Downtime is a serious issue for any business to face. When an unexpected problem pauses productivity within your company, it’s going to have consequences. Money is lost, and time is wasted, but there are even bigger disasters to contend with. Being unproductive could mean disappointing your customers, which can harm your reputation. Sometimes, legal trouble can even occur. As stressful as this may be for you, it affects the employees too, impacting staff morale and productivity. With that in mind, here are ten things you can do to reduce downtime.

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1. Educate The Entire Team

Employees are the backbone of any company. Without a team of hardworking individuals, your business won’t survive. Because of this, it should be no surprise that employees can be one of the largest contributors to downtime. If the workers are always making mistakes, it will begin to affect productivity. The trouble is, employees won’t know what to do unless you teach them. Even the best workers make mistakes, but they will make less of them with proper training. 

2. Work On Staff Communication

Every great leader knows the importance of communication. Unless your employees talk to one another, they won’t collaborate effectively. This means that work will likely suffer, impacting productivity overall. While an open plan office would allow for easy communication, it doesn’t work in all situations. Some employees work much more productively in private spaces. If you offer private offices or rooms, make sure that your staff can talk using email and messenger. 

3. Stick To Maintenance Schedules

All companies have equipment that they rely on. Sometimes this is little more than computers and printers, but other times, your staff will need special tools to carry out their work. When this equipment doesn’t work as it should, it can result in downtime. Thankfully, you can usually avoid this issue with maintenance. Not only will this reduce the number of unexpected breakdowns, but the equipment will last longer too. This means that you’ll have to pay out for fewer replacements.

4. Upgrade Any Old Equipment

Even when you take care of technology, it won’t last forever. Eventually, all equipment has to be replaced. Rather than wait for an unexpected breakdown, you should invest in regular upgrades. This means that you can make plans to reduce the effect the replacement has on the business. Avoiding these upgrades might save you money in the short-term, but it won’t do any good overall. It will become difficult to repair certain devices, as the parts will be harder to source. 

5. Bring In Professional Help

Good equipment operators should have no trouble in diagnosing and repairing many smaller problems with their tools. However, you will need an expert for any complex issues. Trying to fix problems you don’t understand could make them much worse. Because of this, you should research nearby IT experts and find help that you can trust. It’s particularly important that you have professional help in large and complicated scenarios, like relocating the business. 

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6. Plan For Power Outages

Working technology is little use to you unless you can power it. A power outage could bring your company to a halt, especially if it relies heavily on technology. Thankfully, there are several ways to limit the impact. With variable speed drives, you can continue to feed power to conveyor belts, plant machinery, and other equipment, even if power output dips. A backup generator would also help to keep the business up and running until you could get the power back on again. 

7. Reward Your Hard Workers

Punishing an employee for causing downtime would be a natural response of many employers when that employee doesn’t perform. Some bosses would dock pay or cancel benefits to those caught sitting on the job. However, this isn’t the best way to motivate your staff. A much better approach would be to treat those staff members that are working hard. There are many ways to reward employees, from paid days off to fancy lunches and even gift cards for local stores. 

8. Make A Healthy Office

Sickness can cause chaos within a workforce, seriously affecting productivity. As a leader, it’s your responsibility to ensure that everyone on your team is functioning at their very best. They must be capable of handling the work you delegate to them, or huge issues could arise. Making a healthy office will prevent sickness, as well as injury. When a worker is sick or hurt, you should offer your support. Showing that you care in this way will motivate your staff to get back on track.

9. Look At Your Budget

While downtime is costly, resolving the problems that cause it isn’t cheap. After all, electricians, replacement tools, and backup generators can all be pricey. For this reason, you must take a look at your budget and plan how to cover the costs associated with downtime. If you were to build an emergency fund, for example, you would be able to dip into that whenever you had an invoice to pay. Make sure that you also have a great business insurance policy to fall back on.

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10. Give Each Other Feedback

Unless employees are told they’re making a mistake, they will continue to make it. It’s for this reason that performance reviews are so crucial. Giving your workers constructive feedback lets them improve, benefiting them and the company. Just remember that you can improve too. Make sure you also allow your staff to offer advice of their own, whether it be face to face or using a suggestions box. Staff productivity is just as much your responsibility as it is the employees’.

Nearly all businesses experience downtime at some point. However, that doesn’t mean that your venture should be destroyed by it. Downtime may cause chaos, but you can protect your company. With the advice above, it’s possible to prevent downtime in your business, saving time and money, as well as unnecessary stress. If you can’t avoid downtime, the tips above should still help you to limit the impact that it has. 

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