Sometimes it might seem that completing all the daily tasks in the office is impossible. It’s as if it doesn’t matter how well organized you and your employees are or how advanced your technology is. It seems that every time you fix a problem, a new one arises. At a certain point, it looks like you can’t get rid of that pile of papers on your desk.
In this article, we are going to discuss workflow. We are going to give you some basic information about it, as well as its benefits, and most importantly tell you how to create and manage it.
What is a Workflow?
Simply put, a workflow is a map that shows all the activities i.e. steps that one must take in order to reach the main goal. When it comes to businesses, this usually includes a set of tasks that must be completed so that the company would increase its revenue or develop in some other way.
If you have ever read any set of tips on how to develop your business, surely one of them was that you have to create goals and organize your business according to them. Basically, it is the same thing. When creating this map, you have to input all the details of the plan on how you want to structure every aspect and how it will lead you to your final goal.
What are the benefits?
Now that we have explained to you what a workflow is, we are going to discuss some of its benefits i.e. the reasons why you should implement it in your company. Upon reading the description of the map, some of these are probably going to be quite obvious to you, while others might surprise you.
Gain more insight
Without a doubt, one of the biggest benefits is that having the visual presentation of all the processes that occur in your company, you will be able to gain insight into every aspect of the business. Is it really necessary to explain why this is of crucial importance?
It is the only way to learn if everything is functioning properly and whether each of those methods is delivering the result you want. Also, you will be able to observe everything in great detail thus learn if some things have to be changed in order to improve the overall business.
Eliminate unnecessary tasks
This brings us to our next point – when you have a clear insight into everything that is happening within your business, you will have the opportunity to learn what tasks are inessential. Even if you believe that there are no such assignments in your company, you are probably wrong.
Every company has some tasks that are believed to be important, but once managers get the chance to observe their business in great detail, they realize that they are not so essential. Clearly, once you find these, you should eliminate them immediately. Why? Well, first of all, you or some of your employees won’t waste their valuable time on something that cannot contribute to your journey to reach the main goal. Secondly, upon omitting these, the workers will have more time to focus on other aspects of their job and create something that can actually help your company grow.
No need for micromanagement
The style of micromanagement is something that no one likes – employees constantly feel under pressure and managers hate when their job becomes watching over someone else. Still, in some cases, this is the only thing that can ensure success – there is an important assignment that has to be done, and one cannot afford to make a mistake.
However, by improving the workflow in your company, you are reducing the requirements for this type of management. How? Well, quite simple. Since all the tasks will be clearly displayed on the map, each worker will know their assignments and they will be able to focus on only one thing.
Errors will be easily noticeable
We have already mentioned that there won’t be a need for micromanagement, and you might be worried about mistakes that can happen. Yes, surely, some are going to occur, it is just the way everything works.
Even though the managers won’t observe every step the employees have taken, finding those mistakes will be much easier due to the diagram. How? Well, when something malfunctions you will be able to check every task and locate the one that wasn’t completed properly.
This benefit is important because it is related to all the employees that are your greatest asset. Once again, since everything is displayed, they will be able to concentrate on their assignment and not interfere with the others.
This is going to motivate them all to finish their job efficiently, and also improve their communication with their colleagues. As you surely know, if employees and managers disagree, it is going to have a negative impact on their work. Simply put, by integrating workflow charts, people are going to be in a better mood, collaborate with others thus be more productive.
How to design the map?
Before we conclude this article, we are going to provide you with some tips on how to create the chart. The very first thing that you should know is that you can create it in Word, Excel, or some specialized app. If you want to learn what are the tools that will be at your disposal if you opt for some program, click here.
The first thing that you have to do is to design a concept of the flowchart. Make sure to input the main goal, but also all the steps i.e. tasks that have to be completed and to provide a detailed description for each of them. This is the only way to lower the chances of mistakes.
Next, you have to decide between a standard and a swimlane format. If you have multiple groups of employees and each group has a set of assignments, you should go with the latter format. It will divide all the groups and their tasks into separate ‘lanes’ and clearly display all the assignments and people involved.
Finally, if there are some complex processes, you should try to separate them into smaller ones. This way, employees will be able to complete them easily and move on to the next one.