Productivity is one of the most important ingredients in a successful business. However, achieving and preserving productivity isn’t always easy.
While some teams in your workforce may consistently achieve their targets and maintain high levels of motivation, others might struggle to access the same level of focus. Fortunately, productivity is something your team can cultivate and optimise over time, like many professional skills.
Even as workplace dynamics shift and teams evolve, the following productivity strategies should ensure that employees can accomplish their goals.
1. Encourage Teams to Prioritise One Task at a Time
Employees can often feel like they’re constantly jumping between different tasks, trying to keep on top of an ever-increasing task list.
When your to-do list seems to be expanding, it’s tempting to try and tackle multiple things at once.
Unfortunately, studies show multitasking harms productivity, making it harder to give complete attention to any given task. What’s more, multitasking could increase the risk of employees making mistakes because they’re not focusing fully on one thing at a time.
Encourage your team to organise their schedules by focusing on one task at a time. Project management tools can allow team members to check off each task they complete as they work on them, which helps to create a sense of accomplishment, and builds motivation.
2. Allow Teams to Design Their Schedules
While certain tasks will have specific deadlines that need to be considered, you may find it’s helpful to provide your teams with more autonomy over how they organise their day.
Provided the most important tasks are completed on time, you can allow your employees to arrange their to-do lists in the format that makes the most sense for them.
Some team members will find it easier to tackle the most challenging tasks first. This “eating the frog” method takes advantage of the focus that some employees have when they first arrive at work.
Overcoming a challenge early on in the day can also create motivation to push staff through the rest of the day.
Other employees will prefer to start their day with less complex tasks and work up to the bigger challenges when they feel the most focused. In a world of diverse employees, allowing everyone to choose their strategy can lead to better outcomes.
3. Train Staff to Solve Problems
Autonomy and independence in the workplace can significantly improve productivity levels. When team members feel empowered to make their own decisions and solve problems independently, they spend less time waiting for approval and guidance from others.
Giving your employees training on how to fix common technical issues or overcome problems they might be facing with their workflows could help boost their efficiency levels.
Offering training to your team members ensures they have the knowledge, guidance, and insight required to keep working as productively as possible in any environment.
A strong set of training opportunities can also lead to huge benefits for your team. One study from the Huffington Post found companies offering comprehensive training achieved 24% higher profit margins.
Some areas to focus on with your training tactics include:
- Troubleshooting common technical issues
- Communicating with colleagues
- Time management
4. Make Time for Breaks
While it’s tempting to assume more time spent on tasks means higher productivity levels, the brain can only focus on something for so long. Every so often, we all need to take breaks to refresh our minds, so make sure your team members are scheduling breaks into their day.
The Pomodoro Technique can be an excellent strategy to teach employees who need help with time management and taking breaks. The technique involves working for 25 minutes and taking a break at the end of each working period.
Companies can also encourage their team members to segment their days into chunks, with small breaks after each segment, so they can get ready to focus on a new task.
Remember, breaks aren’t just good for productivity; they’re also crucial to ensuring the wellbeing of employees. Breaks can help reduce stress, ensure employees find opportunities to move, and take time away from screens.
5. Provide the Right Equipment
Employees in any industry can only do their best work when they have access to the right tools. Providing the right resources and equipment to staff members wherever they may be working from is crucial to ensuring high productivity levels.
Think about the essential systems your employees use every day. What kind of hardware, networking tools, and infrastructure will they need to remain productive? Are there any specialist software tools necessary to help your teams achieve their goals?
Providing the right training, so your employees know how to use all of the tools correctly should ensure your staff can leverage resources as effectively as possible.
At the same time, it’s helpful to speak to your employees regularly and ask them if there are any additional tools or resources they feel they could benefit from.
6. Ensure Teams Know How to Build a Productive Environment
Finally, as the workplace continues to evolve, it’s important that team members know how to create an environment suitable for productivity, wherever they are. According to Forbes, around 70% of the workforce could be working remotely by 2025, which means your team members may need to learn how to create the perfect workspace at home.
Guide your employees to minimise distractions by turning off notifications on apps and smartphones when they need to focus. You can also offer advice on choosing the right room to work from when operating remotely or reducing noise exposure.
For in-office employees, getting feedback on how to make the business space more conducive to productivity may also be helpful. Ask your teams whether they’d prefer a more open office environment or more private rooms for focus work.
Neil & Adela
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