Some of us are feeling the pinch as a fallout of the Coronavirus crisis. Others are fortunate enough to find yourself navigating an influx of demand. Some are working at home. Others are taking extreme preventative measures in the workplace for protection against the risk of COVID-19 infection. We are all going through the same storm, yet we are all in different boats.
Whatever boat you’re in, business as we know it has changed. The need for productivity and efficiency in the workplace however, has not. In fact, some would argue that working smarter, not harder, is more critical than ever as we collectively navigate the uncertainty of the times.
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Productivity vs Efficiency
The terms productivity and efficiency are often used interchangeably. Though similar, there is a subtle difference to be understood.
Productivity describes the effectiveness of effort to get the job done. Efficiency however refers to the reduction of waste – be it resources, time or effort – to achieve the desired outcome.
For example, improving productivity may mean your operators can sweep a larger expanse of warehouse flooring in a single shift. Improving their efficiency however may mean using less water or detergent during the scrubbing process, or getting the sweeping done quicker, while still delivering a great result.
Whether your focus is on productivity gains or improved efficiencies, your goal is likely the same: doing more with less.
Here we offer some simple tips to optimise productivity and efficiency within your business, to set you and your team on the path to success.
1. Prioritise Health and Safety
The top priority of every organization in this time of crisis should be on protecting the health of your employees, customers, vendors and other stakeholders. In addition to your legal obligations and obvious benefits for team morale, you will enjoy the reduction in absenteeism and minimise the risk of potential compensation claims.
Though the rate of confirmed Coronavirus cases in Australia remains low, it is still a risk that needs to be managed. Deploying a remote working plan makes sense for many office-based roles. But this is simply not practical for many essential service businesses such as distribution centres and manufacturing facilities, which would come to a grinding halt without their physical workforce. If you haven’t already done so, it’s time to review your Workplace Health & Safety (WHS) Policies for those still working onsite or in preparation for a return to the workplace. While we’re not proposing measures as extreme as Amazon.com, who have reportedly installed thermal cameras in their warehouses to scan for fevers, we do recommend adapting your policies with more stringent infection control measures.
Conquest can assist with some great solutions for Cleaning and Disinfecting hard floor surfaces, where researchers have determined the virus may live for up to 72 hours. For the safety of your cleaning machine operators, refer to our Guide to Promoting Operator Safety and Avoiding Contamination Risk in Floor Cleaning for some simple steps you can implement at your facility.
2. Don’t underestimate the impact of mental health
While addressing the physical aspect to health and safety is crucial, so too is mental health and wellbeing. In a statement on behalf of Beyond Blue, CEO Georgie Harman said “We know that mental ill health costs the economy $60 billion a year, but we also know that businesses receive an average return on investment of $2.30 for every $1 they invest in effective workplace mental health strategies.” So the financial incentive is definitely there.
As published by the Harvard Business Review, Debra Lerner, a professor at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, notes that presenteeism may be more common in tough economic times, when people are afraid of losing their jobs. Given the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on the global economic climate, many employees cannot recall a time when they have been more concerned about job security, feel the pressure of increased workload and reduced hours, suffer from health anxiety and are disconnected as a result of working-from-home arrangements. Presenteeism and its more obvious cousin, absenteeism, increases with mental ill-health and can significantly impact productivity and your bottom line.
Not all businesses have extensive HR teams. Regardless of the size of your business, there are some simple steps you can take to promote a mentally healthy workplace. Creating a positive and supportive work culture, with open and transparent communication, will go a long way to helping your employees feel supported and alleviate any unnecessary concern. Let them know the measures the company is taking to protect their job and where appropriate, point them in the direction of any government incentives for which they may be eligible to apply. Incorporate mental health in your WHS policy, and if you are in a position to do so, consider wellbeing programs. Any investment you make in mental health will provide more than double the reward, and benefit the productivity of your team.
3. Positively – or negatively – scale for return
Sometimes doing less is more. And sometimes doing more, is more. Confused? Let us explain. Reducing the frequency that a task is performed may seem like a great time-saving measure, as we all hastily review our costs in response to the economic downturn. However, you may discover that the amount of time and effort then required to achieve the same result is increased, proving counterproductive. Using the example of industrial floor cleaning, floor surfaces that are cleaned weekly will build up a greater volume of soil than surfaces that are cleaned daily, requiring greater time and effort to achieve the desired clean. Furthermore, cleaning less frequently typically requires greater cleaning solution to achieve the same result; again, negatively offsetting any efficiency gains.
Rather than downscaling your effort, you may instead find that it is more efficient to simply upgrade your equipment. In doing so, your operators can maintain the frequency yet still reduce their cleaning time. Or, they can cover a greater floor space in the same shift. Our ROI Calculation can help you understand if there are efficiencies to be gained simply by up-scaling your power sweeper or floor scrubber. And there has never been a better time to invest, with the government currently offering a fantastic Instant Asset Write Off allowing most businesses to claim a full tax write off for purchases of new assets up to $150,000.
4. Bring it in-house
If you are feeling the impact of the downturn, you may find that you have staff at a loose end. Rather than standing them down, consider how you could redeploy or cross-train your team to other tasks to create efficiencies across the business. For example, if you are relying on external contractors for tasks such as floor cleaning, you may find it more efficient to bring the task in-house through this time. If this has the potential to become a longer-term solution, then purchasing your own equipment might deliver value for money. Or you may consider bridging a short-term gap with hire equipment.
Conquest Short-Term Hire program allows you to hire the latest and most innovative floor cleaning equipment, with terms starting from as little as one day. We’ll even deliver to your door and provide operators with the training they need to learn a new skill and optimise cleaning performance.
Working smarter, not harder
So while our challenges may all be different, “working smarter, not harder” is the goal we should all be striving to achieve to get us through the challenges of the times.
Conquest offer many flexible and effective solutions that can be tailored to your unique situation, and we’re keen to help with all your hard floor cleaning needs. Contact us for a free virtual consultation to get started.