By Marko Maric – Social-Hire
A productive workplace ensures your projects and tasks are always finished fast, and in a quality way. But, improving workplace productivity can be difficult, especially if you’re unsure of the best ways to do it.
To help you and your employees reach the peaks of productivity, here are 5 easy steps you can follow:
Managing your employees is beneficial in a workplace, but micromanagement is a whole other story.
By micromanaging, you’re essentially taking on all the responsibilities, and stopping everyone else from making any real contributions:
- you spend a lot of time explaining everyone’s duties and tasks
- you focus on the minor details, instead of the big picture
- your employees don’t feel encouraged to make decisions without consulting you
- in short, nothing gets done without you
And, if you’re the only one doing any real work, you’re actually the only one being productive.
To avoid micromanagement, you should:
- delegate the tasks you can
- only provide general instructions and main objectives
- encourage employees to develop their own working styles
- trust their instincts and encourage them to make their own decisions
- listen to other people’s ideas, and consider their opinions
Once you delegate responsibility and work in this manner, everyone will start contributing equally, so your business prospects will move forward faster.
Use an hours tracker
By using an hours tracker to track the time you and your employees spend on various tasks, you really get an insight into workplace productivity. For this purpose, you can use a free hours tracker, and learn:
- how much time you spend on each assignment
- where you waste your time
- how much time it takes to finish your most important tasks
- where you can make improvements in your work routine
- whether your deadlines are feasible, or you need to tweak them to fit the time it really takes you to finish
The best way to get all this data is to turn on the timer once you start working on an activity, and then stop it once you’re done. This way, you’ll get the exact hours you’ve spent on a task, showing clean, straightforward time you’ve been productive.
In short, an hours tracker will help you determine whether the hours you put in your work, actually bring the desired results.
Remember, it’s not about the number of hours you put into your work, but about the number of work you put into your hours – track and make every minute count.
Provide motivation and encouragement
Motivation is an essential component to productivity – employees who feel motivated and encouraged by their managers are able to perform better and feel confident to tackle various challenges.
As one Harvard Business School study suggests, praising the employees makes them more creative and less stressed, which as a result is bound to bring better productivity.
Employees who gain recognition for their work are more likely to make their own decisions and find solutions that will bring them closer to their work objectives – thus, encouragement actually helps minimize micromanagement.
Giving a raise to the most deserving employees is a great motivator, but may not always be a possibility. Still, there are other ways to show your employees that you value their work and efforts.
You can opt for giving them more free days, or some time off – this way, you’ll show them that their productivity and hard work pay off.
Make sure to point out when they have finished an important assignment flawlessly. Also, if there are some issues in their work, don’t just focus on the negative – highlight the good sides, and then discuss the issues together.
Remember, if you never commend your employees’ hard work, and only address them when they’ve performed subpar, you’re actually discouraging them from being motivated and productive because they’ll think their efforts will always remain unnoticed.
Provide training courses
When you give your employees a chance to upgrade their skills, you provide them with improvements that help motivate them to strive for better results.
Have in mind that employees who are motivated by training courses are less likely to leave their current workplace – about 40% of employees who don’t receive proper training, leave after 1 year, and you often have to spend more time looking for replacements.
In essence, training courses provide employees with solutions for their present or future challenges in the workplace – once they have the answer on how to deal with these challenges, they’ll feel confident to tackle them as soon as they arise.
When thinking about the right training courses to offer, make sure it’s something innovative, so that it inspires your employees to use these new skills in everyday workplace routines.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money on these courses – it’s enough to hire a trainer or speaker for this purpose, or consult with your HR manager on what fun and beneficial soft or hard skills you could address.
People tend to think that multitasking helps them finish all their tasks earlier because they’re working on them at the same time.
But, multitasking actually slows you down, and hurts your concentration – some studies suggest multitasking lowers your IQ, and one research claims it reduces your productivity levels by as much as 40%. Because of this, your workplace productivity will benefit more if you and your team members were to focus on one task at a time.
To discourage your team from multitasking, show them the raw comparison between multitasking and single-tasking:
For example, multitasking for 3 tasks may take you 60 minutes, with a “switching cost” of 15 minutes – just as you’ve concentrated on one task, you’ll switch to the next, and then have to concentrate again, which will cost you 2 or 3 minutes each time.
But, focusing on one task at a time may take you only 45 minutes, with trivial “switching cost”. You’ll immerse yourself into each task with uninterrupted concentration, so you’ll finish faster.
Once you’ve made the downfall of multitasking clear, your employees will aim to focus on one assignment at a time, which will save time in the long run.
Workplace productivity is vital for running a successful business, and it’s important that you address it with the right improvement measures. Always make sure to introduce training courses for your team, and provide ample motivation and encouragement. Encourage people to focus on one assignment at a time, and avoid multitasking. Instruct everyone to take on their own responsibilities, and avoid micromanagement. Most importantly, use a straightforward hours tracker, to track the time you and your team spend on various activities during work hours.