7 Keys to Improving Workplace Productivity
How often do you find yourself sitting back at the end of the day feeling truly satisfied that you accomplished everything you set out to do, and leave your office without feeling stressed? Many people have rarely if ever had the joy of experiencing this relief ― as they either carry the workload home with them or spend each night planning their schedule for the following day.
If you are someone who deals with this burden on a regular basis, there could be countless reasons you may feel like you aren’t reaching your full potential and streamlining your obligations as an employee. You may be overworked, under-staffed, sidetracked by complications, or even simply spreading yourself too thin. Whatever it may be, there are ways to improve your productivity in the office place to ensure you finish assignments and meet deadlines, and at the end of every workweek, be able to breathe a sigh of satisfaction.
Here are some helpful ways that will make your daily responsibilities much easier, more efficient, and hopefully will take away some of the tension and stress you feel when you walk into the office each morning.
Set a Clear and Concise Company Mission
The success of any company begins with its mission. Employees need to know what their purpose is and what they are working toward to ensure the long-term success of the employer. Making sure that you have set a clear and concise mission statement that is reiterated regularly will boost morale, productivity, and total output. Once this mission has been established, it is management’s responsibility to ensure it continues to be carried out. Train all new employees to act in accordance with the mission and uphold all company values. Staff members who feel like they are apart of a family or working toward a common objective have been shown to be happier and will in-turn reduce long-term turnover for an employer. Setting a high standard for the company and sticking to them can mean all the difference when it comes to productivity.
Emphasize Prioritizing Your Workload
Finding the right balance in your workflow and prioritizing assignments and projects that are most important is the first step to better productivity. If you’re someone who is most productive in the morning, put off answering your email and other administrative work to spend this time on more demanding tasks that you will have to focus the most time and energy into completing. The same goes for those who get more done in the later hours of the day. In this case, getting the smaller, remedial work out of the way early in the day will give you ample time to focus on one or two larger projects without being stressed.
Prioritizing also means putting tasks with approaching deadlines at the forefront. Don’t allow yourself to be sidetracked or try to multitask when you have important work that is due by the end of the day or the end of the workweek. Put all of your mental energy into one area and give your full attention to what needs to get done. Stress and anxiety will begin to creep up on you if you put things off or try to juggle a handful of requests and assignments simultaneously. This isn’t to say multitasking is an insufficient method, but understanding when it is appropriate to multitask is important, regardless of your job field.
Streamline Administrative Tasks
Most administrative work is tedious and unavoidable. Employees can sometimes waste hours of the workday sending emails, filling out monotonous forms and spreadsheets, or creating invoices. The time spent completing these tasks could be allocated elsewhere and used on more pressing matters such as major projects or to meet monthly output goals. Consider hiring an office manager for these matters, or investing in a process automation service that can handle the inflow and outflow all back-end business tasks. Not only will these options save you time and hassle, but will proactively help your bottom line in the long-term. Your employees will immediately see a benefit as having the burden of remedial tasks taken off their shoulders will free up more of their time for other work.
Try Incorporating Incentives for Employees
Although it may not be appropriate for some industries or you are someone who doesn’t believe incentives have a direct correlation with better job performance, giving employees initiatives each month, quarter or year can be a successful strategy. The most prevalent example of this is usually seen in the sales arena, but it can also be applied across a variety of other industries. Giving bonuses, additional paid time off, tickets to sporting events or even something as simple as a company-wide acknowledgment can go a long way in helping productivity. You’ve probably seen tons of businesses that give out an Employee of the Month award, and whether you believe it or not, this one act will dramatically impact the psyche of your staff and can involuntarily cause them to strive for success and affirmation.
Consider Remote Work Schedules
Many companies are now allowing employees to make their own schedules, work from home for an allotted number of hours each week, or conference into client calls from the comfort of their homes. Allowing staff members to work when and where they want gives them a sense of independence and takes away the element of micromanagement. Although face-to-face interactions are necessary for most businesses, utilizing teleconferencing, video chatting and instant messaging within a unified communications system when appropriate can help streamline conversations across the company. Especially for those who have a long commute or travel regularly for business meetings this optional is very viable.
Set a Standard of Urgency
Despite the fact that a more laid back and casual work environment can reduce stress levels of employees, setting a tone of urgency in a workplace will limit excuses, give employees a great sense of accountability, and set expectations high when it comes to meeting deadlines. Although there is a time and place for friendly conversation and banter amongst co-workers, eliminating these types of downtime during business hours will also boost productivity. What many managers and supervisors are unable to discern, is the difference between urgency and micromanagement. There shouldn’t be a need for constant check-ins and reminders to complete assignments. By setting a precedent about due dates and the haste with which work needs to be done, employees will develop their own multitasking and time management abilities.
There are many ways that you can raise the level of productivity within your place of work. This list is in no way comprehensive as there are countless solutions to a lag in the workflow that many companies experience. Regardless of the size, market share or simply the annual revenue of your business, there is always room for improvement and growth. Train and maintain your workforce to have the same work ethic and beliefs that you do. Being a highly effective manager comes with time and experience, and whether you oversee 20 or 20,000 employees, there should be consistency in decision-making and managerial tactics. Take the time to consider where your business or employer can improve in this area to create a more effective corporate structure.