Surprising Ways to Improve Office Innovation

In the digital age, businesses have to think creatively to compete. A business can’t compete without growth and engagement. If your organization is feeling stuck, you may need a new approach to improve employee productivity, lower costs, and encourage team members to do their best work. By thinking a bit outside the box, your employees will probably follow suit. Here are a few surprising ways you may be able to improve innovation at the office.

Outsource certain tasks

Many business owners feel pressure to do it all. They think taking on every task in-house will allow them to save both time and money. But instead, the DIY approach often leads to costly mistakes, wasted time, and stressed-out employees. All three of those elements can spell disaster for your bottom line.

If you want to grow your business, you’ll need to determine which duties are actually worth doing yourself and which could be better served by outsourcing. You might be put off by the idea of turning to outside sources for IT, PR, or SEO. But as long as you conduct thorough research and keep the lines of communication open, outsourcing can be an excellent way to save time and money while improving the quality and quantity of your output.

The concept of contracting services out to a third party is growing in popularity. In 2017, the global outsourcing market amounted to $88.9 billion. Business owners are realizing that, despite their best efforts, they can’t do it all. And when they try, they actually end up compromising the success of their overall business. Outsourcing can allow employers and in-house employees to use their time, energy, and skills more wisely. Instead of wasting time each time a client needs to be invoiced, companies can opt for payment outsourcing to streamline the process and even speed up receivable rates.

Best of all, this will help to free up your employees and allow them to focus on what really matters: expanding your business. Because they aren’t bogged down in these tedious tasks, they’ll have the time and the energy to devote to innovation. Whether that’s going above and beyond within their given position or taking on projects to find a new way to bring in revenue, you’ll find that the entire company is more efficient when you outsource key tasks. 

Amp up employee appreciation

Employee Appreciation Day has been a part of office life since 1995, but most workers feel that one day of recognition per year isn’t nearly enough to sustain them. And yet, most Americans feel like their best efforts are regularly ignored by their superiors. According to a Gallup analysis, only one in three workers agreed that he or she had received recognition or praise for good work within a given week. That should scare managers and business owners, because employees who don’t feel adequately recognized are twice as likely to quit within the next year.

Simply put, your business cannot grow if it’s dealing with the high costs associated with frequent turnover. No matter how hard your existing employees are working, your company can’t really expand when you’re forced to scramble to find a new hire or you have to go without a key staff person. The cost of losing a single employee can range from $10,000 or up to two times that worker’s salary when all is said and done. For businesses of any size, that can spell disaster.

So what’s the solution? Engage and appreciate your employees on a consistent basis. About 35 percent of employees say a lack of recognition is the most substantial obstacle to their productivity. That means you need to go out of the way to acknowledge their hard work. If you implement an employee recognition program that makes small achievements a big deal, you can show your workers the impact that their daily responsibilities have on the business as a whole — and how necessary they are to your success. Other ways to show your gratitude include benefits packages, paid vacation time, flexible work hours, social events, contests and giveaways, and more. At the very least, consider springing for better office coffee and organizing a monthly breakfast or lunch to show your employees their work hasn’t gone unnoticed. You’d be amazed what some caffeine and some carbs can accomplish.

Add some works of art

The office environment can have a big impact on how your employees feel about where they work. Cultural initiatives can help, of course, but if your workplace is drab with no inspiration in sight, your staff will probably feel just as dull and listless. And that’s no way to improve your overall innovation.

Adding carefully chosen pieces of art can actually change how your employees feel about their workspace (and the entire business). Artwork can boost creativity, relieve stress, and solidify brand messaging. One survey found that 83 percent of employees feel art in the workplace is important — which means it’s too important to ignore. Bored and anxious workers will produce only the bare minimum and leave after a short while. But calm, engaged employees will be more productive, more invested, and more innovative overall, allowing your business to grow as it should.

In the end, the key to innovation comes down to keeping your employees happy, healthy, and engaged. If you take care of those needs, they’ll be more likely to exceed your expectations and stick around for the long term. And that can mean great things for your organization as a whole.

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