Are you facing a productivity crisis at your office?
Do you struggle to understand why everything takes so flippin’ long?
Or are you just the kind of manager who’s always looking to improve things?
Don’t worry, because you’re not on your own.
We regularly have to tackle bouts of procrastination with our staff.
Over the years we’ve built a playbook of tactics that we use if we find ourselves creeping towards a complete standstill.
And that’s what this week’s blog is about.
A list of all the ideas we’ve successfully implemented over the years which has helped improve productivity in our business.
It might give you an idea or two…
1. Utilise Your Office Space.
You should really build and decorate your office space in a way that reflects your company’s values and culture. (Like Google do).
But there are a few generic changes that tend to help companies across the board…
- Yellow. Bright colours (especially yellow) suppress melatonin, boost energy and will keep your employees feeling lively and productive all day. Dull colours like grey and brown pretty much do the opposite, lulling our brains into boredom and tiredness.
- Natural Light. Studies show that letting natural light into the office boosts mood, energy and productivity.
- Plants. Plants and flowers offer an external stimulus for our brains, effectively giving us something else to focus on – a bit of a mini-break whilst we work.
- Desk decorations. Allowing employees to decorate their desks will work in the same way. It’ll also make them feel more at home and happier.
- Standing desks. This is a bit of a quirky one. But (obviously) standing up keeps you more awake and alert (as opposed to hunching over a desk all day). It could be a good idea to incorporate standing desks in your office for meetings and/or when people want to boost their focus.
You can even buy “treadmill desks” these days!
2. Put a “power hour” in place.
During a power hour, your employees must focus 100% of their attention on one task.
No multi-tasking, no distractions and no breaks, just 60 minutes of pure concentration.
You’d be surprised how much they’ll get done in that time.
Most people are more productive in the morning, so perhaps first thing would be a good time to set the “power-hour.”
To find out more, check out this great article.
3. Celebrate (all) wins.
Your employees will (obviously) feel happier and more engaged at work if they feel appreciated.
So you really must take every opportunity you can to say “thanks” and to celebrate success.
From something as simple as a ‘thank you’ card right through to an elaborate reward scheme, showing your gratitude will boost morale, energy levels and productivity.
4. Stop having so many (pointless) meetings.
There’s one in every company…
That one person (usually a manager) who is addicted to holding meetings; most of which go on for hours and turn out to be pretty useless.
Don’t be that person.
Not only are you wasting your employees’ valuable time, but you’re also affecting morale. Frustration, boredom and “not-another-pointless-meeting” syndrome are bound to kick in.
5. But do have some.
On the other end of the spectrum, some managers don’t feel the need to have any meetings at all.
Surely you’ve got something to talk about with your staff.
At the very least, it’s important to have…
- Progress meetings to discuss how projects are going and whether there have been any issues.
- Performance reviews. Your employees need to know that they’re on the right track. Without any feedback, they’re bound to feel unsure and undervalued.
- Company updates. Keeping your staff up to date with the latest company news is dead important. It helps them to feel more secure and like a valued part of the company.
Of course all of the above will also help you to set expectations for your staff and to make sure that your expectations are being met (and if not, why not).
6. Let your staff listen to music…
…or go into a quiet room or work from home etc.
Your employees know what makes them most productive – so listen to what they have to say.
Personally, when I have a creative task to complete, music helps me to focus however I know a lot of companies that wouldn’t allow that.
Now obviously, that’s not going to work for employees who have to use the phone a lot, but they might have other ideas on what could boost their productivity.
All you have to do is ask.
7. Allow (a little bit of) procrastination.
Yes, you read that right. (A little bit of) procrastination can actually increase productivity…
Basically, we all need a break sometimes, even just to glance at our phone or to watch a ridiculous cat video or to have a chat with a colleague.
Allowing this will boost morale, energy and productivity.
Don’t believe me? Click here to find out more.
8. Work on your company culture.
People will work harder if they love your business. Because they care more. It’s pretty simple.
So if you can create a culture of mutual respect, value and care, it will boost productivity.
If you can build that kind of “family atmosphere,” you’re really winning!
Check out this blog post for some more tips on how to get your employees to genuinely care about your business.
9. Make sure all equipment is up to scratch.
Dead boring, but dead important…
- Because you must, must (must) look after your employees’ health and wellbeing. Unhealthy staff are surely not going to be the most productive.
- Because it’ll save your employees a heck of a lot of time; chasing down stationery, calling IT support and attempting to fix things themselves.
Make sure you keep on top of all the little things and you’ll save a lot of time in the long run.
10. Ban Social Media?!
There are pros and cons to allowing social media at work.
But I guess at the end of the day, it kind of depends on how much you trust your staff?
And also whether banning it will make a difference anyway – they’ll still be able to access it via their mobile phone, on 3G!
Recruiter Pro Tip.
There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to allowing social media in the office.
The dangers are…
– Misuse and procrastination.
– “Mistakes” could make your company look bad.
– Malicious intent.
– Bullying and harassment.
However the possible pros are…
– Increased morale and employee engagement (and therefore productivity).
– Better employer branding.
– Better branding.
– More efficient internal communication.
– The opportunity for personal development.
Click here to get the full story.
Like we said in point seven, a little bit of procrastination is fine… but there is a line and unfortunately, some people will cross it.
11. Think about gamification.
Use some of the features of gaming to make your workplace more fun, competitive and therefore more productive.
- Prizes (rewards) for reaching certain targets.
- Competitions (individual and team vs team).
- Leader boards.
- Gongs. (Yep, gongs.)
We’re a competitive species; we like to feel the power and recognition of being better than others and we also like receiving treats!
Find out more – here.
12. Encourage a good work-life balance.
You should always encourage a good work-life balance for your employees.
Staff members who work outrageous and unsociable hours are guaranteed to be more stressed (and unhappy) whilst lacking energy and productivity.
(That’s also when mistakes happen…)
They’re also much more likely to burn out.
Some of these productivity tips are pretty obvious, but you’d be surprised how many managers out there are still ignoring them.
It’s the little things that count!
If you’d like some more tips on how to be a great manager, engaging staff and keeping them around for longer, click here to subscribe to our weekly blog posts.