Looking to increase productivity in the workplace? Ironically, often the best way to help employees get more done is to stop focusing on the work and instead find ways to ensure they are satisfied. With the right combinations of communication technology, autonomy, environment, workplace design, and clever productivity hacks, you can help the team stay happy, focused, and on task.
1. Use worktech to build teamwork
Having the right tools and equipment in place is crucial for productivity. Communication technology allows you to share the big picture, including overall objectives so that the whole team works toward the same sets of both long- and short-term goals. There’s that old saying about many hands making for light work. But it’s only true when everyone is pulling in the same direction. The last thing you want is employees wasting time working on the wrong projects.
Communication between employees is just as important. When they can collaborate more easily and regularly and work remotely while still having access to the tools they need to perform, people can manage their time more effectively. Videoconferencing technologies and collaboration software, such as Microsoft Teams, allow employees to seamlessly connect with other offices and locations instantly, saving time and travel costs.
For some, though, nothing beats being in the same room. Modern worktech makes it possible with desk-sharing and hot desking. Being able to book in advance, sit and connect with people with similar work habits means employees don’t have to worry about interrupting coworkers. The chattier employees can be together in one group while those who prefer a quieter space can be in another. Then there’s those who like to work non-stop together in one area and those who like a few short breaks in another. To ensure everyone feels welcome and supported, you can also set some etiquette for hot desking. For example, everyone should expect to find and leave desks clean and clear of clutter.
2. Allow for autonomy
Despite research that shows employees working from home remain productive, many employers are still struggling to trust people to work away from the watchful eye of a manager. But autonomy empowers employees, giving them a greater sense of responsibility, which in turn can improve their productivity as they feel more invested in projects and deadlines. Instead of being told what to do, employees now know their opinions matter.
And it’s not just the relationship between the employees and their work. Increasing workplace flexibility also builds more trust between management and employees – leading to happier staff and better retention. You can further support your staff by developing internal policies like Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and offering a connected workplace, giving people the freedom to work with the tools and equipment they prefer, which makes their working life easier, raising individual productivity.
Many companies are now also adding Flexible Fridays, where employees can choose how best to use Friday afternoons. Some keep working like it’s a normal workday while others use it to run a few quick errands. In many workplaces, the policy is to avoid scheduling any meetings on Fridays, ensuring everyone has time to catch up on the week’s work and hit the ground running come Monday morning.
3. Allocate time properly
There’s only ever 24 hours in a day, so good time management is always critical to boosting productivity. You should create a culture where people set and commit to deadlines by giving them the ability and technology that blocks out time for certain tasks and ensures everyone else knows when they’re otherwise occupied. It’s important that people feel like they can protect their time, either by turning off notifications or tagging themselves as “Busy” on the company messaging platform. When it’s time to go heads-down and really focus, it’s important to remove distractions, especially for remote employees and those who are hot desking. Companies have known for a long time they need to provide everything from laptops and webcams on the desks to coffee and snacks in the breakroom, but it might be time for them to start looking at noise-canceling headphones and Spotify subscriptions.
On the topic of time, make sure everyone is respectful of this limited, non-renewable resource. For many teams that means eliminating unnecessary meetings. Everyone should be asking themselves before they schedule a meeting, “Could this be an email?” It should be company policy that every meeting has a clear purpose and a defined goal. In the past, if your company had the same meeting scheduled for the same time, for example every week or month, it might be time to review this policy.
When they’re working alone or in groups, make sure employees know about the drawbacks of multitasking. Multitasking is often hailed as the way to be more productive, but when someone is stretching their attention across several tasks, they always end up stretched too thin. Encourage people to focus on the task at hand by scheduling tasks in a specific order. Not every project allows for it, but where you can, set things up sequentially.
To help employees avoid the temptation of multitasking, encourage them to set a timer when working on a task. It could be for as little as 15 minutes or as long as an hour. No matter what, during that time, they should focus only on the work in front of them. Let new emails sit in the inbox. Let phone calls go to voicemail. Not only can they use their time better by working with a timer, but they can also more easily track the amount of time they’re putting in for each project.
4. Improve the environment
Furniture, decor, temperature, and ambient noise can all affect productivity levels at your workplace. People simply work better when they are in comfortable, inspiring surroundings. By reinventing your workplace so that people want to work there, you can boost productivity.
Start with the basics and go from there. Keeping the office clean has a big impact. In fact, a messy, dirty office make it difficult for people to feel motivated and productive. On top of having everything neat and tidy, you also need comfortable, practical furniture. No one wants to sit at an uncomfortable desk, craning their neck to see the second monitor. There’s a reason standing and even walking desks are so popular. People need to be able to stretch their legs if you want them to stretch their imaginations and deliver exciting new ideas.
For the decor, pick from the best colors for productivity. Avoid putting art on the wall that’s likely to distract. Employees can lose focus if the pictures on the wall beside their desk are a lot more interesting than anything on their computer screens. Open plans are popular because they foster a flatter organizational structure and encourage collaboration. But every office also needs quieter, private areas where people can focus. Workspaces can be measured and reconfigured to accommodate areas that suit different worker styles. This flexibility creates a workforce that’s highly productive because it’s very comfortable.
5. Start getting productive
If you address all the issues above, you’re likely to have a business that is maxing out on its productivity levels. Using the right worktech that allows employees to book their desk or quiet spaces ahead of time, to see where their colleagues will be that day, and reserve meeting rooms in advance goes along way to ensure the workday is stress free and constructive. There’s nothing worse than coming into an office that’s a free for all.
Get in touch with Condeco to see how we can make the way you work more seamless and easier for everyone. Together we can implement a true ‘work smarter, not harder’ culture.