Productivity hackers – 3 businesses innovating to save time and money

Using new tech and time management practices, these businesses show how to power up productivity at work.

The idea of getting more done in less time has been around long before the book The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss arrived on the scene.

Since the Industrial Revolution, finding ways to increase productivity has been on the mind of anyone managing an office or a factory.

Now, cloud technology has disrupted the way we work, and the way businesses engage with this kind of tech has huge impacts on performance and the time people physically spend at work.

To show how businesses are ‘hacking’ to increase productivity, we’ve rounded up a few examples that caught our eye.


Carl Navè – Melbourne


Carl Navè, tailor.
Carl Navè at work.

Carl Navè is a tailor who engaged website developers to freshen up his brand site’s appearance. However, Navè told The Pulse he was inspired to streamline his workflow after talking with his developers.

“When I learned there were platforms like Mailchimp that could plug into your website’s back end and generate basic communications with customers, I thought it was a great idea.”

Navè set up various automated email templates. They include a ‘thank you’ message to customers after they make a purchase, and suggests they leave feedback on Facebook or Google or share Navè’s business details with a friend.

“When someone invests over one thousand dollars they tend to place a great deal of trust in the opinions of friends and colleagues. After six years of running this business, I’ve found the power of reviews and referrals is unparalleled.”

Navè’s automated marketing emails set up at the start of this year has led to three times more reviews of his products and four times more referrals. That buzz has generated enough business to justify the development costs.

A small business can’t afford time spent bogged down in admin or mundane marketing messages. Navè has found a way to turn a cost centre into a profit centre.


Perpetual Guardian – New Zealand


Ever wondered what life would be like if you could work just four days a week for the same salary? For the employees of trust company Perpetual Guardian, that dream has become real since February this year.

After seeing similar initiatives and doing heavy-duty research on workplace productivity, founder Andrew Barnes piloted a four-day work week for all of his 200 employees.

“Research indicates that the average worker only achieves around three hours of productivity out of every work day,” Barnes told The Pulse. “In some cases it may be as low as 1.5 hours.”

In shifting to a four-day week, Barnes has set up a trial eight-week period, which includes measures to track productivity, rotating customer-service rosters and a method to produce qualitative data on the results. To manage this process, Perpetual Guardian has partnered with a local university to crunch all the data and produce a report.

While the pilot results are due in the next four weeks, we can expect this shift to a three-day weekend will rely big time on modern business tools and automation. These can create efficiencies in Perpetual Guardian’s operations that smooth the workflow for employees.

READ: NZ business pilots 4-day work week


Cannings Free Range Butcher – Melbourne


There are many different options you can look at to be more efficient in business. For one butcher group, that meant ditching the use of cash at the counter.

Cannings’ founder, Sam Canning made the choice to go cashless in 2014 to draw the business’s payment practices in line with trends.

“I’m really big on simplifying processes, and the thing was that at the time we were taking 80 percent card anyhow,” he told The Pulse.

READ: Ride the paywave – tips to go cashless

“There was also the hygiene factor and not needing to go to the bank every day and get money – which is a bit of a pain in the arse.”

The cost savings for Cannings works on many levels. Think about the time saved in the 10,000 transactions made each week, time saved going to the bank and time spent manually counting the till at the end of each day.

Canning said there could be tax benefits.

“As you get bigger you want to have that relationship [with the ATO],” said Canning.

“As a small business you can’t see past the short term of the potential tax savings. Having a good relationship with the ATO has been one of the main benefits for us.”

Has your business implemented any novel ways of increasing productivity? Share your story with us by sending an email to the editor.