shares his insight into workplace productivity and offers some tips for increasing it amongst your staff.
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Productivity is one of the most important qualities of a successful enterprise. A dedicated and motivated workforce that gets results is the dream of business owners everywhere, but how do you know you're doing everything you can to facilitate that kind of effort from your employees?
Increasing productivity isn't as simple as 'cracking the whip', as anyone who's ever had a bad manager can tell you. Burnout, resistance and a plummeting staff retention rates can be the result of poorly implemented productivity boosting techniques — the opposite of what you are trying to achieve.
So, below are just a few of the many ways you can positively impact workplace productivity in your business.
Provide the right environment
What the average worker can get done in a day generally depends on the conditions they have to work in. This means making sure each staff member has the tools they need to do their job, but also that they are comfortable while doing it.
Things like temperature, access to natural light, the speed of the office machinery, and other distractions can be enough to put people off their work and make them watch the clock instead.
Furthermore, employees should feel comfortable approaching their co-workers or their seniors with news of any issues or to ask them for help. They should also feel confident that they will receive positive reinforcement for jobs they've done well, encouraging them to try just as hard again on future projects.
Break down big projects
One big, looming deadline hanging over the heads of your staff can cause all sorts of problems, leading to stress, burnout, or simply giving up. It's better to turn big projects or problems into a series of smaller ones, setting more-manageable deadlines along the way.
During the planning stage, allow the team to highlight any areas where they feel they may need extra assistance, further training, or the input from others involved in the project. Setting deadlines this way also allows team members at all levels to be aware of the work going into a project from each person involved, giving everyone a better idea of the scope.
Create a culture of positive accountability
At the OddsMonkey offices, we strive towards a culture of positive accountability for the work our team are involved in and encourage them to take ownership of their appointed tasks. We've found that this does wonders for workplace productivity, as everyone feels responsible but not micromanaged.
Try organising projects and problems in ways that encourage everyone involved to do their bit by sharing regular updates, significant findings, and further developments, as well as any advice and tips that they might discover along the way.
Doing this on a team-wide basis means that everyone is kept in the loop and knows what’s happening in real time, but it also encourages individuals to keep on top of their work without too much pressure from management.
Contrary to the concept of being micromanaged, this system provides teams with a path to progress within a project that they can see and manage themselves.
It also encourages them to keep everyone else informed of any significant movement they have achieved within a time period, without the pressure of being ‘henpecked’ for tighter deadlines or having more work being piled on.
From there, they can simply take ownership of each task within the plan and provide updates each week, or when something they are proud has been achieved. This allows them to feel ‘in charge’ of the process but also supported enough to know that assistance is on hand should they require it.
Take collaborative approaches
In fast paced industries, there can be a tendency to push forward on multiple projects at the same time, which can become overwhelming very quickly — especially without the right measures in place to account for a team member's time.
A good system to have in place is one that doesn't emphasise multi-tasking and overtime, as these can lead to burnout. Instead, staff should be encouraged to prioritise, communicate, and collaborate on projects instead.
So, develop a system where staff can freely discuss their workloads and identify any opportunities for someone to lend a hand amongst themselves and without much managerial input.
For example, if one team member is overwhelmed but another has a relatively light to-do list that day, they can work out how best to approach the problem together. This takes some of the weight off without sacrificing an individual's accountability for their part of the project.
Focus on creating a culture of accountability so that your staff can take ownership of their projects, then set reasonable small deadlines and encourage communication throughout every stage of a project. These are just some of the ways that businesses can help increase productivity in the workplace.