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9 ways to boost productivity that will make you a better teammate

boost productivity

Employee performance is the foundation your businesses success is based upon. It’s a tricky task to keep a large and small scale staff compliment happy at all times. A happy employee is a productive employee. We would all love to work from home and own our destinies, however, the nature of traditional businesses demand that employees be in the office at all times.

There are companies disrupting the status quo and challenging this outdated mentality. We live in a new age where modern technology has bridged the gap between vital communications within an organisation. Useful online tools like Skype or Slack can help your business communicate with companies in other countries in real time.

Perpetual Guardian in New Zealand challenged linear thought and started working outside of the box. By implementing a 4 day working week instead of a 5 day one, they successfully boosted employee productivity and alleviated stress levels.

Your organisation may not be there just yet, but we have uncovered some useful skills to keep you motivated and boost your productivity levels at work.

  • Keep track of your time consistently

One of the most valued assets on the entire planet is time. Time is money in the business world and if you can consistently keep track of your time, and manage it, you will become a greater asset to your organisation.

There are a few nifty tools to help you keep track of time. You can use something like Toggl or Nutcache. These tools can provide you with useful insights to show you where you have devoted your time to, on any specific project.

  • It’s okay to use do not disturb sometimes

We all love our sleep, however, we are also glued to our smartphone’s screen just about 24/7. All modern smartphones have a “DO NOT DISTURB” feature. Why not use it at work, flip it on and reduce the amount of outside interference in your day, giving you more time.

  • Take breaks

Nobody is a robot and you can’t keep going at the grind all day. Taking breaks keeps your brain sharp and motivated to keep working on a project. Allow for some down time with a cup of tea or a ten-minute walk.

  • Say no to pointless meetings

We are not suggesting that you go to your line manager and say “No Barry, I simply refuse to come to the Annual General Meeting today!” But you do need to decide what is relevant and what isn’t. If you feel you are involved in meetings that have no relevance towards you, then simply say you disagree to the meeting because it is ultimately a waste of time for you to be there.

Be up-front and respectful and you may just find that your manager respects you more for making a choice, which affords you with more time to do what you need to for your organization.

  • Ask for help if you need to

Everyone wants to impress their boss. It’s a natural reaction when you work hard. This can become challenging though, especially if you’ve bitten off a little more than you can handle. This will only make you feel overwhelmed. You have a team, use the team accordingly.

Allow each component within your team to work effectively, like a well-oiled machine. This will increase proficiency and productivity.

  • Stay focused on the essentials

Don’t overthink it. Stay focused on the essential requirements and then fill in the less important parts later. By getting the big stuff out of the way, you clear a path for your team to start perfecting the project.

  • If you have the opportunity to work remotely, take it

With the internet in nearly everyone’s home, it’s more than possible to take a breather from your desk, and work remotely for the day. This helps to refresh you and keeps your head focused for the future.  

  • Keep yourself and others around you optimistic

Don’t be the type of person to create a negative office environment. Rather stay optimistic. Even if you think that you may be buckling just a little bit, crack a joke here and there. ‘Fake it until you make it’, and keep the optimism going around the workplace.

  • Establish your most productive time, and work it  

If you are fortunate enough to get into work early, then you may notice that you get more work done without the distraction from the daily hustle and bustle. Capitalise on these hours and schedule your most important tasks for those times.  

With these nine helpful tips, you’re sure to become a more valuable employee. Keep checking back on our blog page for disruptive content that can change the way you do business.

5 ways to improve business efficiency

improve business effeciency

The lifeblood of any efficient company depends on the way the business is run, not just from a top level management perspective, but filtering through, all the way down to the baseline employees. The following suggestions to improve company operations will provide you with top tips to improve business efficiency in the workplace.

Your business deserves to run at 100% all day. It is up to upper level management to ensure it does so. If you are in quest of methods on how to improve business performance, you’re in luck, follow us as we tackle the best work efficiency tips.

1. Automate tasks to save time and improve business efficiency

There are numerous tedious tasks that can be fully automated, in any organisation. Something as simple as sending a receipt can be automated. The automation process adds to an overall efficient company in the long run, by providing employees with more time for critical thinking, therefore increasing productivity.

2. Encourage employees to chat face-to-face, rather than over communication tools

Challenge and disrupt the status quo. Nearly all large organisations rely too heavily on technology to stay up to date with their peers in the workplace. A face-to-face, hands on approach goes a long way to improving efficiency in the workplace.

Encouraging a face-to-face approach allows for employees to communicate more regularly, ultimately leading to better trust and therefore better communication. This hands on approach also allows for no mixed signals or crossed wires, adding to an efficient company policy.

3. Hold a daily 10 minute meeting

Daily meetings are a necessity and vital to efficient company dynamics, however, they can also drag on and on, leaving staff with less time in their day. Daily company meetings can be extremely useful, however, learn to keep them short, concise and effective.

Encourage efficient business practices for an overall efficient company, so that employees are constantly aware of what they need to do, and how exactly to do it. By holding daily meetings of around ten minutes long you can get everyone up to speed and going quickly. This process goes a long way to improving efficiency in the workplace.

4. Use task management software to keep track of productivity

Task management tools are helpful resources that help your organisation’s employees stay on top of critical projects and their objectives. Even though you may feel an email is sufficient, it is not always the best way to encourage staff to keep following the flow of a project. Task management software like Asana helps by improving efficiency in the workplace via its useful and friendly user interface, which allows everyone to collaborate on tasks in a single location.

5. Promote a company culture that allows for open communication

These work efficiency tips may seem repetitive, but learning how to improve business efficiency at work is interlinked to constant and stable communication within your organisation. You need to be promoting and endorsing a culture that not only allows for open communication amongst peers, but also amongst top level management.

It’s simple; everyone wants to be valued. A valued employee will be far more effective and play an invaluable role in your efficient company. Open the lines of communication and propel your company’s mission forward constantly. Do some team building, involve your employees in your company’s vision constantly. If you ready to take your career to the next level, download our Business Management course brochure.

Entrepreneur extraordinaire: Online Participant, Kim Messina

USB-ED Human Resource Management online short course testimonial.

After completing high school, Kim pursued her studies in Food technology. However, as many of us can attest to, life doesn’t always take us along our planned path. Kim currently runs a successful business with her husband and they have a son Josh, who keeps them on their toes.

She recognised early on in life, that in order to reach her full potential, both personally and in business, she needed to stay current and keep her skills relevant. She, therefore, undertook a course in Human Resource Management, as she currently looks after all the HR and Payroll requirements for their business, as well as handling the account management of the businesses top clients.

We asked Kim what some of the benefits of studying online allowed her in her daily routine:

“Working full time and being a mum, I needed the flexibility that studying online gave me”. Studying online allowed Kim to keep running her business and spend important time with her family, all whilst gaining new skills.

Kim describes herself as a real hard worker that tries to please everyone! A natural born human resource practitioner, it seems. She was delighted with the fact that the online course gave her real-time, practical working skills that she could implement within her daily tasks almost immediately. She is striving for very specific goals now and said that she would ultimately like to place the perfect staff member within their business to achieve maximum productivity.

It wasn’t all roses and sunshine though, as she explains learning while working can be challenging.

This was Kim’s first online learning experience; she says it’s vital for anyone that wants to study online to “plan everything ahead of time and allow for extra time if necessary”. She also added that many distractions on the internet were a concern for her.  MasterStart’s unique course structure, with weekly tasks and assignments helped her to become diligent and concise. What drove her the most was her desire to prove to herself that she can achieve her Stellenbosch University certificate.

Being an extremely busy lady, Kim, unfortunately, has no time for any hobbies at the moment. She does insist that she would definitely take the opportunity to study online again, if and when the right course presented itself.

Are you new to business and systems analysis?

business and systems analysis as a career

There’s never the “right” time to make that smart career move. You need to go after what you want in life. If you’ve been hovering over the idea of advancing your career and moving into the analytical aspects of your organisation, then you have more than likely considered getting to grips with a Business and Systems Analysis online short course.

What is Business Systems Analysis?

Business and Systems Analysis is concerned with identifying areas that could be improved and optimised to increase business value. As a business analyst it is your job to think outside of the box, developing innovative ways that allows the organisation to function more efficiently at its optimum productivity rate. You will be at the forefront of driving positive change by establishing a clear and effective path for business growth.

What is the Earning Potential in business and systems analysis?

An enticing reason to pursue a career in Business and Systems Analysis is the earning potential. According to PayScale, South Africans working within this field, are doing really well for themselves. Not only are these employees doing well but the majority of employees within this industry reported highly satisfied working lives/environments.

Occupational level Average annual income
Entry-level R350,165
Mid-career professional R490,798
Top-end professional R640,000

What Skills Do You Need to Pursue Your Career in Business and Systems Analysis?

When you work in the business analyst world, you require specific skills that help organisations increase productivity through various channels and methodologies.

It can be incredibly challenging to secure gainful employment within this industry without any formal qualifications.

Get a qualification that allows you to prove your worth to your company. These are some of the essential skills that a Business and Systems Analyst needs:

1. Develop methodology documents based on self-initiated interviews, diagrams, surveys and workflow analysis.

2. Research and analyze all aspects of existing business practices and procedures.

3. Communicate with heads of all departments about common frustrations, hindrances and other issues that interrupt their workflow.

4. Create detailed plans for execution and implementation of new processes, including budgetary guidelines and key personnel.

5. Nominate and work with a project manager to develop new project plans and see them through to completion.

6. Oversee the life cycle of changes to business systems and prepare detailed reports for executive management.

You may already have the necessary skills to do this kind of work but you just need that head start. Earn a certificate that provides you with real-life workplace skills that you can start implementing almost immediately.

MasterStart offers an online short course in Business and Systems Analysis, which you could use to advance your career and make bold moves within your organization, to get that increase you’ve been longing for.

4 reasons entrepreneurs need online education

online education

There are some serious time wasters on the internet, including cat memes and bad lip syncing videos. These are not necessarily all bad things; every man and his dog seem to have a YouTube channel and they make it work. However, as an entrepreneur, it is important to know that the internet is loaded with useful content and tools that can give you the leading edge in your career.

If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur, or if you are looking for an online entrepreneurship certificate, you probably already know that the internet is a leading tool that can be used to stay current and up to date in your industry. Online education is slowly changing how people enrich their lives. It is a platform that has the ability to empower the world, with mere fingertips required.

Startups and new businesses just taking off require the internet in their daily existence. Follow us on our journey of discovery within entrepreneur news, and see why you simply must be online at all times.

1. Consider the cost

Online courses are far less costly than traditional brick and mortar establishments offering various qualifications. With traditional establishments already cemented into the history books for producing world leaders, online platforms, like small business ideas and solutions, are swiftly establishing themselves as world-class institutions.

The fact that everyone has access to the World Wide Web is what makes online education such a powerful tool. Anyone can be taught at a University level and graduate with a short course behind his or her name, for a fraction of the price. This makes it far easier to stay relevant or even enter into the workplace.

2. Online courses are practical rather than theoretical

Online education is hands-on, meaning that it is driven by results. Online institutions like MasterStart operates with the intention of empowering people almost instantaneously. This means that what you learn online can be used in the workplace, right off the bat.

Rather than focusing on a ton of theory, online education aims at penetrating the core of a subject matter. Once the subject matter is clarified, the course can teach the participant the fundamentals and build upon that foundation weekly.

3. Technology makes learning fun

Technology hasn’t just influenced traditional classrooms, it has allowed the world to engage with content in new and exciting ways. Useful tools like worksheets, peer-to-peer discussion forums, and interactive presentations allow for a unique learning experience, which each individual can optimise accordingly.

4. The classroom is everywhere

One of the biggest advantages of learning online is that you can choose where you would like your classroom to be. As long as you have a stable and constant internet connection; it doesn’t matter where you choose to learn. You could learn from your bedroom or in the park. Modern technology has made learning anywhere possible and that makes online learning exciting, intuitive and responsive to anyone’s needs.

Wrapping up

Online education is slowly changing the world. As an entrepreneur, a corporation or an employee, new technology has the power to change your life. Keep up to date with the latest trends and stay relevant in your field. With AI and fully automated processing technology creeping into the workplace, it’s always important to keep yourself a cut above the rest.

In places like Africa, online education is essential. Technology has bridged the gap for millions of people that can’t afford to attend traditional establishments. This empowerment and upliftment not only makes online education an exciting space, it makes it a tool that is gathering momentum at a rapid rate.

Top tips for diversifying yourself in today’s business climate

staying relevant in todays work environment

South Africans have a long history of overcoming adversity. Our people have defied innumerable odds; growing a republic of talented forward thinkers. A survey conducted by MasterStart found that one of the best ways to stay relevant in the workplace is to constantly upskill yourself and your employees, through lifelong learning.

It is far more difficult to attain and maintain a job, as opposed to ten years ago.

As per our recent survey, there is no denying it, the current business climate has changed. For better, or worse, if you don’t jump on board, you are going to get left behind. Therefore, making you redundant in a world that is solely focused on interlinked technological and human progress.

New innovative trends, products, business practices and enhanced programs are infiltrating organisations on every level. As a result, you need to stay relevant in order to stay ahead of the curve, which is slowly swinging like a pendulum and could make many jobs redundant. You may have even noticed this in your own organisation where operational requirements may force individuals to take on more duties. Follow us as we take a look into the future prospects of the workplace, by providing you with top tips for staying relevant in today’s business climate.

Lifelong learning is imperative to staying relevant

Many ordinary working class South Africans fear the unknown and don’t believe that they are capable of staying relevant. You can’t reject change anymore, as it has become a functioning dynamic within the current working environment.

On the bright side, you can make sure you stay relevant and remain in control of your future. Everyone should strive to stay relevant in his or her chosen field via upskilling. It means the difference between advancing your career, remaining stagnant or even the loss of your job. There are many ways you can keep your skills relevant.

So constantly reading and keeping up to date with industry standards you ensure your currency. Technological advances like the internet have made learning accessible and achievable. Our online offerings offer a diverse range of courses, which allow you to continuously upskill yourself.

Analyse changes constantly to remain aware

A vital part of staying relevant means that you have to constantly be aware of imminent changes that can occur at any time. Practice the art of paying attention to the atmosphere of your industry, and know what areas will be the most likely to change.

By keeping up with workplace changes, you will be able to identify potential changes and mitigate any impact that these changes could have on your career. Keep looking out for these changes and you will remain more secure in your current job..

Empower yourself and enrich your knowledge

Your employer is not going to wait for you to catch up. That is why it is imperative to learn as much as you can, as often as you can. Upskill yourself constantly and ask your employer to invest in your future. Most organisations have a solid infrastructure in place that aids employees in furthering their education.

Nobody ever said lifelong learning was easy

Workplace dynamics have shifted in the last ten years, but there is hope on the horizon. Lifelong learning is bridging the gap between required skills and effective implementation of those skills on the job, almost immediately. MasterStart’s online short course offerings are designed and tailored around participants needs. We understand that everyone is unique, with various schedules. That is the beauty of our online short courses. Participants can learn anywhere and at any time, simply access the online campus and start seeing results instantaneously.

Grow your value & upskill multiple employees effortlessly

upskill your employees

Africa is a young continent, packed with unlimited potential. MasterStart is a platform geared for all of Africa’s future leaders, to help them develop and grow dynamically within the workplace. Excellence begins with education, which is why we’re committed to nurturing you and your team’s potential through our premium online short courses.

MasterStart’s corporate offering is enhanced by a new dynamic skills development structure, centred around corporate learning. This new structure caters for organisations of varying sizes, affording you the opportunity to upskill many employees on a large scale effortlessly

MasterStart and USB-ED

MasterStart is the collaborative partner in online education of USB-ED (University of Stellenbosch Executive Development). Through this partnership, we support USB-ED in its mandate to provide transformational learning experiences for Africa’s future leaders

MasterStart and B-BBEE Points For Your Business

Empowerdex, one of the most respected ratings agencies in South Africa, has issued an opinion classifying the online short courses offered by USB-ED and MasterStart in Category B of the Skills Development matrix.

The Skills Development category forms one of the primary pillars of B-BBEE which benefits your organisation and the positive upliftment of your staff. Earn up to 20 B-BBEE points (and 5 bonus points) through the Skills Development category towards your scorecard.

What does that mean for your business?

Training points are earned by:

  1. – Internal training – limited to 15% of total training spend
  2. – External training

How much do you need to spend to achieve full points?

Any company generating a revenue lower than R10 million per annum are exempt from upskilling black employees.

Companies that generate R10 to R49.99 million are required to spend a minimum of 3% on upskilling black employees.

Companies that generate R50 million and upwards are required to spend a minimum of 6% on upskilling black employees.

MasterStart’s courses could contribute towards your training spend

  1. – A category B course rating in the Learning Programme Matrix from Empowerdex (one of the most respected ratings agencies in South Africa) means that spend on MasterStart courses could form part of your total training spend.
  2. – All spend on category B courses could be included in your training spend, contributing to the required 6% of leviable payroll amount.
  3. – In addition to the actual course cost, the salary earned by the employee during the duration of the course could also be included in your training spend.

Benefits for the employer:

  • – Employers can include our courses in their mandatory grant application to access this grant from their Sector Education and Training Authority (SETA).
  • – Minimal productivity downtime as employees do not have to spend time off-site.

Enrol in a lifelong learning journey with us today! Empower your staff and your organisation, delivering a bold blow to Africa’s future success.

Grow your skillset: become a master in delegation

While operations managers have a long list of important responsibilities necessary for the successful optimisation of business operations. There’s one crucial responsibility! That of delegating work and responsibilities appropriately between team members for effective operations management.

Therefore we’ve developed a set of useful tips and techniques you can apply immediately within your role as an operations manager. Get ready to learn useful tips and techniques across a variety of industries; beginning with operations management.

As we have mentioned in previous posts, a strong operations manager will quickly identify the strengths and weaknesses of the individuals within their team, and will delegate levels of authority; or tasks, according to this measurement. This approach works because strengths are aligned to the responsibilities of a given role, or the tasks at hand, resulting in operations being more effective and efficient. It’s more likely that operations will be carried out successfully; tasks will be completed timeously, with less error and therefore at less cost if strengths are deployed.

The art of identifying strengths, and delegating skill-fully; comes with time, however, there are a few techniques managers use to assist them in this important function.

1. Identify strengths through collaboration

Team collaboration and communication is incredibly important – and thus extremely useful to you as the manager. Your team is made up of diverse individuals with diverse talents; therefore the only way to find out what these talents (and useful resources) are, is by encouraging your team to share their ideas; prompted by their skills, expertise and ultimately, strengths. The best way to get to the bottom of your team members’ strengths is by asking questions – questions such as ‘What do you think about…’ or ‘How would you handle this situation…?’, or perhaps ‘How would you delegate these tasks amongst yourselves?’. Most times the answers to your burning questions lay within your team, all it takes is effective communication to unlock them.

2. Provide clear instructions and expectations

Once you have identified the strengths within your team and have delegated accordingly, make sure you provide clear instructions; covering all the responsibilities associated with the role or task at hand, as well as what is expected of the individual or the team. Here again, communication plays a key role in the success of your delegating approach. The more transparent you are, the better the execution. It’s also important to remember that while you hand over the responsibility in a full capacity, you as the manager still need to offer support at times, and guide where necessary.

3. Evaluate progress

To validate your delegation decisions, it’s critical that you evaluate whether or not progress is being made. The main objective of delegating is to optimise business functions and processes; to improve operations and streamline practises. If this is not being achieved even after you have mapped out clear instructions and expectations then perhaps you need to consider alternative solutions. By keeping an eye on the results you’ll be able to swiftly develop an alternative approach. With this being said, it’s important to remember that progress takes time, and achieving great results is not an overnight development.

4. Get personal feedback

A great way to achieve effectiveness, efficiency and achieve operational success is through getting feedback from the very person/people involved in the day to day business operations management. Although operations are broken up into smaller tasks. Individuals or teams handling them directly will be able to spot weaknesses or inconsistencies in the chain. In fact, sometimes quicker than even you as the manager will. To create a culture of constant improvement, it’s important that you ‘get your hands dirty’; ask the right questions, find the areas of concern and make changes accordingly.

Delegation does not end with the allocation of tasks and responsibilities – it’s an operation that demands insight; through communication, support and evaluation.