Businesses constantly need to look at ways of boosting workplace productivity and efficiency if they are to stay competitive.
It is important to consider that there are many diverse elements which impact upon productivity, from the physical office environment, to the people who are involved, to the management style, to rewards and remuneration.
However, raising the productivity of your team does not have to be a complex or expensive task. Here are five simple methods by which increased productivity can be achieved.
1. Improve communication
It really cannot be over emphasised how important effective communication methods can be. And here we are talking about the channels which you use to communicate as much as the language that is used. Both are equally important.
With regards to the channel, are you duplicating by having face-to-face conversations or meetings that are then transcribed into emails, for example. Then you must consider who you are communicating with, and how frequency you are doing so.
The rule of thumb is that everyone needs to be kept constantly in the loop, so be careful with those who you deem is not on a need-to-know basis, or remote workers who can sometimes be easily overlooked.
Then you need to be clear and concise in what you communicate, and set expectations or objectives. “A common communication error in the workplace made by managers is that they consider they have communicated what their expectations are, but in fact they have done nothing of the sort.
An employee can walk away from a meeting having no idea what the tasks are that they have been set, or what the priorities should be. That whole communication episode then becomes a waste of time,” warns Mohammad Allam, a marketer at Britstudent.
2. Improve the physical environment
Okay, so perhaps it’s true that people, or at least some people, love to moan, so no matter what you do, things will never be good enough. But it would be a mistake to not listen to the more constructive criticisms of your staff.
Elements such as the temperature of the office, noise, office layout and even lighting all have a significant impact on employee productivity. Anything that can be regarded as sub-optimum can therefore be categorised as a distraction, and distractions are one of the most serious issues in lost productivity.
If you can guarantee a quiet, comfortable space with plenty of natural lighting, then concentration levels are known to be dramatically improved.
3. Get rid of negativity
Negativity breeds inertia. An employee who is unhappy will simply not possess the required levels of motivation to get the job done efficiently and to the best of their ability.
“Management style is a key component here,” suggests Katie Crampton, a project manager at Australia2write.
“A style that is deemed to be too autocratic in nature will certainly suck the life out of employees. Ensure that feedback is given a positive spin where necessary, and also identify individuals within the group who have negative attitudes. Coach them, or move them on.”
4. Create an environment of delegation
Delegation is an art form, and many people just do not know how to do it. Or have never been shown. Managers themselves are often the worst example of effective delegators, but this builds an inefficient environment of people hoarding tasks.
In turn, communication is affected, and negativity will build. Managers should delegate. Teams should delegate to the various members.
Delegation is an essential component of good team-working practices, and if everybody knows and shares their responsibilities, productivity will surely be increased.
Let’s face it, if you want a job done well, then you have to offer some kind of carrot. It’s no secret that employees do not respond solely to money. Indeed, often financial incentives are not the first on an employee’s list of desired outcomes.
Find out what floats your employees’ boats and reward accordingly. The options here include increased responsibility, access to training and development opportunities that were previously closed off, or even just positive feedback, acknowledgement, and a pat on the back.
Listen to what people want, and try to give it to them if you feel they deserve it. There is no greater motivator.