On the road to efficiency, there are a lot of small things you can do that will increase productivity.
Most people think of their own efficiency without stopping to think how their shortcuts and methods are affecting other people. We’ve all been there. You know the coworker who doesn’t read what they’re typing and sends an undecipherable, or worse a misleading, message. Sure, that coworker is just trying to be efficient by typing quickly, but that has just cost someone else even more time. This speedy message could have just one word misspelt which makes it mean something completely different than originally intended. For example “not” instead of “now”…big difference! Trying to work out what the message means, or executing the request to find out at a later time that it meant something totally different, is time you’re not getting back. Eventually, it will end up back in the hands of the person who wrote it to decipher its intended outcome – using more time!
This type of inconsiderate action works well for those who value their time over everyone else’s, just hoping that the person on the receiving end can decipher what they mean. Within a company moving towards the same goals there’s no room for that type of mindset, creating less work for yourself at the cost of someone else should be unheard of.
That example is really just scratching the surface of this problem. Why ask someone to do a task you could have done, in the same time it took you write the email asking them to do it?
Not providing enough information or context in your requests is another surefire way to get undesirable results. For example:
Please do the thing.
Thanks, your fellow employee”
What is this thing they want me to do? What about deadlines – is this thing they want me to do urgent? Do I assume because this came from someone important that their work takes priority over everything else?
From this point you could either try to interpret the message and work out what they want by sifting through previous emails, recalling conversations and using all of the resources you have available to work out what they want. Eventually, you may realise that you just can’t accurately decipher what they want – maybe 5, 10 or even 20 minutes later. You’d then ask them to clarify what they want. Even if you jump straight to this step, both of these approaches are wasting your time, the other person’s time and ultimately the company’s time.
This type of behaviour is often caused by accident, or more commonly because the person doesn’t know they’re doing it. The first step is educating them about their inefficiencies, and the effect they’re having on your work. You may even be one of the culprits yourself! Setting up a simple template for messages or asking them to provide more detail in the first place is a great first step. Having them proofread their own emails before sending is another. If their excuse is they don’t have time then perhaps they don’t have the company’s best interests in mind.
Could your actions be affecting your own productivity and others without you knowing? No team player should expect someone else to pick up their slack.