Manging a team can be overwhelmingly rewarding—when the talented people you’ve pulled together create some epic work and face stressors with determination and focus, it’s easy to feel elated. This being said, when nothing is getting done, and deadlines are well passed, managing a team can feel like a curse. The following will explore some of the things you can do to help encourage productivity in your workplace.
Of course, every company is different, and this means you need to keep in mind your company culture when making changes. Employees have agreed to work for you with an idea of what that entails. If you shift too far away from what you initially promised, you might lose staff.
Set Up Your Space With Productivity In Mind
Environmental psychology is not taken seriously enough by managers, and this is a real shame. Simple things like how you layout desks and workspaces can drastically alter how easy it is to work somewhere. Things like how people communicate and how often can be altered by floorplans. For example, if an employee’s back is to a hallway or other space where someone can walk by and look over their shoulder, they’re less likely to get work done. This is because humans evolved in radically different environments than the ones we’re living in now. Any seating position in which a bear or wolf could sneak up on a person results in a portion of their focus constantly being directed to sounds and movements behind them for safety purposes. Yes, it’s incredibly unlikely that bears are wandering around your office, but the human body doesn’t know that. There are countless little tweaks you can make to your office to work with human biology instead of against it.
While you’re examining the workplace environment, look into including plants in your office. Plants suck carbon dioxide out and pump oxygen into the air, and this has a crazy amount of health and focus benefits. Oxygen-rich air smells and tastes better and improves mood, productivity, focus, concentration, memory, and creativity. This is particularly important if you often notice the air is stale at your workplace. It’s a teeny change that can
It’s also a good idea to have a means of tracking productivity, as this will allow you to notice patterns. For instance, if you’re keeping accurate records of productivity and ongoings in the office, you might notice that after the Thursday meeting, everyone’s productivity plummets. This might be because the meeting takes everyone out of the flow of what they were doing, and they need time to get back into the swing of things before real work can be completed. Something simple like moving the meeting to the end of the day could help. You might also want to use a tool for tracking computer activities as this can give you an idea of when people slump and when they’re accomplishing a lot. Understanding how people work best requires that you collect data.
Many workplaces have vending machines, free breakfasts, or meeting snacks. Including healthier options like fresh fruits and vegetables can help increase productivity. Yes, everyone loves having donuts in the meeting, but twenty minutes after the meeting is done, they might be in a sugar coma and be struggling to focus. Sugary foods or grain-based snacks like muffins (even if they’re whole grain) cause a spike in blood sugar and then a crash which makes concentration tough.
Be Conscious About Meetings
Studies continually find that meetings can waste a lot of time if they’re not carefully thought about. Consistently, people are known for being hyper-productive and having teams that accomplish insane things critique the common approach to meetings. If someone doesn’t need to be at a meeting, but they’re forced to go, that’s unproductive time you’re paying for. It also increases the chances that they zone out or experience frustration which can further dampen productivity for the rest of the day.
Encourage Regular Breaks
This might seem counterintuitive, but people are far more productive when they take restful breaks. You need to understand that your employees aren’t just working when they’re in the office. On their drive home, they’re thinking about work problems; when they walk in the door, they’re caring for the dog and the kids and making dinner and having long uncomfortable chats with their spouse about problems in the relationship and balancing sick parents with financial burdens. Burnout is absurdly common in our culture, and it can be combatted with rest. Encourage breaks.
The above tips should help you increase productivity within your workplace. It’s also a good idea to ask your employees what they need to get more done. You might be shocked by the simple, yet profound answers they give you, like moving the photocopier out of the basement.