How to Maximize Your Team’s Productivity
The average office worker is productive for just two hours and 23 minutes every day, research shows.
For managers and leaders, this is an alarming statistic. We expect our employees to work 7–8 hour days — but they’re only actually producing meaningful work for less than a third of that?
Fortunately, project management strategies, time tracking software, collaboration, and more can help your team improve their efficiency, output, and work ethic.
How to make your team more productive
1. Work together.
Collaboration is not just a buzzword — it’s something that can yield meaningful results. In fact, employees believe that interacting with one another could increase productivity in a work environment by as much as 89%.
Working together is motivating. It makes people want to succeed — not to mention the fact that it improves engagement and decreases the sense of isolation that so many individuals are feeling.
Collaboration has always been an important part of the workplace, of course, but it can be more difficult to achieve when you’re working remotely. One solution is to fund coworking spaces, enabling colleagues to see each other in person, even if you don’t have a brick-and-mortar office. But remember that physical proximity isn’t necessary for teamwork to occur. You can, for example, brainstorm over Zoom sessions. Just be careful not to overdo it — Zoom fatigue is very real and very draining.
2. Establish roles.
Everyone has a title. They probably have a contract, too, that outlines their job description and responsibilities. But roles within specific projects — and even within the larger organization — are still, far too often, unclear.
Establishing roles for each project and within the larger organization is absolutely critical for maximizing productivity and producing meaningful results. Otherwise, you might have team members twiddling their thumbs and not knowing what they’re supposed to be doing at a given time. Or, you could be contending with redundancies — team members might be doing the same work, which is wasteful in terms of resources, money, and time.
Make sure each team member understands what their role is and what they should be doing at any given time, no matter how large or small the project is.
3. Empower employees to share their perspectives.
Don’t underestimate the value of collaboration and employee buy-in. When employees are encouraged to participate in decision-making and contribute to the discussion, they because more efficient and productive, research shows. They feel like they matter, and this sentiment manifests in harder, better work.
It’s critical to empower your employees to participate in the discussion and contribute meaningfully. This allows them to see themselves as instrumental to the process and thus invest more into — more of themselves and their efforts. They have real responsibilities that effect change, and those responsibilities have value to themselves and their organizations alike.
4. Leverage tools.
Some leaders and managers worry about engaging in employee time tracking, fearing that their employees will see them as invasive. But software like time trackers can offer insight into the habits and productivity of employees and the overall organization, showing you where you should invest more resources, people, and efforts.
Time tracking software, however, is just one example of a tool that can increase productivity. Consider using project management tools, too, as well as collaboration and communication tools. Not only will this software aid your operations, but it will all produce real-time tracking and analytics that you can use to improve your organization and its processes.
5. Support the well-being and mental health of your team members.
Presenteeism and absenteeism are productivity zappers. You know what absenteeism is — when employees don’t show up to work due to illness or personal matters. Presenteeism occurs when employees do show up but are not physically or mentally capable of producing optimal work, usually due to physical or mental health issues. Sometimes, employees feel like they have to show up because of employer expectations and/or a lack of paid time off (PTO).
Both absenteeism and presenteeism are costly to employers, which is one of the reasons why it’s critical to prioritize the well-being of your team members. Not only should you offer ample PTO, but you should also demonstrate that you truly care. Check in with your employees. Offer resources to promote individuals’ mental health. Provide benefits that support wellness. And make the space to listen.
6. Routinely offer feedback.
Employees want — and need — to believe that they’re working toward something. Offering feedback shows your team members that you want them to succeed and improve and that you value what they have to offer.
Make your feedback constructive — it should be relevant and meaningful, giving them concrete ways to improve. This enables them to meet their (and your) objectives. In addition, don’t wait for formal occasions, like periodic reviews, to offer feedback. Any occasion where you believe it’s warranted is the perfect time to deliver it.
7. Assess results and data.
The tools you use are a wealth of invaluable data. The software provides real-time tracking and metrics that will allow you to gain insight into your processes through dashboards and reporting features. You’ll have access to a huge amount of data — so, use it!
Assess this information to better understand your processes. They can reveal a considerable amount about individual employees’ time management and how you’re operating as an organization overall. Measure it toward the goals of devising plans for improvement later on.
Organizational productivity is not a pipe dream. Your team can achieve efficiency on an individual and company-wide level — but you can’t leave it to chance.
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