The construction industry is one of the few sectors of business where there’s still some cause for optimism in uncertain economic times. However, the success of a construction business is contingent on two things; doing a good job, and doing it on time. Productivity is the key to achieving these goals, and if you want to keep your productivity high, there are a few things you can do to manage your workflow effectively.

Identify Your Risks

One of the best ways to maintain productivity is to know what to do when things go wrong. If you plan your entire project under the assumption no mistakes will be made, no unexpected emergencies will crop up, and nothing will go wrong, this leaves you vulnerable—and perhaps completely unable to recover—should something wrong occur.

The most successful companies manage risk in addition to work. They identify where possible problem areas may occur, and they build in contingencies to deal with them. That way, if there is a sudden issue with a supplier or an accident occurs that sets back work and injures staff, some fallback or recovery method is in place to continue working.

Establish & Maintain Effective Lines Of Communication

This applies to all levels of the construction operation. One of the fastest ways to productivity to decrease and performance to degrade is for breakdowns in communication to occur. Clients, for example, always prefer to be kept in the loop, especially when it comes to emergencies or delays and how they are being handled. Any construction business owner that maintains a poor line of communication to the people paying for the job is going to run into trouble.

At the same time, the more important lines of communication lie with management, workers, and others that are actually on the field. In an emergency, people that can report back the situation, and get clear directives on how to respond can dramatically reduce the period a crisis lasts. When you make changes to the protocol for the day, a clear system for disseminating that information, so that everyone knows and no one is doing the wrong thing is also important.  A communication system that is clear, trackable and easy to manage keeps “everyone on the same page,” constantly moves forward, rather than suffering setbacks, and trying to determine who didn’t get what message and why.

Take Advantage Of Technology

Finally, one of the best ways to increase workflow and productivity is to take advantage of new developments in work-related technology. In the past, for example, the only thing communication devices could do was allow workers to speak to each other wirelessly, over long distances. Today’s communication devices can store photos, allow workers to access a centralized database of information or critical updates, and even transmit location in the event of emergencies, or for safety such as working in remote locations.

Similarly, managing work is now easier, thanks to automation as well. The time-honored tradition of punching in with a punch clock machine on physical premises still works, but there are better ways to do it. Incorporating employee time clock software, for example, not only eliminates need to go to a physical machine to punch in, it can even eliminate fraudulent practices of the past like “buddy punching,” where someone else clocks in on an employee’s behalf, even if that employee is absent.