Productivity is a key work trait that has a unique characteristic that can always be improved upon. Regardless of how hard-working and efficient a business is, there are always ways to increase employees’ productivity. In fact, many of the best ways to increase productivity aren’t overly complicated and don’t involve expensive investments.
In its most simple form, productivity is measured by the amount of output as related to the input. In other words, the more you produce with the fewer resources (human as well as financial), the better. While productivity is easy to calculate in an abstract sense, it’s much more finicky to develop in the workplace.
This means that there’s no one specific key to boosting productivity, but rather multiple different approaches that culminate in a productive environment. Luckily, many of these ways to increase your team’s productivity are not complicated to implement. They certainly take time and planning, but regardless of the size and experience of your business, you can begin implementing them relatively quickly.
Read on to learn more about some of the best ways to help your team work both harder and smarter!
A productive team begins with the right goals. Without knowing what they are working towards, and what checkpoints they need to meet on the way, your team will not know whether their efforts are on track. It seems simple, yet many businesses underestimate the goal-setting process, with detrimental effects on productivity.
By working together with your team to set both long-term goals and short-term milestones, you will ensure that your team is focused. Inviting your team to take part in the process of goal setting has the added benefit of increasing the team’s sense of ownership, a psychological state that leads to higher productivity.
An employee who feels that they own a task is much more likely to find more efficient ways of accomplishing it. The sense of ownership that comes along with autonomy has a highly motivating effect on employees, often leading to more innovative approaches and ultimately higher levels of productivity.
Of course, you should make sure that you grant autonomy in a responsible manner. Ownership granted to an employee who doesn’t feel ready for it can in fact have the opposite effect on productivity. It’s not simply a question of letting employees take on more and more processes, but rather supporting them as they develop their own autonomy through direct mentorship and professional development.
As a leader in your business, your employees will rightfully look to you as an example of how they should work. If you expect your employees to work hard and efficiently, then it’s important you demonstrate exactly what that means in your unique context.
By acting as a role model, your team will have a source of inspiration that they can follow. It’s important to demonstrate that you’re a team member as well as a leader, at times working alongside your employees. If done correctly, this can inspire your employees to work harder, as well as give them firsthand observations on how to work smarter.
One of the best ways to kill productivity is to make your employees feel that they don’t have a voice in the workplace. If employees feel that they are not listened too, they are less likely to speak up when there’s a problem, or when they have an innovative idea to share.
By encouraging open communication, you can ensure your employees don’t hold back when they have something to say. One of the best, and simplest, approaches you can try in this regard is taking time to ask your employees what challenges they are facing and what excites them at work. Of course, it’s not enough to simply ask the questions; you also have to practice active listening to the answer!
An often held, yet incorrect, idea on how to increase productivity revolves around the idea of forcing employees to work longer hours. The logic being that the more time employees work, the more they will produce. This idea couldn’t be farther from the truth, however, and ignores the importance of creating a balanced working environment.
Employees who are overly stressed work less efficiently, and often make mistakes they wouldn’t otherwise, decreasing their productivity. Make sure that you show employees that you value their personal time, and encourage them to actively rest when not working. This will help boost their overall productivity while at work, as well as help them feel appreciated!
Sometimes the easiest way to increase productivity is to give your team the right collaboration tool. While a team collaboration tool certainly won’t solve all of your problems, when combined with some of the other tips, it can have an amplifying effect by streamlining communication and allowing for more efficient collaboration.
A tool such as a corporate instant messenger can give your team this structured online collaboration environment. This is particularly important if you are one of the thousands of businesses working with remote employees. Being able to quickly and efficiently send and receive information, transfer files, and work together on joint projects can go a long way to increasing productivity.
Productivity is the cornerstone of any business, yet can seem like an unsolvable riddle. While there’s no one approach that will work immediately for every business, by embracing the concepts above, you’ll be well on your way.
Through setting clear goals, developing more open and streamlined communication, setting a personal example, encouraging autonomy, and supporting work-life balance, your employees will become a high functioning and profitable team!