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16 March 2016

20 WAYS TO BE MORE PRODUCTIVE – Flexible Work Force

Productivity means higher output using your current resources, or achieving the same level of sales with less resource.

One way round the imbalance of work is to make workers more flexible in what they can do, and thereby allow them to see a piece of work through to the end, rather than working in a “batch” process and other workers becoming dependent on them for their own output (more about this in point 13).  This has more than one advantage in so far as it:

  1. reduces the boredom of doing the same repetitive job over and over again
  2. increases the workers’ understanding of the bigger picture
  3. increases the workers’ sense of worth in completing the job to the end
  4. improves job satisfaction
  5. reduces risk ensuring cover in the event of absence/sickness as you’ll always have someone in the business who can do the jobs.

However, increasing staff flexibility also requires time and money invested in training and development (see point 2), but enhances the businesses chances of greater productivity.  By training employees in a variety of tasks and activities you can achieve greater output with fewer people as you eliminate hidden lost time normally resulting from breaking tasks down too far so as to become inefficient.

Flexible Nurses – Case Study

One of the Productivity Improvement programmes I implemented in South America, was a private clinic, in which one of the key causes of overspend was the cost of agency nurses (a common problem within our own NHS).  By working with the nursing management on a matrix of all nursing disciplines available in the clinic’s own workforce, and comparing the specialty requirements in each ward type, such as Adult Orthopedic and Pediatrics for example, it soon became clear that certain nursing disciplines could be shared across wards.

A Pediatric nurse, for example, could work in Adult Orthopedics, but not vice versa.  This resulted in a skills matrix being implemented, with the ward managers coordinating resources on a shift-by-shift basis, to mobilise nursing disciplines between the wards depending on patient numbers, before resorting to the Agencies.  Over a year, this saved the clinic over a quarter of a million pounds in agency fees.


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