Every manager, CEO, marketer, and sales rep are stressed by one word in their line of business, “PRODUCTIVITY.” Productivity drives the business world. Those managers and sales reps who can boost productivity within their teams are heavily compensated. But everyone in business knows that motivating staff on a daily basis can be a Herculean task. Regardless of how well you know your staff and what makes them tick, we can all use some advice to boost productivity when the going gets tough. These ten ways have been tried and tested to help kickstart productivity within the workforce. Test them out, and watch your productivity boost!
1. Write Down a List of Daily Goals
Everyone has duties that are expected of them in their job. When you add everything that needs to be completed for the day on top of that, it can get nerve-racking. It’s not an easy task to keep straight everything that has to be done - so take time to set a clear list of tasks for the day ahead. Start each morning by writing down your goals, and as you mark them off you’ll also gain a sense of accomplishment.
The list helps you stay focused and on task, so you don't procrastinate and waste time. You could keep a pocket journal for the day's goals, so if anything does run into the next day,you have them side-by-side for comparison. They’re also useful for keeping notes you might make during the day. Once you’ve made this a habit, you’ll be more productive and won’t have to worry about overlooking something.
2. Set a Specific Time Every Day to Return Emails and Phone Calls
It's hard to resist the bing of an incoming email when you're in the middle of a project, but learn to be proactive, not reactive. If you allow constant interruptions, you’ll never get anything done. It's better to set a certain time of day to return phone calls and emails, and use only that scheduled time. You will be surprised how much productivity this little step can create.
3. Create a “See Me” Board Outside Office to Minimize Interruptions
Office managers could put a whiteboard or post-it board outside their office. This is for employees to leave "Please see me about..." notes when the manager is busy, but they had questions or needed help. Many times you’ll find that by the time you can see them, they’ll have solved the problem for themselves. Sometimes, you have to teach others to be proactive or to work as a team.
4. Office Set-up
Setting up workspaces that are brightly lit, especially by sunlight, promote a healthy atmosphere. Desk arrangements that are set in quads or groups help form team atmospheres, which increase productivity. Another great tip is to move staff around, so new people get to meet each other, increasing relationships between people that might never have had the opportunity otherwise. Having break rooms or designated lunch breaks for staff to socialize helps boost morale and encourage teamwork.
5. Take Exercise Breaks
Having a free office gym can be a great perk. It is a great incentive for employees to come in early, get their cardio in, and feel awake for the workday. If your office building doesn't have the budget for a gym, encourage a group walk in the mornings, and have bouncing yoga balls available. Make moving around readily accessible. At the very least, take one or two walks around the building to keep energized throughout the day, keep oxygen levels up, and feel awake and alive. Remember, a productive start to the day helps boost profits, so by increasing energy, you are also increasing your cash flow.
6. De-clutter Your Workspace
At the beginning of every day, before you start tackling the “To-Do List,” take time to organize and straighten your workspace. Having a clean and organized desk helps you think better and more clearly. This small task will increase productivity by lessening the time you spend looking for things.
7. Get the Most Dreaded Task Out of the Way/Prioritize and Delegate Other Tasks
What's the one person you are dreading talking to, the phone call you just don't want to make, and the customer you don't want to face? Do it first thing in the morning, and get it out of the way. Otherwise, it will weigh on you for hours, distracting you and increasing stress. Do not procrastinate; it’s unhealthy, and once it’s done, all your other tasks for the day will seem much easier in comparison. You will breathe easier knowing that you overcame that hurdle, and the rest of the day will be far more productive.
In addition, prioritizing the more important things, and delegating some tasks to other office staff, will relieve stress and increase productivity within the office.
8. Track How Long You’re Spending on Tasks/ Follow "Two-Minute Rule"
Have you ever asked yourself "where did the day go?" when you haven't finished even half of what needed to be done? Tracking your time and setting a time limit per task will allow you to accomplish more each day. When you set a projected time to complete a task, make sure it’s realistic. Rescue Time is a tool that can help people accurately track how much time is spent on their tasks.
Following a "two-minute rule" also increases productivity by leaps and bounds. If you’re confident you can complete a task in two minutes—do it. Throughout the day, do as many two-minute tasks as you can, rather than coming back to them at a later date. You will be surprised at how much you get accomplished.
9. Hold Regular Meetings and Avoid Other Meetings (see #3)
Have your staff get accustomed to regularly set meetings; for example, a Monday-morning staff meeting where you discuss the past week's earnings, give accolades to those who deserve them, and discuss upcoming business. If needed, schedule individual staff meetings. However you decide to have your regular meetings, try to stick to the schedule so your staff knows what to expect. Morale stays high because they are not caught off guard with "another meeting.” By addressing everything in a scheduled, weekly meeting, priorities are met and productivity increases.
10. And Most Importantly—Keep the Office Caffeinated
For a lot of us, coffee is the most important meal of the day. Experts agree that caffeine keeps people energized, opens blood cells in the brain, prevents headaches, and increases productivity. Having caffeinated drinks at lunch also gives people that extra boost they need to get through the afternoon lull. Having coffee, soda, energy drinks, and other caffeinated drinks as perks in the break room can be a great motivational tool to keep the steam going.