An employee on a webcam meeting.

3 Ways to Do More With Fewer Resources

No matter how well-funded your company is or how carefully you plan out your budget, there are times when spending has to stop. Even if there’s promise of more in the future, for the time being you have to learn how to make do with fewer resources.

The year that changed everything:

For many of us, last year was that moment. Maybe it was a smaller staff or less access to the resources needed to run your business. Whatever it was,  COVID-19 also cut down on most of our spending and socializing. And nearly all of the experiential moments in our lives including live entertainment, travel and dining out, ground to a halt. More than that, it felt like anyone even peripherally connected to the hospitality industry had to tighten their collective belts and make do with less.

Making less seem like more:

Many are still struggling with trying to keep up morale — and appearances  when making do with less. To help you figure it out, we spent some time brainstorming and came up with 3 creative (and sort of sneaky) ways to make it seem as if everything is exactly as it should be.

  1. Frame it differently:
    To paraphrase Mary Poppins, a spoonful of sugar really does make the medicine go down. In other words, think about all the creative words and expressions we use. For instance we’ve taken the idea of junking and turned it into a more creative and beautiful alternative, upcycling. Instead of presenting fewer resources as a calamity, try to present it as a timely option. In our newer work universes, things are often pared down. Perhaps your new approach is one of minimalism or a bare bones approach. Or maybe you’re trying to work to create a more streamlined process and that might mean eliminating the excess that makes days more crowded and less productive. And have fun with the announcements if at all possible. Let your team know that you’re going to cut monthly meetings down and increase coffee breaks. In that way you’re rewarding them for integrating this new approach.
  2. Choose multi-tasking tools/and become more collaborative:
    Remember when Zoom and Slack were simply descriptors and not part of our everyday life? Well, our frequently distanced work environments mean that many on our teams will continue to work remotely for a while. And that’s a good thing if you’re going through a time when you have fewer resources.This would be a great time to introduce new tools to your team. In this way you allow everyone to stay in touch and continue to feel the connectivity even as the daily resources might otherwise have dwindled. We’ve heard from people who connect with colleagues over short Loom video trainings or who find different ways to collaborate on projects on Asana.And if you want to find ways to reward your staff, try to create modified versions instead of the over the top ones. Maybe your team had epic cocktail parties each month. While people seem to have tired of Zoom cocktail parties, what if you sent team members a gift of a mixology lesson or flower arranging course or something that allows all of you to meet in a way that seems luxurious but might actually cost a fraction of an in-person eventIn this way you remind your team how important they are to you while cutting costs and creatively reinforcing just how important they are to the continued success of your company.
  3. Turn it into a team-building experience:
    One of the more frustrating elements of working within a team utilizing fewer resources is the feeling of helplessness. Added to that is the panic that having less means fewer jobs are the next logical step and that your own position is suddenly precarious.

If you’re charged with figuring out how to do your best with less, try to incorporate team members to help you figure it all out. “Try to make it collaborative,” suggests Andres Lares, Managing partner at Shapiro Negotiations Institute. “If there are aspects of the decision (fewer resources) that haven’t been made, try to include employees – small groups, survey for all, etc. and allow them to voice their opinion.” Lares, who’s also co-author of Persuade:The 4-Step Process to Influence People and Decisions which will be out in July, said by doing so “ This not only will help to end up with a better result, it will also make them more committed since they had a say in the process, decision, communication, etc.”

Adding to that idea, there might be elements that you think are crucial that your team members might never use. Maybe it’s a license for a product that no one ever bothered to figure out, or even an incentive that’s wholly disinteresting. By working with your team you also empower them to decide on their priorities and thereby make it a collective decision to cut down.

And if anyone grumbles, try to build credibility. Lares advises making sure that you “communicate that you have actually have their best interest in mind. This will make the change – especially if it’s a loss – more palatable.”

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