Every business owners wants their company to grow each year. Pretty obvious right. While it is definitely obvious, you’d be surprised how many businesses fail to identify growth opportunities for their company. Do you hire more employees? Offer new products? Spend more on marketing? There is no single answer to growth. However, there is always one place you can look to improve. Workplace efficiency.

If you can’t afford to hire more employees you need to get more out of the ones you have. Training your team to be more efficient is a rigorous process. There will be tension, and you may hurt some feelings. That all said, it’s necessary for long-term growth.

Here are four things you can do to improve workplace efficiency:

Avoid scheduling unnecessary meetings.

Meeting with your team to keep track of progress and discuss new ideas is important. However, we tend to schedule more meetings than we need to throughout the workday.

Studies show that about 37% of an employee’s time is spent in a meeting. Breaking that down into dollars, it’s estimated that US companies spend $35 billion on meetings every year. Not only can these meetings be a waste of time, they are also a waste of money.

When you schedule a meeting you need to consider all factors. First and foremost, you need to identify an actionable goal. If you can’t identify at least one actionable goal for the meeting, it’s best not to hold it. Additionally, you need to consider accumulated time. An hour long meeting with 10 employees is 10 hours of time spent. Only invite participants who can add value rather than just listen. Invite players not bystanders.

Utilize remote contractors.

In this day and age, we are able to run an entirely remote business. Sure it’s not ideal to have the team scattered across the world, but we know it’s possible. Prospecting, hiring, and training employees is both time consuming and expensive. Remote contractors are a great way to finish projects and increase productivity on the fly.

When hiring a remote contractor you get to control the hours they work and how much they’re paid. In other words, you’ll know exactly what you’re getting for every penny (generally speaking). Once the job is done, there’s no need to keep them on the payroll just reach back out if their expertise is needed again.

Create friendly competition through gamification.

Gamification is a proven strategy used to improve workplace efficiency. The basic concept is simple. If you create friendly competition amongst your team in the form of a “game”, they will become more motivated to outperform their colleagues.

There are plenty of gamification strategies you can choose from. If you’re running a sales organization, you can create weekly leaderboards for your sales reps. At the end of each week, you can award the winner with a small prize. To keep them hungry, you can offer bigger prizes at the end of the month or year.

Automate, automate, automate.

Thanks to technology we can automate just about every piece of our business. Well, most of them. Whether it’s your calendar management or social media campaigns, there are plenty of tools available to automate your processes.

These platforms won’t replace your employees, they will simply make them work more efficiently. For example, using a digital accounting solution you can significantly reduce the workload for your finance department. Many products are built for specific industries so shop around and choose the right solution for your business.

At the end of the day, there’s no single fix to creating a more efficient workplace. That said, there are plenty of strategies that have been proven to work. The four listed above are ones you should implemented right away.