one-on-ones frequently (preferably every week) to understand individual bottlenecks and ensure that everyone on the team is on the same page.

In a remote team, many team members feel invisible at times. And not in a “keep your camera on” kind of way. Your team needs to be consistent and have more inclusive interactions done in the right way. You can tackle this in three ways:

  • Social Visibility: fostering relationships and building positive personal connections in work time. 
  • Supportive Visibility: recognizing good work and giving credit where it’s due while creating equal opportunity situations.
  • Strategic Visibility: letting them have a say on ideas and decisions.

It’s raining; it’s pouring; automation ain’t boring.

In the beginning, we talked about how we waste most of our time in not always-so-futile secondary activities like follow-up emails, meetings, and other things that we do regularly. Automation is the best way to keep your team members productive and help them focus on the stuff that matters. 

Here are a few examples of how you can help your team automate stuff:

Have a bot follow-up for that excel sheet you need for tomorrow’s presentation via email. 

Convert the call to action in your emails into tasks on your favorite productivity tool

Avoid meetings that could have been an email. (not automation, just common sense)

Keep it simple, stupid.

If the tools you use are overly complicated and the workflow you have in place is similar to rocket science, things would worsen. The whole point of having a workflow in place is to ensure that the team is on the right track and can accomplish collective goals with efficiency.

 We don’t want to relive the early “we’re moving to Slack” days when not everyone could wrap their heads around the different complicated features that the platform had to offer. 

Complex tools might make your work more manageable in the long term. But keeping in mind the entire team, it’s best to use the tools they’re familiar with or have a flat learning curve. After all, we are trying to focus on the stuff that matters. 

When your team is remote, you need the right tools to ensure everyone stays on the same page and consistently executes without micromanagement. 

Remember, there is no such thing as an optimal workflow applied in every use case, achieving desired results. Customization of workflows according to the needs of a team is a must-have for positive impact.

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