We are living in a time where it’s not just about the right drivers of employee engagement, but it’s about making sure that we bring a holistic approach to motivation. The concept of productivity is always a means to an end because we need to build up our bottom line using the right practices. This is why we’ve got to realize that completing tasks is not just about knuckling down and getting to the end, but about understanding that everything poses a number of obstacles, not just the work itself. This is why if you are looking to improve your workers’ abilities, you can’t just look at it from one point of view. Let’s show you a number of ways that everybody can benefit.
Use the Right Tools
Tools are synonymous with the notion of productivity. From artificial intelligence (AI) to simple spreadsheets, the right tools will always make your business perform better. But as we hurtle into the future, and we see AI trends constantly raising the bar, we can run the risk of thinking the tools can do the job for us.
Tools should not be something to rely on completely, but we can see the difference when we incorporate certain tools into our lives that take the edge off the task at hand. A good example would be if you have an organization that requires printing lots of documents, giving one floor access to just one printer is just going to delay their work. From another perspective, we hear a lot about tools like CRM software and automation, and because of all the technological advancements out there, we can use the right tools to save a lot of time and energy.
For example, if you have employees that need to create a lot of documents, rather than investing in touch typing, you could invest in dictation software. Dictation software means that an employee is able to create documents as fast as they can speak them. This could create a massive change in an approach to work, especially if an employee is able to speak 100 words per minute. On a very basic level, this means that if they need to create 5,000 words worth of information in a day, it takes a matter of hours, including breaks, and it won’t contribute to RSI caused by typing!
Bringing the Right People Into the Business
The fact is that when we bring the right people in, half the battle is won. People with the right attitudes and approaches are going to undertake a more holistic approach to their work. But we have to remember that if we are to hire the right people, we can’t just think about how their skills apply to the job they will do, but also their methodologies as people. Because if you are looking to facilitate change on a deeper level within your organization, the right people are the key because are going to bring something different.
Organizations can suffer from an antiquated approach to working. Delivering tasks for employees to complete means they will only do what is asked, and nothing more. If you really want to have people who give 110%, you are going to have to incentivize your current employees, but also bring in new ones who understand accountability and have ways of working that avoid the linear fashion.
Working knowledge is one thing, but having skills that help them increase productivity is another thing entirely. We have to train employees to boost their productivity, and depending on your organization, your employees could benefit from a wide variety of skills that you may not feel are so pivotal to getting the job done. However, skills should provide an essential undercurrent that will increase productivity in ways you haven’t realized.
For example, if your employees are having to create a lot of documents, training them in touch typing can be an amazing way to increase their WPM (words per minute). Someone who is trained in touch typing can easily type 80 words per minute. If you compare this to the average WPM which is around 40 words per minute, productivity is doubled! Skills shouldn’t just be for the role, but for the tasks needed to complete the duties.
Communication is a critical role in business, and without it, relationships can suffer. Communication is not just about explaining what needs to be done, but about doing it in such a manner that it cuts through the noise. You can break down effective communication into a handful of key areas:
Avoiding Dwelling on the Past
A study conducted found that 80% of conversations within the office environment focus on past problems. 15% is spent on current situations while only 5% focuses on creating strategies and solutions. Perhaps, it’s time to flip the statistics on their head? When we communicate about the past we are focusing on things that cannot be changed.
Focusing on How You Come Across
The difficulty in managing a team is about understanding what you need to say in as few words as possible without falling foul of coming across in the wrong way. There are so many times when we may come across as blunt, especially if we are communicating via email. This is why learning how to get to the point is vital.
Choosing the Right Way to Communicate for Each Situation
An email is a useful way to communicate something quickly, but if you rely on sending emails every day rather than speaking to people, you’ve got to understand how this is going to impact their productivity. After you check an email, it takes 64 seconds to return to full flow. Now look at how many emails you receive every single day- this can equate to hours of lost productivity! However, if you need to communicate a lot of information, it will depend on the person you are communicating with. Regular debriefs may be the best approach, depending on your workers.
Communicate clearer, and it will make a lot of things easier!
Understanding the Environment
Your work environment has a massive impact on how you achieve your goals. Because of the pandemic, people have had to find the best ways to work at home, potentially with more distractions. Many people stated they are more productive at home because of the great reduction in office-based distractions, whether it’s workplace conversations, overbearing line managers, or even a lack of natural light. The environment is vital as it will shape your abilities to be productive.
As a result, many organizations bring in time management tools that can keep productivity high. One widely-used example is the Pomodoro Technique, where the focus is on having regular breaks so the worker comes back to the task refreshed. There are also other time management techniques that can benefit, such as the Pareto Principle, also known as the 80/20 Rule. When we bring in time management tools into the appropriate environment, this provides a double whammy where the worker is able to choose a method that will give them power over their working conditions but can do it in a way that gets stuff done without adhering to set rules.
If the process is unnecessarily long, having people construct their own methods to do their work may mean they are getting more done in a shorter space of time, while still doing what is being asked by the business.
Morale is the most important aspect of being productive. If you believe you are productive and the metrics show this, then you are productive. But when people feel they are being observed too much or they are in full flow and have to stop in order to massage the ego of an overzealous line manager, we’ve got to remember that these little aspects are going to impact their wellbeing over time.
Micromanagement can be avoided by encouraging employees to take ownership of their time and resources, which results in an automatic increase in productivity levels. The problem of the overzealous line manager is that they need to be seen to tell people to do more so they think they will achieve more. A lot of the time, less is more. As we’ve seen with the Pareto Principle, if 80% of the results come from 20% of the effort, you need to realize that placing your attention in the right area is going to reap dividends. Because breathing down the necks of employees is going to make them feel edgy and will lead to poor performance.
A Happier Worker Is a Better Worker
If we believe we are productive, we will be productive. We need to stay away from this Dickensian workplace model where we’ve got to invest 110% of our effort each and every time. This only serves to burn out your employees which will not contribute to turnover. If we have happier employees, they will work better.
Happiness actually makes people 12% more productive, and this is something we really must focus on. Employee wellbeing is so important, not just because it will improve your retention rates, but will increase efficiency in every way.
If you want to have more productive workers you need to stay away from dishing out orders. Because our employees are human, we’ve got to embody a more humanistic approach. And as we’ve all lived through a tough time, we cannot go back to the older ways of thinking.