Every system within the workplace relies on productivity and efficiency in order to operate successfully. So, unlocking ways to increase these two areas should be at the top of your list of priorities. This is nothing new. The real question is how to make it happen.
There are countless ways to make a company more efficient, and we’ve all been through enough team-building exercises to know that some things work, and others don’t. So, let’s start with something less activity-orientated. Creating a positive office environment is one of the first things you should think about because every feature from the lighting to the layout of an employee’s workspace has a big effect on the way they work. There are a number of office elements that have proven positive effects: e.g. plants can increase productivity by 15%. However, the best way to create a healthy work environment is to talk to the team working there and see if there are some ways to solve their requests, within reason!
Communicating with your team is an obvious key to promoting a productive and collaborative work approach. However, what is often overlooked is the importance to communicate from the very start of the day. A good way of putting morning communication in place is to begin with a huddle. Don’t worry, we don’t expect you to get into a sports-style and shout ‘Goooooo team!’ every morning. Simply begin each day by gathering around the table and making sure that everyone knows their tasks for the day and what the main objective is for the team. This helps to promote camaraderie and helps those with slightly harder tasks in the day to feel that it is worth doing for the greater good of the team.
Organising tasks is a vital part of team efficiency, and as well as your team huddle, each team member should have a list of their individual crucial tasks for the day. This can be achieved in a number of ways, but one of the most useful is in an excel sheet. Split the ‘crucial list’ into a number of categories: i.e. a weekly crucial task, three or more daily crucial tasks and perhaps a scoring system. This will help employees to keep focused on the larger (and more important) picture. This doesn’t mean that smaller tasks won’t get done, it just means that the employee’s main tasks should always be the priority. Hopefully, the combination of the team huddle and the crucial list will give the whole team a feeling of forward motion.
When your team is constantly looking forward, it can be easy to forget that the present is equally important. Taking the time to establish that everyone in the team is looking after themselves is one of the most important parts of being a team member (especially if you are a manager). A stressed, underfed and tired employee is of no use to anyone, so promoting self-care is vital to the productivity of the whole team. Every team is different, so trial-and-error with different methods will always yield the best approach.
Here’s a few proven methods to get you started. Firstly, provide the team with fruit: not only is free food at the workplace proven to increase employee satisfaction, but fruit is also a slow-release food which will keep your employees from crashing in the later parts of the day. Secondly, encourage walking. This might sound a bit counter-productive but in fact a two-minute walk outside or even around the office is proven to increase overall productivity levels. So, if you notice that someone has been stuck on a task for a while, send them walking! Lastly, organise a ‘wellness afternoon’. By allowing a couple of hours bi-weekly for the team to do activities together (e.g. on-site yoga, group walks, having lunch), you’ll allow for social bonds to be created and stress levels to be lowered.
There are a number of ways to make your team more efficient and productive, and these are just a few examples of things that have already been tried and tested. Ultimately, you’ll have to communicate with your employees and assess which areas will benefit them best. However, at the crux of all of these methods is the notion of togetherness. When you’re working hard it can be easy to forget that every member of the team needs each other to operate properly. If you find ways to promote camaraderie amongst your team, you’ll be on route to creating an efficient and productive unit.
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