Employers often think that a problem with workplace productivity can be solved by throwing money at it. But this seemingly logical strategy just doesn’t work; financial incentives have been shown to lack results. The ‘life isn’t all about the money’ mantra rings true in this scenario. If you’re at a loss and can’t think of ways to crank up productivity, here are 6 proven methods that will help wake your company from a slumber.
Cut down on (needless) meetings
Increasing productive isn’t just about your employees; in order to improve overall efficiency, you also need to have a long, hard look in the mirror. Getting your team together for regular and purposeful meetings is obviously a good idea, but there’s a reason the corporate meeting is notorious amongst office workers. More often than not, it’s boring, repetitive, brings in people that shouldn’t really be there (and don’t even want to be!), doesn’t get anything done, and is ultimately quite needless.
We’re not saying you should completely get rid of that Monday morning meeting, just make sure that it’s well-structured, ideally using some sort of system. For example, Jeff Bezos (yes, that Jeff Bezos) uses the Two-Pizza Rule as his meeting mantra. Even with a company that has bloated beyond 150,000 employees, he still insists on a simple and lean formula.
Manage your employees (but avoid micromanagement)
This is perhaps the most difficult tip to get right. The line between managing your employees and micromanaging can be a little difficult to find; things can get just that little bit blurry. In order to run a productive and efficient team, you need to find that balance.
Micromanagement will not only make your employees dependent on you to complete tasks, but they’ll also end up finding you irritating and annoying. There’s nothing worse than having someone looking over your shoulder and second-guessing every single move you make. Instead, try and give your team a bit of responsibility. Have a little faith in their abilities and let them solve problems on their own. The key is to nudge them in the right direction and being available in case they need help.
Good results deserve just rewards
Most people will read the headline and think rewards = money. This isn’t the case. While money obviously helps, it’s not the be all and end all. Workers like recognition when they’ve achieved something or are doing a consistently good job. If you can’t afford to give them a raise or bonus, always make sure you highlight your appreciation for their effort. Consider giving additional days off or you can pay for a company activity. While this requires a financial investment, it gives you the best bang for your buck when it comes to improving morale.
Social media can kill productivity. No matter how diligent or responsible you are, if you have the opportunity to check the latest news on that friend you haven’t seen in over a decade (wow, he just got married, woohoo!), you’ll do it.
Temptation is difficult to ward off. As an employer, it’s important you minimize distractions without seeming like you run a miniature fascist state. Our recommendation? Block the major social media sites on company computers, but give your employees plenty of short breaks where they can take a breather and hit refresh on their Instagram feed.
Use the Right Software
This tip is perhaps one of the most common out there, but it’s often a little thin on the details. We know that apps can help us, but how do you go about implementing an effective solution? The most productive avenue is finding a solution that’s tailor-made for your business.
For example, if you’re a dentist, pick a tool that deals with your specific pain points. And this goes for every other industry, whether you’re a doctor, lawyer, baker, or builder, there’s a tool out there that will work far better than a generic all-in-one software solution. The tools are out there; use them.
Focus on happy workers
Research has shown that the happiness of your employees has an enormous effect on employee productivity. Recent studies led by the University of Warwick in England found that happiness can result in employees being 12% more productive.
Happiness isn’t just about handing out free chocolate or organizing team building activities. These obviously help, but it’s more about changing the culture of the company to ensure workers feel that they matter. Investing in employee support schemes (e.g. bereavement counseling) helps just as much, for example.
Workplace happiness helps in so many different ways. The brain works far more effectively when feeling positive. Happiness also makes a huge difference in building effective teams and improving collaboration. And finally, happiness should be an end in itself, because creating a happy work atmosphere is just the right thing to do.