How To Improve Productivity In Your Business With 11 Simple Strategies
What can a business do to improve its productivity? Companies always strive to maximize productivity to remain profitable and competitive. In this article, we share 11 simple strategies you can implement today if you want to improve team productivity.
Labor productivity is defined as a measure of performance. The metric compares the amount of goods and services (output) to the number of labor hours used. Productivity is typically calculated as output divided by labor hours.
Improving labor productivity means more goods and services can be produced with the same amount of labor. Factors that can improve the output of your workforce include technology, training, and worker efficiency.
“Time is money” when it comes to the output and ultimate efficiency of your team. Read along to learn how to improve productivity and get more out of your time with these productivity resources today.
How to improve productivity in an organization
With an increase in digital distractions and the stresses of everyday life, it can be hard to stay focused. Productivity can be improved by implementing these 11 simple strategies.
1. Set clear goals and milestones
A large part of teamwork is taking responsibility for goals that need to be met on schedule. Confusion arises when this is not the case. You need to make sure people are held accountable with clear and achievable goals and milestones.
Every business should have goals aimed at increasing productivity in the workplace. The more productive your company is, the easier it is to boost profits and improve business relationships. - Beth Worthy @Forbes
Ticking off completed goals gives employees a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction. Remember, a goal can be finalizing a task/project or it can be quantitative, such as hitting a certain number or metric.
Having a clear timeframe for a goal, whether it be quarterly or yearly, also helps employees remain motivated and materializes productivity planning.
🎁 Free resource: Define your goals and objectives within your organizational strategy with this Long term planning template.
2. Trust your team & say no to micromanagement
When asked how to implement productivity improvements, bad managers might describe micromanagement practices. Think of an overload of meetings (that could have been an email), reviewing every small activity, asking for updates that offer no new information…
Micromanagement is a costly management style. Not only does it decrease both employee and manager productivity, but it can also lead to increased employee turnover.
Replacing an employee can cost companies from one-half to two times that employee’s salary. - Ben Wigert from Gallup
Promoting ineffective workflows is a leadership flaw that kills the productivity of employees. Micromanagement can bring the mood down and lead to unproductive types of communication styles among the team, such as passive-agressiveness.
While supervision at work can be complementary to productivity, going overboard has negative impacts. Instead, try promoting accountability, documentation and assertiveness in your team:
- Accountability: Encourage employees to take responsibility for their tasks. This fosters a sense of ownership and pride in their work, which can boost productivity. Progress reports can help maintain accountability without being intrusive.
- Documentation: Implement a system of documenting work processes and progress. This not only provides a tangible record of an employee's work but also can serve as a guide for future tasks.
- Assertiveness: An assertive team is one that feels empowered and confident, which can lead to increased creativity and productivity. Foster a culture of open communication where problems and challenges can be addressed quickly and efficiently.
🎁 Free resource: Don't let your voice be drowned out in the noise of the world—take control of your life through the Assertiveness Training Template.
3. Leverage asynchronous communication channels
Asynchronous work refers to the exchange of information that does not require participants to be available at the same time. Examples of asynchronous communication include emails, instant messaging, collaborative documents, and task boards.
Leveraging these channels can significantly improve productivity in several ways:
- Flexibility: Asynchronous communication allows team members to respond when it's most convenient for them. Flexibility is particularly beneficial for remote or distributed teams across different time zones.
- Efficiency: Asynchronous communication enables people to take the time to think through their responses. As a result, there will be more thoughtful communication and fewer misunderstandings.
- Record Keeping: Written asynchronous communication provides a record of discussions and decisions. This can be helpful for reference, accountability, and bringing new team members up to speed.
- Reduced Interruptions: Instead of constant meetings or messages that require immediate attention, employees can handle asynchronous communications at their own pace.
- Inclusivity: Some individuals may feel more comfortable expressing their thoughts and ideas in writing, rather than in a live meeting. Asynchronous communication can provide these team members with a more comfortable platform for participation.
However, it's crucial to balance asynchronous communication with synchronous (real-time) communication to maintain personal connections.
Rock has multiple asynchronous communication channels in a single workspace, such as tasks, file sharing, and audio messages.
4. Document as much as possible
Documentation is the process of providing written evidence or records. It's a way of keeping track of various processes, decisions, and actions in a structured file management manner.
How you store information plays a significant role in organizational productivity. Here's why:
- Knowledge preservation: Documentation ensures that the critical knowledge and information are preserved and accessible. When employees leave or roles change, this documentation can be invaluable in transferring knowledge to new employees.
- Efficiency: Well-documented processes or procedures provide clear instructions that can prevent confusion or mistakes. You can save a significant amount of time that might otherwise be spent on troubleshooting or redoing tasks.
- Training and Onboarding: Documentation can serve as a training guide for new employees. Having a detailed record of procedures and policies can help new team members become productive more quickly.
- Consistency: Documentation ensures that tasks are performed consistently, regardless of who is performing them. Work uniformity improves the quality of work and the efficiency of processes.
- Accountability: When tasks and processes are documented, it is easier to hold people accountable for their responsibilities. Documentation provides a clear record of what was done, by whom, and when.
- Communication: Documentation helps maintain clear and consistent communication among team members. Everyone can stay informed by having a solid record of information, decisions, and plans, .
To start documenting effectively, consider using tools like shared drives, project management software, or wikis. Remember, the goal is to make information accessible, organized, and easy to understand. This maximizes both employee and manager productivity.
With Rock, everything is more structured and documented, particularly task management. Employees know where to find the documents and information for every task being worked on in a company.
Along with documenting your tasks, other team members can easily take over tasks asynchronously without waiting for a meeting.
5. Reduce meetings
Meetings are an important part of a company’s day-to-day, we are not denying that. However, many employees spend too much time of their day in meetings. Often, employees find that they don’t have time to get their work done as a result of all the meetings they have to sit through.
Meetings have increased in length and frequency over the 50 years. More than ever before, with the popularity of remote working, Zoom fatigue is the reality for many.- The Harvard Business Review
If you value your employees’ time, it’s time to save meetings for when you really need them.
There’s a clear difference between an unproductive meeting and a good one. The latter is usually established by a clear meeting agenda. What is the meeting about and what are the desired outcomes?
A good meeting is not set last minute, but rather, fits around the productive working hours of employees. Encourage team members to cancel the meeting if they believe that it is not productive to get together in real-time.
🎁 Free resource: Ready to become a well-rounded expert on canceling meetings? Get started with the dedicated FREE template!
6. Adopt task management
Task management refers to the process of managing responsibilities through actionable and timeboxed task cards. Work is typically tracked over a view such as list, Kanban boards or calendars.
Tasks are a crucial component of improving productivity in both personal and professional settings. Here's why:
- Prioritization: Task management helps in identifying what tasks are most important and need to be done first. Critical tasks aren't overlooked and you can prevent wasted time on less essential tasks.
- Organization: Keeping track of all tasks, big or small, prevents them from falling through the cracks. A well-managed task list provides a clear overview of everything that needs to be done.
- Delegation: In a team setting, task management makes it easy to assign tasks to different team members, ensuring a balanced workload and clear responsibilities.
- Progress Tracking: Having an overview of progress not only provides a sense of accomplishment but also identifies bottlenecks or issues in the process.
Various digital tools can assist with task management, ranging from simple to-do list apps to comprehensive project management software. This allows you to focus both on employee and manager productivity.
🎁 Free resource: This streamlined workspace is designed to kickstart your next project with ease. Get started with the Simple Project Planner template and invite anyone!
7. Promote time off
A well-rested team is a more productive team. Promoting time off provides burnout relief while simultaneously promoting innovation.
Without recovery periods, the ability to perform at a high level diminishes. Taking time off is not a luxury, but a necessity for productivity. The Havard Business Review
Without time off, employees will not have the mental ability or motivation to be productive. Many employees might opt from taking their vacation time so managers must persuade them to do so.
Time off to refuel mental focus leads to decreased mental fatigue, dissatisfaction, and anxiety, according to Kira Graves @Entrepreneur.
Time off from everyday corporate life allows employees to stimulate their creative muscles and come up with groundbreaking ideas. Fun fact - Kevin Synstrom came up with the idea for Instagram while vacationing in Mexico.
8. Nurture organizational culture
How can businesses increase productivity if they neglect organizational culture? They can’t!
Organizational culture refers to the collection of values and practices that guide team members. The way a company’s culture makes its employees feel affects organizational productivity. It all starts with nurturing connection.
Employees must feel like managers have their back and support them, rather than work against them. Here are a few ways through which you can promote a strong team culture:
- 1-1 Check-ins: Managers can foster relationships by booking 1-1 check-ins to discuss their employees’ well-being. By fostering open communication and trust, employees are also more likely to respond positively to feedback and implement it.
- Check in questions for meetings: Make sure to use check in questions for meetings to let employees know you have their back, are receptive to feedback and want to learn more about them.
- Mindfulness: In a traditional workplace setting companies can set up meditation rooms, there are many remote alternatives. Companies can organize a weekly meditation session via video chat, followed by a presentation by a mindfulness coach.
- Career affirmations: Career affirmations are phrases or statements that are used to challenge and overcome self-doubt and negative thoughts. They can help inspire you, boost your mood, and increase your productivity.
9. How to improve productivity in an organization: recognize employees
Recognizing employees for their hard work boosts morale and fosters a sense of fulfillment, motivating team members to work harder. When people are not recognized, they become disengaged, ultimately resulting in a drop in productivity.
Annual losses from lost productivity due to employee disengagement amount to a whopping $483 to $605 billion in the United States alone. - Finances Online
Companies often only reward employees for major accomplishments. To increase company productivity, managers should recognize both large and small achievements.
Rewards and recognition can happen in a variety of ways:
- Financial: Offering an employee a pay rise, bonus, or other financial incentives is a clear way of showing your appreciation.
- Non-financial: Think of words of recognition, working flexible hours, professional development opportunities, PTO, wellness programs… While not directly involving money, they can also have a significant impact on employee productivity.
10. Invest in training and development
Investing in your team is vital. At the end of the day, the workforce is the most valuable asset to most organizations.
Training and development refers to educational activities that improve the knowledge and skills of employees. Think of an effective 90 day plan for onboarding, ongoing courses and gaining new skills.
Designed to improve the performance of employees, training and development programs lead to increased productivity. Companies committed to the growth of employees will invest in them, leading to greater dedication by the team members.
Training and development can also lead to a decrease in employee turnover. Ottawa University found that 93% of employees will stay longer when a company invests in their development. In fact, these kinds of programs are now seen as a competitive advantage when hiring.
11. What can a business do to improve its productivity: Use all-in-one platforms
Company productivity is directly impacted by the tools used at work. “The more the merrier” is untrue when it comes to productivity. The more tools you have, the more work you have.
The constant context switching will leave you disorganized and makes staying organized at work a real challenge.
An all-in-one platform like Rock solves this issue. Everything is right where you need it, in one place. By reducing the time employees spend looking for documents or tools, they can focus on getting their work done right.
How to improve productivity in an organization: Concluding thoughts
Improving productivity in your business doesn't have to be a complicated process. By implementing these 11 simple strategies you can maximize the efficiency and effectiveness at the workplace.
Remember that productivity is not just about working harder, but also about working smarter.
Create an environment that supports focus, organization, motivation, and continuous learning. You're not only boosting productivity but also fostering a positive work culture that can drive your business to new heights.
As you implement these productivity resources, remember to keep monitoring and adjusting as necessary. Here's to a more productive future!