6 simple ways to cut business costs

August 11, 2017

Running a small business is no easy feat. Without the economies of scale from which large corporations can benefit, small businesses can sometimes end up spending more on a whole host of things, including business travel, employee turnover, insurance and professional services. Here, we share with you 6 quick tips for keeping your operations lean and cutting business costs.

1. Share office space

Property is expensive and rental costs can take up a significant portion of your expenditure. If you’re a small business owner with a lean team, consider ditching your office space and working from a co-working space such as The Hub and The Working Capitol in Singapore, or Paperclip in Hong Kong. These arrangements often include office equipment, Internet access and meeting spaces. Prices typically vary depending on whether you choose a hotdesk, a dedicated desk or an office room, so you get to choose an arrangement that fits your needs. Beyond saving on rental and utility costs, you also earn yourself a community of entrepreneurs from whom you can exchange insights when your business is stuck in a rut.

Source: Paperclip

However, there might be crucial reasons why your business needs to operate from its own office space, such as the need to maintain confidentiality of certain information. If your square area is bigger than what you need, consider renting out excess office space to non-competing businesses! This is a practical way to minimise costs while maximising access to office facilities. Be sure to have in place a Co-working Space Application Form and Terms of Use to align both parties’ expectations in terms of what facilities the user can access, the monthly charge for rent, and the date for rent payment.

2. Tap on the power of pooling

Given that large companies often save costs because of economies of scale, why not try to reap the same benefit as a small business? Reach out to other businesses in your industry that purchase from the same suppliers as you do. Based on your combined purchasing power, decide on the amount of savings you want – say, a 25 percent cut. Then, reach out to suppliers and let them know that you are collectively going to buy from the one vendor that offers the best price. To make it a sweeter deal for the supplier, you could work out an arrangement where you work exclusively with them for a sustained period of time. Purchasing in bigger quantities ups your bargaining power, and suppliers will be more inclined to give you discounts!

3. Use efficient time strategies

In the business world, time is money. Top time-wasters that threaten your employees’ productivity include social media sites, socialising with co-workers, personal business, excessive or prolonged breaks, and unnecessary or inefficient meetings. By having your employees work in a more focused and efficient manner, you can get more bang for your buck. Here are some quick tips for helping everyone stay focused during working hours:

  • Use website blockers. While employees can simply turn to their smartphones, it is apparently more inconvenient and obvious to surf the Internet from a mobile phone.
  • Implement an Internet policy that is clear and consistent on what is allowed and what is not.
  • Use tracking software to create more structure and accountability and more effectively monitor your employee time use.
  • Challenge employees in terms of their initiative, decision-making and creative skills since bored employees are more likely to be distracted.
  • Be more visible by spending more time on the office floor. The mere presence of management is a deterrent to time wasting.
  • Give rewards to the most productive workers or the most efficient team.
  • Streamline meetings.

Source: OPEN Forum

Related reading: Our CEO’s favourite productivity tools

4. Have virtual meetings & use collaboration tools

Instead of travelling to meet clients or partners, having virtual meetings can help you minimise travel expenses and reduce the need for office space.

Source: Slack

Technologies such as Google Drive, Basecamp and Slack help to centralise documents and enables you to collaborate online, as an alternative to physical meetings with paper documents. If you really require a real-time discussion, simply meet via conference call. This provides you increased flexibility. If one participant is only needed for a few minutes, invite him into the meeting only when necessary rather than have him spend hours at a physical meeting. You also save on costs associated with travel and free up time to focus on other important tasks.

5. Market online

Given that print advertising is expensive, take a look at cheaper alternatives. Instead of relying on traditional marketing, build your online following and increase social media use. This will allow your business to build a brand on the Internet, which is increasingly the primary resource that potential customers go to when making purchasing decisions.

  1. Grow your social networks. Social networks allow you to do many things for free, including alerting followers about promotions, offering customer support and instant feedback, and connecting with brand influencers and other brands in your space.
  2. Think in terms of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). By using simple free ways to boost your chances of landing within top search engine results, you can acquire new customers looking for terms related to your product.
  3. Give benefits for referrals. While acquiring new customers is an obvious priority, keeping the ones you have and giving them incentive to grow your network for you saves money.
  4. Share valuable content. According to this HubSpot study, 82% of marketers who blog daily and 57% of marketers who blog monthly acquired a customer because of the blog.

Source: Forbes

Related reading: 7 Online Marketing Tips For Your Small Business

6. Use tech to save costs

When you’ve trimmed the fat by cutting unnecessary expenses and keeping costs under check, sometimes the only way to further cut costs is to harness technology. Technology cuts business costs by allowing us to cheaply and easily outsource tasks we don’t have time or talent to take on, especially where hiring employees to do some of this work would be costly and impractical. For HR and payroll software, there is Gpayroll, Talenox and HReasily to manage your HR needs more affordably and efficiently. As for accounting, Xero helps you manage invoicing and bookkeeping affordably for your small business.

  • Automate wherever possible. With the boom in SaaS tools there’s a way to automate at least the routine parts of nearly every business function.
  • Move IT infrastructure to the cloud. If and when your needs grow, you just upgrade to a higher package with no fixed costs or depreciation involved. Your data can safely reside on cloud-based storage systems like Dropbox or Google Drive.
  • Opt for free apps and tools. If you only look a little carefully, you’ll find a free version for nearly every software that your business uses daily.
  • Invest in green technology. Even something as simple as using double sided printing instead of single sided, can save hundreds of trees and stationery costs annually.

Source: Entrepreneur

When it comes to managing your legal needs, Dragon Law is a tech tool that checks all the boxes. You might find that it is too costly to hire an in-house lawyer or a law firm to draft your legal documents. Rather than neglect the legal needs of your business, why not join the more than 3000 businesses that rely on Dragon Law daily and opt for an online tool that helps you cut costs?

As a Dragon Law subscriber, you can:

  • Gain access to a vast document library that you can customise for your needs with our simple-to-navigate Q&A interface.
  • Eliminate unnecessary face-to-face meetings or repeated back-and-forth over email with our e-sign function – simply invite the other party to sign the legal document via our platform.
  • Avoid printing lengthy legal documents as you get to store all your legal documents in the cloud, where it is easily accessible even when you’re on the go.

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What is a Social Media Policy?

August 4, 2017

Picture the following scenarios: Your employee Tweets a photo containing confidential information about your company. Another employee posts derogatory remarks about a team member on his Facebook page. In such cases, is there any action you can take as an employer to regulate your employees’ conduct on social media platforms at your workplace?

This is where a Social Media Policy comes into the picture. With businesses becoming more social and projecting their image in the online world, what your employees post on their personal social media accounts can influence how your company is perceived.

What is a Social Media Policy?

A Social Media Policy, sometimes known as an Online Policy or a Responsible Use of Social Media Policy is a document that sets out the responsibilities and obligations that your employees must follow when using social media. This ensures that your employees know the extent to which using social media accounts is permitted at work, as well as what they should consider when using social media outside of work.

Why does my company need a Social Media Policy?

While your employees may be posting via their personal social media accounts, it may sometimes be in your interest to set expectations for acceptable and unacceptable use of social media in relation to your company. Your company may find a Social Media Policy beneficial for the following reasons:

    • Protect your company’s reputation: What your employees post on a public platform about your company can have implications for your company’s brand, and it is better to be safe than sorry when it comes to protecting your brand;
    • Set standards for employee use: A Social Media Policy helps to establish clear guidelines for employees and empowers them to assert their presence on social media to the benefit of your company without worrying that what they are sharing on social media could negatively impact their career;
    • Create consistency across channels: For public facing employees, it is beneficial to clearly lay down brand standards regarding the appearance and tone of their social media accounts. This would help clients identify your employees and engage with them.

Adapted from Hootsuite

Apart from the benefits that a positive social media image provides for your company, it is necessary to remember that your employees are also entitled to personal data rights and freedom of speech. As such, a Social Media Policy would have to balance between these two sets of interests, by setting out acceptable and unacceptable conduct of employees both within and outside of working hours, as well as post-employment.

In addition, cyberbullying is another situation that a Social Media Policy can address. This would show that your company takes these issues seriously and has provided a guide to meet and tackle such situations.

How should I get my employees on board with the company’s Social Media Policy?

  • Gather your team. Involve your employees in developing your Social Media Policy as they are the ones who are best aware of the key areas of risk that need to be managed properly;
  • Focus on creating culture. Social media is dynamic. Acknowledge the social media cultural values of transparency, consistency, connection, creativity and promptness, and build processes that emphasise training, support and evaluation with these values in mind;
  • Separate overall policies from site-specific guidelines. Given that the social media landscape changes constantly, policies that are too narrowly focused on a single social media site may go out of date quickly. Think about the big picture;
  • Emphasise education. It is important to provide cyber-safety education to your employees to prevent problems before they start. This includes both job-related training to staff engaged in social media on your company’s behalf, as well as general Internet safety for all employees;

Adapted from Social Media Examiner

What should I include in a Social Media Policy?

When drafting a Social Media Policy, it is important to focus on a number of key clauses, including the following:

  • Full name of the employee;
  • Employee’s permission to use social media during working hours;
  • Person responsible for this Social Media Policy;
  • Media-related enquires regarding this Social Media Policy; and
  • Who is responsible for ensuring your company’s employees comply with the laws on intellectual property.

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5 tips for finding the right coworking space for your small business

August 2, 2017

Thinking about starting a business or expanding an existing business into another country? Whichever situation you’re in, there’s one thing you would need to think about – office space. While companies conventionally rented their own office spaces, the evolution of work habits has opened up a plethora of other options. For small businesses with limited time and resources, the rise of coworking spaces in the last decade has made office spaces much more accessible and affordable.

Coworking movement enthusiasts will rattle off the many benefits that coworking spaces offer you: collaborative networks, built-in resources, a dynamic ecosystem that fosters innovation, and a more convenient way to start a business. In addition, these membership-based workspaces where diverse groups of freelancers, remote workers and other professionals work together in a shared setting can have benefits for your team too:

  • Workers who use coworking spaces see their work as meaningful. Working among people engaging in different kinds of work makes one’s own work identity stronger as workers frequently have the opportunity to describe what they do, use their unique skill set to help other community members, and share in the coworking movement’s values of community, collaboration, learning and sustainability.
  • Workers have more job control. As coworking spaces are typically accessible 24/7, they offer both structure and flexibility. People can decide which times of the day during which they wish to work, while being part of a community that provides discipline.
  • Workers feel part of a community. A big draw of coworking spaces is the opportunity to connect with individuals from diverse backgrounds. Socialising isn’t compulsory or forced and members can choose when and how to interact with others, thus fuelling a strong sense of identity within the community.

Source: Harvard Business Review

Here, we give you five tips on how to select a coworking space for your startup or small business.

1.Find a fit for your company culture

With the growth in the coworking movement, there is now a wide range of coworking spaces, each with their own distinct culture and community. It is thus important to properly assess your company’s culture and needs in order to ensure there is a good match. When evaluating your options, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What’s your ideal location?
  • How often do you need to meet with clients and potential business partners?
  • Do you need a space that’s accessible on weekends and holidays?
  • Does your team prefer a quieter work environment?
  • Do you want a private office or desks within a shared space?
  • Is socialising with other entrepreneurs important?
  • Do you want access to mentors, advisors or service providers?
  • Would you prefer a space that’s a nonprofit, for-profit, or backed by venture capitalists?
  • Do you anticipate needed access to conference rooms on a frequent basis?
  • Is it close to public transportation?
  • Is a gym membership included?

Adapted from Built In Chicago

2. Find a community you want to be a part of

A big advantage of being in a coworking space is the opportunity to connect people with other interesting experiences to bring to the table. It is thus important to find a community that you want to be a part of – whether this is social entrepreneurs, the tech crowd, or early stage startups. The coworking space may also be for-profit, not-for-profit, or funded by an incubator or accelerator.

All around the world, the combinations are diverse. The Arcade in Melbourne, Australia is a not-for-profit space that targets game developers and other creative companies that utilise gaming methodologies and technologies.

Dragon Law’s Co-Founder Emmanuel Pitsilis in Show Me the Money! organised by Hong Kong coworking space Paperclip. Emmanuel shared the stage with other startups to shed light on what investors look for and how startups can meet their needs.

With an enriching community, you are placing yourself in an environment where you can seek inspiration, learn from the way other businesses work and even land yourself opportunities for collaboration. When you have found the right community for your company, here are some tips for how to leverage that network and maximise the value it brings to your company:

  • Attend events in your coworking space. Many coworking spaces organise and host events that add value to their members. An example is the global movement Fuckup Nights, where individuals share their business failure stories to spark discussion, which is often held in coworking spaces such as Impact Hub all around the world.
  • Host events in your coworking space. Make use of the community spaces for your own events, such as launch parties or workshops.
  • Eat lunch in the community area. A quick chat with someone over lunch has the potential to evolve into a fruitful partnership.
  • Suggest a work trade. When you meet someone who offers you something you need, offer something that person needs in return. This will also spread the word about the products or services that you offer.
  • Offer useful promotional materials. Share your company swag with others in the space, whether this is a notebook or post-it pads with your company name on it. This is a great way of strengthening your brand identity and generating awareness about your company.

Adapted from Entrepreneur and Built In Chicago

3. Ensure that the facilities available meet your needs

Apart from the people, make sure that you don’t neglect the physical work environment when searching for a coworking space. Think about both the macro and the micro. Look at the layout of the space and ensure that it is built for collaboration and productivity, instead of being another cubicle jungle. If your company has frequent client meetings, check that there are open spaces such as a café, or meeting rooms you can book if you need more privacy.

Apart from the office layout, check that the coworking space offers the office tools that you need, such as printers, fax machines and WiFi connectivity. More importantly, ensure that the space has good workspace management and that there are dedicated staff to maintaining the space and office equipment. You don’t want to be the one dealing with printer problems or electrical outages.

4. Test drive the space before committing to it

Many coworking spaces offer the opportunity for a trial use of the space before you sign on the dotted line. EngineRoom in Australia in offers a free 3-day guest pass while Impact Hub Singapore organises open house tours for you to check out their team rooms, events spaces, meeting rooms and quirky break-out spaces.

During your trial use of the coworking space, look out for the following things:

  • Management and cleanliness;
  • Dynamics of the other companies in the space;
  • Noise levels and distractions;
  • Office temperatures;
  • Pantry provisions;
  • Package delivery; and
  • WiFi connectivity.

While these may seem trivial, they contribute to your overall experience in the space. Perks such as free beer on Friday evenings are an added bonus, but more crucially, a comfortable coworking space will help your team feel at home and maximise productivity during the work day.

5. Check that the lease terms are suitable for your company

When you decide on a coworking space, you would need to sign an agreement with the coworking space provider. Think about your company’s bottom line. In particular, consider whether the rent (whether per desk or per company) is reasonable, and whether there are additional costs involved in the form of deposits, printing charges, and furniture purchases.

In addition, think about how flexible the agreement is and whether it offers your company room to grow. For instance, look at the requirements on how much notice you have to give before moving out. If you are not sure where your company will be in the next few months, it would be better to sign a month-to-month lease instead of a year-long agreement.

If you have excess space in your office and are thinking about turning your office into a coworking space, you would need a Co-working Space Application Form and Terms of Use to set out the terms under which you will work together. This is a practical way to acquire income and minimise costs while maximising access to office space. Make sure that your lease allows you to enter into such an agreement. When drafting the Co-working Space Application Form and Terms of Use, look out for the following key clauses:

  • Details about the owner;
  • Details about your applicant;
  • Number of seats required by the applicants;
  • When the applicant intends to move in;
  • How long the user intends to use the premises;
  • What facilities the user can access;
  • Between what hours and which days each week the user can access the premises; and
  • Monthly charge for renting out the premises and the date for rent payment.

With Dragon Law available in Australia, Hong Kong, New Zealand and Singapore, you can rely on us to provide you with the right legal documents so that you don’t have to worry about legal as you enter new markets to expand your business.

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Do you have any other tips for selecting the right coworking space?

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Are You Aware Of Workplace Larceny?

July 31, 2017

Employee theft, commonly known as larceny, is defined as any stealing or misuse of an employer’s assets without permission. While most might immediately assume that theft in this instance refers to cash only, in fact, workplace larceny involves more than just cash. In most businesses, there are much more valuable items than cash that employees can steal from a company.

What do employees normally steal from their employers?

While money is typically the most common asset stolen from employers, other common items that employees normally steal include office supplies such as stationery or mobile devices as well as company merchandise, such as products that are meant to be sold to customers. Moreover, employees can also steal intangible items from employers such as time and information. When employees steal time from the company, it refers to paying the employee for the time that he or she did not work. This typically happens through falsifying time keeping records. Likewise, employees can also steal confidential company information such product designs or trade and clientele secrets.

Given that some of these items are not tangible, there are many different things that employers have to consider when trying to protect their assets. Moreover, protecting these assets will require a lot of time and money investment. While large companies might have the capital to do so, small businesses unfortunately lack the supplies in these two areas.

Types of workplace larceny

Theft in the workplace is a big problem that affects many businesses. In order to tackle workplace larceny, businesses have to first understand the various methods used by employees to steal from the company. Here are some of the common types of employee theft reported in most organisations.

1. Embezzlement

Embezzlement refers to theft by someone who is in the position of trust and legally allowed access to cash or the items that they are stealing. For instance, if customers were to deposit funds into their bank accounts by entrusting the money to a bank teller, who then takes the cash for his or her own purposes, that is considered embezzlement.

2. Skimming

Removing of cash or property from the organisation before it has been recorded is considered skimming. In this case, skimming can be done by any employee who has access to incoming cash or assets before it is recorded. This often includes salespeople, tellers or cashiers. In the workplace, skimming can lead to greater implications as opposed to embezzlement as it is much harder to detect missing cash or assets that have never been recorded in the first place.

3. Fraudulent Disbursements

This type of workplace theft refers to employees using the company’s internal systems in an illegal way to benefit themselves. Essentially, fraudulent disbursements can come off as legitimate company activity and similarly, can be difficult to detect as well.

4. Stealing of business opportunities.

Finally, this type of theft does not refer to tangible items being stolen but rather, highly confidential and valued information such as client lists, company’s trade secrets as well as business discussions. Such theft occurs most commonly when an employee leaves an organisation to work for a competitor in a similar industry. In this case, that particular employee takes with them the knowledge of client lists and insider information on their previous company.

Preventing employee theft

As businesses comes in various sizes and types, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to address workplace larceny. While some companies, particularly larger organisation, have the capacity to hire a dedicated team to tackle employee theft, small businesses are unable to afford such dedicated security. In turn, this makes them more susceptible to workplace larceny.

However, businesses, regardless large or small, can take certain precautions to prevent employee theft. One method is to be cautious on who the organisation hires, such as running background checks on all potential hires. Similarly, it is important to have anti-theft policies in place and hold regular meetings to reiterate the importance of these anti-theft policies. Apart of this, it is every employees’ responsibility to stay vigilant and to report any suspicious or fraudulent activities. While businesses everywhere might have experienced some form of theft, it has to be a combined effort of all employees to prevent and deter any form of workplace larceny.

This is a guest post from RenQun Huang at Gpayroll
Want to read more articles related to payroll, HR & technology? Visit us at Gpayroll

6 things you can do right now to improve workplace productivity

July 26, 2017

Defined simply, productivity is the amount of value produced divided by the amount of resources required to do so. Technological advancements have improved workplace productivity by leaps and bounds, but sometimes our level of productivity boils down to our individual habits and office culture. According to a research project of 200 knowledge workers in four organisations, boosting productivity requires managers and employees to reduce the five barriers that constrain interactions:

  1. Physical barriers. Geographic distance and difference in time zones both hinder productivity.
  2. Technical barriers. The lack of effective tools for collaboration is an example of a technical barrier that limits productivity.
  3. Social or cultural barriers. Rigid hierarchy or ineffective incentives means that employees are not engaged.
  4. Contextual barriers. This refers to obstacles that prevent employees from sharing and translating knowledge obtained from colleagues in different fields, departments or divisions.
  5. The barrier of time. The perceived lack of time may prevent valuable interactions from taking place, thereby hindering productivity.

Source: McKinsey Quarterly

By taking steps to reduce these barriers, your productivity-improvement efforts will be effective in increasing the efficiency of your workers. Here, we give you five tips for how to go about improving productivity in the workplace:

1. Take the lead in organising work processes

Perpetually feeling like you’re out of time? Our CEO recently wrote about how everyone is always ‘swamped’, ‘stressed’, and ‘under a stack of pressure’. Given that productivity is about producing more value with less resources, the natural thing to do is to streamline work processes for your team.

In the office, take the lead in driving more efficient and streamlined work processes. The first step is to set goals for your team while making sure that this corresponds to your team’s capacity to execute them. Next, meet your team members one-on-one to communicate the priorities and expectations for their individual roles. Be explicit about how much time to want them to devote to tasks that crop up unexpectedly, whether this is a client pitch meeting or internal brainstorming meeting. Spending a few minutes jotting down ideas or an hour coming up with a comprehensive mind map makes a huge difference in the quality of the work, and setting clear expectations will help your employees allocate their time more wisely.

Dragon Law’s founding team of nine has a weekly meeting on Monday mornings that we call S.I.T. Everyone turns off their phone for anywhere between 90 minutes to 2 hours and looks at their area of focus and determine what we need from our team to Survive, Improve and Transform. This mechanism forces the team to set goals according to three horizons – the hyper short-term, and medium- and longer-term goals.

Think about what you want your team to achieve, and organise work processes to align with that.

2. Organise better meetings

It is no secret that many employees feel they spend too much time in meetings. If it is possible to do away with the meeting, ask each team member to circulate a report of what he or she has accomplished the previous week and priorities for the week ahead. This avoids having to physically gather everyone, but ensures that everyone is aligned and kept on track.

And where you cannot completely eliminate meetings, you can make those that remain on your calendar more effective. Develop a process for running meetings, including the pre-meeting preparation of sending out an agenda, the decision-making process during meetings, and the post-meeting habit of following up with next steps.

This nifty checklist from Running Meetings, a part of the Harvard Business Review 20-Minute Manager Series, will help you ensure you cover all your bases and make your meetings more productive.

Source: Harvard Business Review

3. Develop a positive work culture

Sometimes, it may be your office culture that is enacting social and cultural barriers that impedes productivity. According to a Harvard Business Review article, a cut-throat office environment may be harmful to productivity over time, while a positive environment will boost employee effectiveness and your company’s bottom line. This is because high-pressure environments tend to come at the cost of workers’ health, and has been linked to health problems such as metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease. More crucially, it causes employees to become disengaged, which leads to more costs in having to re-hire and onboard new members.

Related reading: 5 top tips for onboarding new hires

The first step is to build a workplace environment that allows employees to feel a strong sense of meaning. According to this study, one of the conditions that makes peak performance possible is what is termed meaning quotient, or MQ. This describes the peak-performance experience as involving high stakes, excitement, a challenge, and something that the individual feels matters, will make a difference, and hasn’t done before.

To create meaning in the workplace, build narratives that highlight your company’s ability to make an impact on society, the customer, the working team and themselves. Ensure that employees have the opportunity to be a part of building this narrative so that they will take ownership over the work and be more motivated, and therefore more productive.

Here are some tips for building a positive work culture:

  1. Foster social connections. Positive social connections bring many benefits, including less sick leave, greater mental acuity and better job performance.
  2. Show empathy. Leaders who demonstrate compassion towards employees build resilience in challenging times.
  3. Go out of your way to help. When you make the effort to help your employees, they tend to pay it forward by cooperating with their colleagues more.
  4. Encourage people to talk to you. Helping your employees feel safe with you builds a culture of trust which leads to better learning and performance outcomes.

Source: Harvard Business Review

4. Encourage your employees to take breaks & relax

Many companies proclaim that they work hard, play hard. But even as many employees work hard, it is important for them to take regular breaks throughout the work day as there is only so much the brain can do before it plateaus and becomes less productive. In contrast, predictable time off improves productivity and morale.

Thus, be deliberate about scheduling downtime. During this time, encourage your employees to be active by engaging in stretching, light exercise and even simple yoga moves. This will help your team relax and return to their work with greater focus and clarity of mind. This is known as goal reactivation, whereby a brief intermission while working on a task allows you to think globally of what you’re trying to achieve and stay mindful to your objectives, which makes for better performance overall.

5. Help your team members know each other better

Social/cultural and contextual barriers can prevent your employees from sharing knowledge with each other and approaching each other for information, ideas and resources. This can be a hindrance to productivity. Internal knowledge sharing and seamless collaboration can prevent time wasted on doing research online, making the same mistakes over and over again, and communication breakdowns. Studies have shown that companies can generate savings by facilitating the transfer of advice and information between colleagues.

In order to break down these barriers, have a network perspective and take active steps to encourage your employees to interact and learn from one another. Here are some activities that facilitate team bonding that you can do to help your team members get to know each other better:

  1. Take a field trip. Have an annual field day where you get together offiste with food, silly games and prizes.
  2. Get together to give back. Have volunteer outings with local non-profit organisations. Allow your employees to take ownership of the process as this will give them the opportunity to work together in a different context and learn about each other.
  3. Professional development. Send your team for a professional development activity, or invite someone from another company to share their advice and insights.
  4. Share your strengths. Use tools such as Strengths Finder and find fun ways to share each person’s results, for instance by having everyone suggest a celebrity or famous character that best represents them.
  5. Show and tell. At your monthly meeting, set aside 10 minutes at the start for people to share about an item that they have brought that represents themselves.

Source: The Muse

Now that you’ve broken the ice, fruitful collaboration will come a lot easier for your team members.

6. Leverage technology & software

Without a doubt, a key way of raising output while minimizing time and resources expanded is to work smart by leveraging technology & software. Opening a file and manually flipping through tabs to search out the document you are looking for is not the most optimal use of your time. Placing your documents in the cloud where you can easily search for them will save you time. For notetaking during meetings, you can use Evernote to file your meeting notes according to the projects or topics they relate to. If you are collaborating with other team members, working on Google Drive will allow you to see each other’s updates real time.

Related reading: Our CEO’s favourite productivity tools

At the organisational level, accelerating the digitisation of your business processes is the way to go.

If you’re looking for a way to draft legal documents more efficiently, Dragon Law’s web app does just that. As a Dragon Law subscriber, you get access to our document library where you can select documents to customise to your specific needs using our easy-to-navigate Q&A interface. No more manually seeking out the highlighted portions that you have to edit and then going through the document over and over again to make sure you didn’t miss anything! Organising your legal documents in folders in the cloud also allows you to easily access your legal documents when you need them.

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At the end of the day, productivity is not just about stretching your employees thin by making them do more with less. Rather, it is about breaking down the barriers that hinder efficiency and effectiveness, and facilitating the interactions that drive better outcomes.

What tips do you have for improving productivity in the workplace?

Let us know in the comments below!

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