A note from Mike: I am not a fan of bookkeeping. When we started to expand Productivityist into a full-fledged company, we knew we’d need a service to help us out with that. One of the services we looked at was Bench. Bench is the online bookkeeping service that pairs you with a dedicated bookkeeper and uses elegant, simple software to do your bookkeeping for you. When Cameron McCool, Content Manager at Bench, asked if he could share with Productivityist readers how the team at Bench stays productive using some uncommon methods, I was curious and more than willing to see what he offered. The following is the post he submitted. Enjoy!
Bench was built from the desire to help people outsource and automate a commonly tedious task (bookkeeping), so naturally we’re big fans of productivity. If there’s a way for us to be more productive as a team, we’re all for it.
Here are three uncommon hacks we’ve integrated into our workflow to help us be more productive as a large and growing team.
1. Optimized In-Person Communication
To date we’ve integrated the following practices to improve in-person interaction and the sharing of information across the company:
- Lunch and Learn Sessions: Every Wednesday a different team member presents an hour-long presentation to anyone who wants to attend. One week it’s font and color selection, the next it’s a deeper look at using Excel. In-house Lunch and Learn sessions are a cost- and time-effective way of distributing valuable information and skills throughout the company.
- Bierhaus: Always fun. Always on Friday afternoon. Bierhaus is a social, open company forum held every two weeks where department heads update us on company progress. All team members are welcome to ask questions on anything they like. Sharing information regularly in this way helps us to stay current with the goings on of other departments without having to schedule time-consuming meetings each week.
- One-on-Ones with Ian (Bench’s CEO): Everyone is able to arrange an in-person meeting with Ian at any time, and we’re invited to ask him anything we like – feedback on our performance, his take on the future of the company, even his thoughts on the next season of Game of Thrones. Keeping lines of communication open and steering clear of hierarchy has helped us to be more productive, as it fosters a safe environment where everyone feels comfortable pitching new ideas and expressing concerns as soon as they arise.
2. Every Employee Gets a New MacBook Air
Granted, it’s a big investment to provide a new MacBook Air to every employee, but it pays us back in kind. It makes every team member extremely mobile, which means that conducting meetings off site and choosing to work from home for the day is simple and easy to arrange. And moving desks takes no more than a few minutes.
One of my colleagues worked for a multinational company before joining Bench. “It took two weeks and cost $2000 for someone to move desks,” he mentioned one day.
It’s productive in the short term, and cost-effective in the long term.
I once did the math on how much time this app saved Bench as a company. If we work on the assumption that 1Password saves each employee at Bench an average of 3 minutes a day, and we have 100 employees, then we’re saving 25 working hours company wide per week. That’s 1250 working hours per year – the equivalent of 156 eight hour working days. Not bad for a single app!
Feel free to use any of the above hacks that work well with your business, and if you have any others that you use, please share them in the comments section below.
If you’re interested in giving Bench a shot, you can start your free trial today. And if you’re behind on your bookkeeping, Bench’s catch-up service can help get your books back on track. As a side note, Productivityist received no compensation for this article.