May 15.2018, 12.13pm

6 HR Hacks to Save Time and Boost Productivity

A typical domino can knock over another domino that is one and a half times its size. Theoretically, you could start with a normal two-inch tall domino and knock over a 100-metre building using just 20 dominoes of increasing size. This goes to show the power of momentum to achieve things that can seem impossible.

However, the theory relies on all the dominoes falling in just the right way. If one of them slips or is poorly placed, the whole process can come to an abrupt stop.

Likewise, it can be surprisingly easy to get through a heavy workload when you employ the right strategy at work but it’s also very easy for everything to fall apart. However, a combination of planning and the right approach can help you to achieve great things in a short space of time.

Being an HR professional isn’t easy and it can sometimes seem like there aren’t enough hours in the day. So how can you line up your day in just the right way and do what do you need to do to achieve success in your efforts? We’ve come up with some handy HR hacks to help you achieve optimum results and make the most of your precious time.


1. Have a strategy in place


It can be tempting to charge into tasks but taking the time to plan is always advisable. Think about what you want to achieve and work out the best way to do it. Don’t procrastinate but do take a moment to strategise.

What are your priorities? What are the big jobs that you need to tackle first? Avoid getting bogged down in admin tasks that can eat into your time. Set yourself time limits and be strict with your deadlines. Sometimes it’s better to aim for good rather than wasting a day chasing unattainable perfection.


2. Spend your time wisely


Teamwork is also vital when you’re trying to achieve a goal. Having the right processes in place and communicating your needs effectively can save your department a lot of time. About 80 percent of emails are unnecessary, according to one case study, so be efficient about how you share information and avoid distractions that can slow you down.

If you’re curious about how long you spend on a task, there are numerous time logging apps that will help you map out how you spend your day so you can work on avoiding distractions. Time is precious, spend it wisely.


3. It’s OK to say no sometimes


We all want to be flexible and helpful but sometimes you have to say no if you want to meet your daily targets. Simply be honest and explain why you have to prioritise other tasks that are more pressing. It’s important to set boundaries and to know your limits if you want to be efficient with your time.

It’s not always possible to do everything that’s being asked of you. Look at the consequences of leaving a task undone. Tackling the most pressing jobs first leaves you best placed to stay focused and to deliver the best possible results in the available time.


4. Wellness works


We all know the importance of employee wellness but HR professionals can sometimes forget to apply the same standards to themselves. Engaging in creative activities in your downtime can actually help you to recover from work and boost productivity during working hours.

Getting enough sleep is another vital step to achieving optimum output. Researchers found that poor sleeping patterns could proportionally affect productivity and performance, costing up to $2,000 per employee on an annual basis.

Eating lunch is important too. Your brain behaves like a muscle and, like any muscle, it gets tired. Stepping away from the desk for 40 minutes could actually leave you refreshed and better able to handle your workload.

Skipping lunch has been shown to affect employees’ productivity and job satisfaction. Data from the productivity app DeskTime found that the most productive employees took 17-minute breaks for every 52 minutes of work. The same principle applies to holidays. The lesson here is that you should work better, not longer.


5. Make meetings productive


Amazon’s Jeff Bezos famously coined the “two pizza rule,” which states that you should never have meetings where two pizzas can’t feed everyone in the room. This wasn’t a money-saving policy. He simply recognised that more people can make meetings less productive.

Meetings can sometimes be time-consuming distractions so look at your approach to meetings and whether they’re helping or hindering your productivity. Think about who really needs to be there and list the objectives at the beginning so that everyone is clear about how they can contribute and achieve the end goal of the meeting.


6. Use technology to streamline your efforts


Digital disruption has redefined the role of HR professionals. HR technology can now handle a wide range of HR functions and offer self-service tools for your workforce. This frees up HR departments to carry out the strategic and analytic tasks that are increasingly part of their remit.

Adopting a digital HR strategy and design thinking means that you can focus on more important duties and make a greater contribution to your time and efforts. The pressure is on HR to revolutionise the employee experience by incorporating HR technologies and adapting processes and systems. Tackling this responsibility is a priority in an age when achieving digital transformation can dictate an organisation’s success or failure.

Just like falling dominoes, adopting the right practices and tactics can help you to exert more influence and be a greater force in the workplace. The first step to achieving greater productivity and to making better use of your time is knowing what you need to do. The next step is to consistently apply the best practices to help you overcome any obstacles in your way.


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Keir McCarthyBy Keir McCarthy

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