As a small business owner, you may have already learnt how to maximise personal productivity. But how can you help your team members increase theirs? According to the ‘State of Productivity and Management Report 2018’, the costs of ignoring lagging employee productivity and the underlying unhealthy company culture are steep. If one of your business goals is to manage not just your personal workload but the collective one of your team, take a look at our top ten tips to ensure that your team members work more productively and efficiently.
1. Lead by example
Demonstrate your personal time management skills to your team. If your team sees you being a strategic project manager who allocates specific hours to tasks or meetings, it is likely that they will follow suit. Inspire and encourage employees with your personal work ethic.
2. Set team goals
What do you want your team to achieve? It’s been proven that disengaged employees have higher rates of absenteeism and turnover, which can drag down profits. Setting key goals, however, will increase employee engagement and, in turn, productivity and efficiency. This is because your team may have to work on solving problems (either independently or collectively) in order to achieve them. For example, it could help them realise what they should be spending more of their time on to achieve said goal and allow them to create a streamlined plan of action.
3. Give your team autonomy
Whether it’s flexible working hours or the option to work from home, autonomy in the workplace has been associated with an increase in team productivity. Business owner and productivity expert Robby Slaughter believes that “the best way to encourage productivity is to encourage individuals to take ownership over how they manage their own time and resources”. Although it may sound counterintuitive, managing your team less will secure better results. This is because by giving your employees permission to make decisions, you are giving them the power to eliminate or delegate tasks and better focus their time, thereby improving individual productivity. Instead of rigidly organising their workday, encourage your team to block out large chunks of their time to complete their day-to-day tasks. You can read more about time blocking for increased productivity here.
4. Focus on employee wellbeing
An important finding from the 2018 ‘UK Working Lives’ survey was that improvements to mental and physical well-being had the strongest association with improving the quality of work. So, try boosting your team’s productivity by scheduling downtime and rewards for your team. A recent Glassdoor survey reveals that four out of five employees would prefer perks at work to a pay rise, so it’s worth thinking about perks that will enrich your team members’ lives.
improvements to mental and physical well-being had the strongest association with improving the quality of work.”
5. Clear communication
Without effective, two-way communication, the overall productivity of team members may fall. If working remotely, this can be done via apps such as Microsoft Teams, Slack, Google Hangouts or Zoom – it doesn’t matter which you opt for as long as there is an open channel for communication. Most of these communication platforms offer file sharing and integrations which mean task completion can easily be kept track of. Team leaders who communicate clear expectations and responsibilities to their employees will be rewarded with a more productive workforce.
6. Improve skills with training
Use training to teach your employees valuable lessons in productivity. There are a number of day-to-day skills you can help your employees develop to improve their productivity, such as touch-typing, automation of tasks and spreadsheet shortcuts. Looking at the bigger picture, pay for them to go on industry-relevant courses which will enrich their knowledge and increase their drive to succeed.
7. Implement remote working (if you haven’t already)
Studies have shown that remote workers are more productive, they log more hours, take less sick leave, perform better and are more engaged at work. Worried about team communication and collaboration? There’s no need, as employee productivity statistics show that not being in the office does not hurt teamwork or achieving common business goals. We all know that one of the main distractions in the office comes from workplace chatter with co-workers. Remote working will minimise these distractions. Not to mention, remote workers show higher job satisfaction which is a winner for increased productivity.
8. Social media
Don’t be afraid of social media usage in the office. Team members use social media for an array of reasons, such as a 5-minute mental break (check out The Pomodoro Technique), networking or market research. Banning social media platforms in the office could be a serious productivity killer, as team members will think that you don’t trust them. Moreover, social media is key to thriving professionally in our digital age. An Evolv study found that social media “power users” were better multi-taskers, more productive overall, and happier in their jobs. Win-win.
9. Measure productivity levels
It’s hard to increase workplace productivity if you don’t have a means of measuring it. To gain adequate insight into team members’ productivity, you need a productivity-measuring tool. These tools will allow you to monitor the daily productivity of staff and manage projects across your entire team. Start using one.
10. Eliminate meetings
Are you keeping up team meetings for the sake of appearances? Meetings can often be pointless and time-wasting. They usually over-run, don’t require everyone’s presence, and prevent real work from being done. Test out condensing long, inefficient meetings into a 1-hour video conference per week with a strict agenda. This is perfect for remote workers and ensuring all team members have a clear idea of how you’re progressing and what needs to be done next.
Try implementing just a few of these steps into your work environment and monitor the new ways in which your team works. You can help boost team performance by saving time spent on unnecessary or menial tasks, allowing them to focus on those all-important business goals. By boosting your team’s productivity little by little, you will start to see bigger and better results for your business.