We have all heard the phrase work smarter, not harder, but how many people put that into practice? Better yet, how many businesses actually follow this? Here at Equips, we believe in this very strongly and have built technology products to help our clients tackle their equipment maintenance in a way that is smart, not hard. For example, you can either open up your ATM and try to diagnose the fault on your own. Or you can use EquipsConnect to diagnose the issue remotely and resolve it without ever having to call a technician. I know which option I would choose, personally. But this ideology goes beyond just our products. It reflects exactly how we operate as a company. The following are a few strategies you can begin implementing today.

#1 Strategic Insourcing

Too often, managers and executives try to take it upon themselves to do everything on their own. While such determination is admirable, trying to do everything perfectly and all at once is a great way to drive yourself crazy. You have taken it upon yourself to surround yourself with bright and talented people—use them! A great place to start would be by delegating some of the decision-making to those around you.

We recently had every person in our company complete a Validated Learning assignment. This gave us all the opportunity to decide how we can improve an aspect of our job, a project, or the company and craft an experiment to judge the impact of the decision. This allows every person in the company to make effective changes to the way we operate based on what they are best at doing, their individual jobs. This is merely the first thing you can do to work smarter, not harder.

#2 Energize Your Employees

Our official motto is Do Your Best Work. This doesn’t just apply to our overall goal of helping businesses take equipment maintenance off their plate so that they can focus on serving customers. This motto is just as important internally. We strongly believe that every person should pursue work that energizes and fulfills them. Each employee should roll out of bed excited to get to work. This will be reflected by their performance.

So how do you ensure that each employee is doing fulfilling work? Ask them! Here at Equips, we have regular reviews where we have honest conversations about what we do and do not enjoy about our jobs. These conversations can be a bit daunting for employees. Nobody wants to tell their manager how much they hate, say, designing graphics. But unless you have this honest conversation, that employee will be stuck designing graphics when they really want to be working on data entry. At the same time, Greg in a different department might not care for data entry. He has a secret artistic passion that he hasn’t been able to pursue because he has been busy begrudgingly punching numbers every day for the last five years.

When employees are happy about their work, they are much less likely to leave. In fact, they are more likely to produce a better output. Your job, as a manager, is to facilitate these conversations in a way that fosters transparency and honesty. Make it known that there are no right or wrong answers. Ask them what they would like to try, what they are most interested in, what they are least interested in, and what work they would like to stop doing. You might just be surprised by the responses.

#3 Strategic Outsourcing

To build off #2, it is entirely possible that nobody will have a passion for certain tasks within your organization. Say, for example, that Greg decides to leave your company in pursuit of art school. Nobody remaining within your organization is interested or qualified to do his design work. Now what? The simple answer—outsourcing. Even here we outsource certain responsibilities to different service providers. If you are familiar with our blog, you may have noticed some of the articles look and sound different from others. On a monthly basis, I am presented with topics for articles to be written. I simply do not have the time to write every single article. Instead, I select three or four articles that don’t particularly interest me. We send them out to an external copywriter to be written on our behalf.

Not sure how to begin outsourcing? Luckily for you, we live during a time where we are all connected by technology. This means you can hire practically anyone, anywhere, and for anything. In fact, for $5 you can have somebody teach you how to communicate with your pets… using telepathy! Or for $10 you can have somebody make a hand-drawn portrait of you as a mermaid. I’m sure my wife would love this as an anniversary gift.

There is an abundance of different outsourcing websites and marketplaces. My personal favorite is Upwork, as it contains lots of talent to choose from and does a great job of protecting you as you pay for labor. Give it a try!

#4 Accept Constructive Criticism

Here is a fun history fact: did you know that in Medieval Europe, the jester was the only person in the kingdom allowed to openly mock and criticize the king and nobles. In fact, the jester would sometimes be reprimanded if the jokes were not lewd enough. The job of the jester was not only to entertain the royals, but also to make them aware of their flaws in running the kingdom. Unless within your organization you have a guy in a silly hat that juggles and pokes fun of management, you need to find a different way to receive constructive criticism.

As a manager, receiving constructive criticism is super important. Your employees are observant and might have some ideas as to how you can perform your job or department more efficiently. Be receptive to this. Odds are, you have given constructive criticism to an employee before. Those above you have probably given you constructive criticism. But have you received it from those you oversee? As you have strategic insourcing conversations with your employees, you should also ask how you can improve as a manager. I mean, you’re already asking the tough questions. What’s one more? In the process, you might just learn how you can work smarter, not harder.

#5 Clarify Your Goals

To work smarter, not harder, you must solidify what you and your team are working towards. On a quarterly basis, we write down what we want to accomplish individually and in pursuit of your overall mission. Once we have these set in stone, we can create a game plan for how we wish to accomplish these goals. Too many organizations fail to solidify these goals and are constantly chasing a moving target. This makes it impossible to work smart and they often end up working very hard to achieve something that doesn’t align with their overall vision. We recommend having regular conversations about your goals, status updates, and encouraging dialogue to ensure that everyone is moving in the right direction.

Work Smarter, Not Harder with Equips

Your business relies heavily on equipment to serve your customers. But when your equipment goes down and needs immediate maintenance, you must work to get it back up and running. Diagnosing the fault, calling the technician, handling the billing process for the repairs—that’s way too much hard work. We offer you a smarter way to manage your equipment so you can get back to serving your customers. Simply upload your equipment data to our secure cloud-based inventory system. Then, when it is time for maintenance, place a service request with your preferred vendor in as little as 15 seconds. We will handle the billing and dispatch processes for you.

If you have further questions about Equips and how it can improve the way you manage equipment assets, give us a ring at 866-324-4508 or send us a message. We are always here to help!