Common Sense Ways to Improve Your Productivity
No matter what industry you’re in, your ability to stay profitable depends on the productivity of your team. Faced with tough competition, small businesses must stand out from the crowd. While a great product or service can go a long way toward this, if your organization isn’t making productivity a priority, there’s a good chance you’ll be unable to achieve sustainable success.
But what does productivity look like, and how do you go about encouraging it? Even the most motivated staff can benefit from a more positive work environment. In this article, we look at seven tips for getting the best productivity out of a small team.
Petty annoyances and distractions can prevent employees from working at full capacity. Look for ways to make things simpler and easier for your team — are they being inundated by phone calls? Constantly checking their voicemail? There are tools available that can simplify communications and help staff stay in better touch with clients and other stakeholders.
Set Organization-Wide Goals
In a small business, your role as a manager has to be equal parts big picture and day-to-day. You can encourage employees to be more productive by setting clear, achievable goals that team members can work together to achieve. In doing so, make sure staff aren’t pitted against one another — any rewards or incentives should be available to everyone.
Celebrate Accomplishments Regularly
Don’t be stingy with praise. If you take the time to single out employees when they go above and beyond, it will motivate your entire team. Conversely, keep disciplinary matters private and make them teachable moments. Nothing kills morale and productivity faster than publicly shaming an employee for an honest mistake.
Lead by Example
The best thing you can do to run a productive operation is to be a productive employee yourself. If the staff sees that you are actively engaged in the day-to-day running of the business — whether it’s by returning customer calls or overseeing things on a job site — they’ll be encouraged by your example. When the pressure is on, don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty — you’ll likely find it produces a ripple effect that is more useful than overseeing things from afar.
At the same time, you need to be aware of your role in the organization. Being active on the job doesn’t mean getting in the way of your staff. Recognize each employee has their own methods of doing things, and encourage them to discover on their own how to refine their processes and improve their productivity. Instead of directly showing staff how to do things, give them training opportunities to learn on their own and, most importantly, create an environment that encourages talented people to achieve their fullest potential.
There are lots of apps and other innovations that claim to boost productivity, but the best are often the most obvious — and least glamourous. Ultimately, there is no substitute for improving the communications and IT infrastructure of your office. When your phone, internet and networking all work reliably and in harmony, your staff will find it easier to stay productive on a day-to-day basis.
For instance, with a state-of-the-art phone system, your employees won’t be distracted by having to direct callers to other people or stop to listen to voicemails. Instead, those will be converted to text for them.
Give Employees Ways to Blow Off Steam
Sometimes, a low-tech solution is the best way to improve employee focus and productivity. Staff fitness or yoga classes provide a necessary break from the stress of work, one that gets the heart racing and energizes team members. Other proven stress relievers include table tennis, arcade games and more — ultimately you know your organization and know what will engage your team most effectively.
Keeping your employees focused and happy are the two keys to staying productive. What are your methods for keeping staff motivated and staying productive yourself? Let us know in the comments below.