As the world changes the way they do things, companies are evaluating the most effective way to build their workforce. A study on remote working from last year showed that working away from home increased productivity by 47%. But not all companies adopt the far-fetched philosophy. According to the Workcast survey of 1,000 small business employees, 67% of survey respondents said their company is preparing to return to the office this year.

So how can leaders and managers improve employee productivity while saving time? Here are the top 6 things you can do to increase employee efficiency.

  1. Don’t Be Afraid to Delegate

While this tactic may seem the most obvious, it is often the most difficult to put into practice. We’ve got it – your company is your baby, so you want to be a direct hand in everything about it. While there’s nothing wrong with prioritizing quality (which is what makes a business successful, after all), checking every little detail instead of checking it yourself can waste everyone’s precious time.

Instead, assign responsibilities to qualified employees, and trust that they will perform tasks well. This gives your employees the opportunity to gain leadership skills and experience that will ultimately benefit your company. You hired them for a reason, now give them a chance to prove that you are right.

2. Match the tasks with the skills

Knowledge of skills and behavior patterns of employees is essential for maximum efficiency. For example, an open, creative, and unusual thinker would probably be a great person to brainstorm ideas for clients. However, if they are given a task that is more rule-focused and detail-oriented, they may have difficulty.

Needing your employees to be good at everything isn’t efficient – instead, before assigning an employee a task, ask yourself: Is this person the best fit for the job? If not, find someone else whose skills and style match your needs.

3. Communicate Effectively

Every manager knows that communication is the key to a productive workforce. Technology has allowed us to connect with each other with the click of a button (or should we say, a touch screen tap). This naturally means that existing methods of communication are as efficient as possible, right? Not a nuisance. A McKinsey study found that email can take up about 28% of an employee’s time. In fact, it turns out that email is the second most time-consuming activity for workers (after tasks for their jobs).

Instead of relying solely on email, try a social networking tool (like Slack) designed for rapid team communication. You can encourage your employees to switch to the older form of communication from time to time…voice communication. A quick meeting or phone call can solve a problem that can take hours for emails to arrive.

4. Keep Goals Clear and Focused

You can’t expect employees to be effective if they don’t have a focused goal to target. If the goal is not clearly defined and can actually be achieved, employees will be less productive. Therefore, try to ensure that the tasks of the employees are as clear and narrow as possible. Tell them what you expect of them, and tell them specifically about the impact of this task.

One way to do this is to make sure your goals are “SMART” – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely. Before assigning a task to an employee, ask yourself if it meets each of these requirements. If not, ask yourself how the task can be modified to help your employees stay focused and effective.

5. Give Feedback to Each Other

Employees have no hope of increasing their efficiency if they don’t know they are ineffective in the first place. This is why performance reviews are essential – measure your employees’ performance, then hold face-to-face meetings to let them know where they excel, and the areas they need to work on.

Increasing the efficiency of employees doesn’t mean focusing on what they can do better – some of the responsibility falls on your shoulders as well. But you are not a psychologist like your employees. So after reviewing your employees, ask them what you can do to help them improve. Perhaps they want more guidance on certain tasks, or they would like a little more space for creative freedom. Asking for feedback not only provides you with clear and immediate ways to help your employees improve, but also encourages a culture of open dialogue that will allow for continued growth over time.

6. Think Big Picture

Things that may seem to you as an inefficient use of time now may actually be to your advantage in the long run. So, before you veto an abuse of time, ask yourself how it can benefit your company.

Investing in HR software now can save your company — and your employees — countless hours down the road. From automated setup to self-management payroll, adopting HRIS technology will improve efficiency, reduce frustration and help your business grow.

By using our many efficiency tips, you can make sure you don’t fall behind and dedicate that extra hour to good, productive use.