By Bostjan Bregar, Co-Founder and CEO, The 4th Office

In a world where technology is enabling companies of all sizes to compete globally, it is the smart businesses that are recognising how being lean, agile, fast and responsive can give them a competitive advantage. Flexibility enables these companies to not only respond to market opportunities quickly and service customers efficiently, but also establish themselves as dynamic companies to work for, helping to attract the best talent to their organisation.

Gone are the days that everyone needed to be sat down in the same room together to work as a team, but still many organisations and individuals are stuck in their ways and remain tied to working practices that are inefficient. So how can established businesses and experienced entrepreneurs embrace this new agile way of working, and start 2015 working more efficiently?

Here are some top tips to get you started:

1. Reduce your reliance on email:
Email takes up a huge part of the working day for many people, but is often a distraction from what is really important. Embrace new ways of communicating with your co-workers. Balance usage of email with talking face-to-face and communication on collaboration platforms to enforce togetherness, sharing and the ability to act quickly taking all information into account.

2. Turn off the noise:
Every day there will be hundreds of things competing for your attention, so try to remove yourself from the conversations and projects that aren’t important or relevant to you and focus on what really matters.

3. Start the day in a place that works for you:
The working environment is crucial, but what works for one person might not for another. Whether it is working in a bustling office, shutting yourself away at home, sitting in the park or a combination of all three over the course of the week, you need to find an environment that allows you to stay focused on the work at hand.

4. Go digital:
Don’t waste hours just trying to find stuff. We’ve all done it at some point, but failing to organise files and documents properly costs time. Use a cloud workspace that brings all your assets together in one place so you can access them quickly from your PC, mobile or tablet, wherever you are.

5. Collaborate on projects together:
Many smart companies use cloud-based tools to enable their team members to work together on projects simultaneously, wherever they are in the world and whatever time of day or night, saving huge amounts of time wasted on duplicated efforts.

6. Ditch your company server:
How many times have you been tearing your hair out because you can’t access what you need, or even worse, heard a horror story of a company losing years of data? Cloud storage is safer and more flexible, so it might be time to move everything to the cloud.

In conclusion, all of the above tips are simply helping you to ensure you are spending time on the most important stuff, and that is really what sets smart, agile businesses apart from the competition. Avoid wasting time being constantly interrupted by streams of information across email, social media and other sources, and build a morning routine where you take a look at what you are working on and make a strategic decision on what is important for you to focus on that day, you will be able to capitalise on opportunities and work more efficiently too.

Bostjan Bregar is the co-founder and CEO of The 4th Office, a structured cloud workspace that enables teams to collaborate remotely. For further information go to www.4thoffice.com