6 Ways to Boost Team Your Productivity
Understanding individuals’ motivations is the key to unlocking team productivity within your organization. Gone are the days of a 9 to 5 day in a quiet and boring office environment, where people were expected to grind out their daily tasks and take regularly scheduled breaks. With a new generation of workers, productivity in those types of environments has all but vanished. Instead, today’s employees are focused on fulfillment, both personally and professionally, and want to feel they are contributing something of value. In order to boost your team productivity, you need to understand their goals, and help them work toward them.
It sounds like a simple concept, but how do you put it into practice?
The broad answer to that question is you need to let go. Let go of strict schedules. Let go of time clocks. Let go of conference rooms and metrics. Stop micromanaging. You’ve hired the best people because you think they can do the best job – now let go, and let them do it. Stop focusing on the numbers and focus on whether the organization’s goals are being met. In this big-picture type of work environment, stop worrying about whether you got 8 hours’ worth of work out of someone, and start evaluating the worth of the end product. How they achieved the goal is not as important as whether they did.
Get Rid of the Rules
Not all of them, of course. You don’t want anyone showing up drunk, missing important scheduled meetings, or giving a presentation in cargo pants and flip flops. But for the everyday work environment, a laid back corporate culture can be very freeing for employees. As you remove the “rules,” your employees will feel you have confidence in them, and will have more confidence in themselves. They won’t want to disappoint you, or to remove that trust, so they will likely put in the extra effort to prove they can meet your expectations.
Some people are best able to tap into their creativity in the evenings while sitting on a couch in sweats with music in the background. While you may not feel that this is the best use of company time, does it really matter? If the employee produces a stunning presentation and delivers it in a professional manner when needed, was it really a poor use of time?
Unless the employee is in a position where they need to be available immediately during normal business hours, such as a retail position in a public store, allowing employees to make use of flexible scheduling or remote work arrangements can do wonders for boosting team productivity. If an employee is willing to put in some hours at home in the evenings, why not let them take an afternoon off? It might be for a doctor’s appointment, or it could be just because they want to meet a friend for coffee. Some employees might still want to find a way to be productive when nursing a cold in bed with their laptop and a hot cup of soup.
A 2011 study in the American Sociological Association journal showed that by implementing flexible work schedules, employees felt reduced stress and a greater sense of wellbeing. In a 2014 Study following up on the first, it was discovered that people who began flexible work arrangements reported doubling (17% to 35%) their perceived value to their employers. Employees with flexible scheduling reported feeling they had more time to work than employees who did not.
While the same amount of work was expected out of both groups, the flexibility allowed employees to schedule around conflicts and set aside time to work on a project, rather than having to request time off. These people were better able to meet deadlines with less stress. This could allow for shorter deadlines, and therefore more projects completed.
Open Door Policy
Of course, you still need to maintain some type of management structure, so ensuring you’re available to employees when they have questions is essential, especially as they discover their boundaries. They might want approval to take a project in a new direction, and may be unsure as to whether it’s acceptable. Answer any questions that do need specific direction, but encourage independence whenever possible. A simple, “Do what you think is best, but remember I’m counting on you to deliver a quality product,” is a fantastic way to motivate employees to get things done. It adds excitement, enthusiasm and boosts team productivity when they are allowed to take control.
While all of this flexibility and motivation is great for team productivity, you need to make sure you are still clear on what outcomes you expect, and that they are articulated well. Again, your focus is on the end result, not how you got it. Allowing the flexibility in when and how a project is completed is not the same as letting employees complete a project that doesn’t meet the goals laid out in the first place.
As this generation of employees enters the workforce, the expectation of work-life balance is growing. Employees don’t separate their work-life from the rest of their lives; their work is a part of their life. As they are in constant communication and contact, they may have a brilliant idea at 10 at night and log in to their computers immediately to get to work. Implementing flexible work arrangements allows them to integrate work into their lives, instead of being something they have to do each day. Understanding a fulfilling career is as integral to their sense of self as their relationships and hobbies will help you see how motivating them is truly as simple as letting them know they are respected and valued.