15 January 2013

Can you improve your communication and efficiency this year?

Google recently interviewed 3,500 small business employees about their work-related hopes for the year, including any problems they come across. While the findings are only representative of a small number of people, the information gives insights on possible trends. Those questioned said that making efficiencies and increasing communication would represent a strong start.

More than three-quarters of those questioned said that they have made work-related New Year resolutions.

  • 71% said that they find work “tough” with long working hours and a lack of teamwork thought to be partly to blame.
  • 38% said that their workload was heavier in the last 12 months than in 2011, suggesting that there has been an increase in pressure across this time.
  • 54% revealed that they face email problems every week, with the mailbox filling up thought to be the most prominent problem.

What you can do

One of the easiest ways to make changes that will have a positive effect is by consulting with staff first. After all, any changes will probably affect them. Communicating your thoughts with them can have wide-ranging benefits. For example, it not only instills a feeling of responsibility, it gives workers a voice and allows managers to help those at the lowest levels.

Communicating with your customers

It’s not only between different company levels where it is important to communicate. Customers, too, expect good communication.

As Neil Delaney, director of small and medium businesses for EMEA at Google Enterprise, said after the firm’s research was published: “With so many resolving to work more efficiently, perhaps 2013 will be a turning point where we see more small businesses working smarter, collaborating more effectively with their colleagues and customers, and accessing the tools needed for better communication.”

Christian Mouysset, co-owner of Hummus Bros, also told Google that communication is critically important to the performance of a business.

“In order to continue to drive growth and be successful, it’s important for me to be able to communicate and collaborate with my customers, my suppliers and my staff as easily and quickly as possible. With three different sites, it is getting harder and harder for my business partner and I to oversee every aspect of the business from one location, but we still need to make sure that communication lines are constantly open with staff and customers, wherever we are,” he said.

“Having online access to emails, documents and calendars is massively important to us, making it quicker and easier to do everything from scheduling the managers’ meeting to responding to customer queries and collaborating on new recipes.”