Growing your company to the point where you have more than a few people doing everything is exciting and scary. We are so ingrained with the idea that multitasking is the answer to everything that most of us don’t stop to think about whether multitasking is really as useful as we “know” it is.
Most people new to the job market learn quickly to say they are fantastic at multitasking, then they end up with so many different things on their plate that they are operating at a much lower efficiency than if they only had a few tasks to focus on.
When your team gets the point that one person is spending 20% of their time on one task, it’s time to split. If a whole day of a 40-hour workweek is spent on one task, that one task is blocking out time that that person could spend working on their main focus. Or if it’s the first two hours in the morning, then she has to switch gears part of the way into the day; that ruins any sort of momentum she built up in the first couple hours.
Flow is important. It builds momentum and creativity that allows your employees to finish tasks with ease, grace, and few mistakes. Juggling three balls is easier than ten. By having departments subdivided into specialists, your teams grow into true experts in their area of specialty. Would you rather have experts or generalists?
If your company is small, don’t fret. Use 20% as a guideline rather than rule. Ensure your support staff does not get overwhelmed. Hiring more people that directly impact your sales figures is important, but remember that for each salesperson you have on your team, she needs the support of your other staff. You don’t want to close a deal and then disappoint the customer with poor delivery and no customer support. That will wreck your company branding. As you grow, remember to take a look at what all your employees do, and if there are one or two tasks that take away from other focuses, specialize!