Can you imagine the members of your team closing their workday with a satisfied sigh, going home whistling their favorite tune with a relaxed smile knowing that they had been so productive that they finished absolutely everything on the job list, efficiently and well?
Well, any Team can be the star in this movie about team productivity, rather than the alternate version where they end up tired and slumped behind a desk stacked with unfinished projects. You don’t like what you see? Well there are ways to change. Let’s start by examining the term ,productivity.
What is Productivity?
Productivity is a measure of economic performance that compares the amount of goods and services produced (output) with the amount of inputs used to produce those goods and services. It is a measure of how efficiently a task is completed.
1. Hacks and Tips that actually work to improve team productivity!
It takes a few productivity hacks to help the team work more efficiently and, most importantly, leave them with more free moments every day. Here are some tips to increase productivity at work:
- When you fail to plan ,you plan to fail
The first step to being productive as a team is planning a day’s schedule well in advance. Plan it in such a way that each team member should know what they’re doing, when they’re doing it, and how long it is going to take , on any given day. Without a proper schedule, have no doubt ,you’re likely to miss out on important tasks.
- Set SMART team goals/targets
The SMART in SMART goals stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. Defining these parameters as they pertain to the organizational goals helps ensure that the set objectives are attainable within a certain time frame.
- Take a break.
It’s not necessary to be busy every minute of the entire workday. In fact, a constantly working team is easily fatigued and burnout. That’s why one of the steps to improve team productivity is to ensure occasional breaks.
Studies show taking regular breaks helps to improve team concentration and lift up the mood.
- Building skills and knowledge
It’s extremely important to impart proper knowledge and training is imparted to the team members to ensure increased productivity and efficiency. A team lacking in skills is like a vehicle without a steering wheel.
2. Ways to empower your team to be more productive:
- Give your team members Ownership
The best leaders understand the power of ownership. Giving ownership to the team members means nothing but allowing them to make their own decisions and making them accountable for their work.
For example leading a project, handling the responsibility of a task, etc. It shows that you’ve entrusted your team members and their capabilities to address a specific job.
- Introduce LEAN practices
Unlike many business methodologies, LEAN is not a prescriptive practice that comes with hard-and-fast rules, tools, and practices. Lean encourages a practice of evolutionary change, called continuous improvement, which is rooted in a fundamental respect for people. It is derived from the Japanese word, Kaizen.
Lean is defined as a set of management practices to improve efficiency and effectiveness by eliminating waste. The core principle of lean is to reduce and eliminate non-value adding activities and waste.
- Ensure proper Communication
Communication is one of the critical factors that contribute significantly to team productivity. Because in the absence of communication, comes miscommunication and absolute failure.
Whether you need to onboard new employees, deliver employee training, or have a place to house important information, consider creating an online course to keep everyone aligned.
From video conferencing tools to team messengers, there are several tools that can help to boost team communication and improve team productivity.
Examples include Slack, Zoom, Flock, and Chanty. Thinkific is another online course platform to customize your approach to fit your business and team needs.
- Identify the Strengths and Weaknesses
A good manager or team leader is able to identify and recognize their teammates’ talents and skills and keep them in mind while allocating tasks. Knowing their skill set is the backbone of producing a productive team.
For example, if someone in a team likes to think outside of the box, you can make him pitch his ideas in front of a client(s). Knowing that team members are making the best use of their knowledge, expertise, and talents, they look forward to contributing to the workplace.
- Team building exercises
Team productivity depends upon the camaraderie between the team members. If the team members get along, the workplace automatically becomes a happier place. And, in that happy space, the team productivity and efficiency will automatically shoot up. Some fun team building activities:
- Solve a Puzzle
- Count to 20
- Try a Compliment Circle
- Host a Brainstorming Session
- Have a “Show and Tell”
- Share Your Personality
- Play Team or Board Games
- Create a Scavenger Hunt
Teams work best when given a reason to do so – probably a monetary one. They want their efforts to be appreciated and prefer to have a little more than a ‘virtual pat on the back from their bosses. That’s why many employers choose to implement incentive programs to keep their employees motivated.
These incentives can be in the form of cash, free vouchers, paid vacation, extra time off, lunch-outs, etc.
- Praise a job well done
While for different employees, different things work in boosting their productivity and efficiency at work. But for many of them, it is something as simple as being acknowledged for their efforts.
You know nothing can add to productivity if an employee feels that his contribution isn’t valued enough. Whereas appreciating them in front of the whole team can work wonders.
This promotes a healthy work culture in an organization which will be an addition to boosting team productivity.
- Give Constructive feedback
Last but the most important on the list is to introduce a feedback process in a team. There is no hope of boosting employee efficiency if they don’t know they are being inefficient in the first place. Therefore, performance reviews and constructive feedback are considered essential in increasing team productivity.
This will motivate the team members to make some changes in their working style. The good old, “Carrot and Stick approach” may be considered here.
When you are done with the feedback, ask them what you could do to help them improve. Maybe they would like a little more guidance on certain tasks or prefer a little more room for creative freedom. It’s always good to know !
3. Some Technological Tools for improving team productivity
- Use cloud-based tools to remain organized across workflows
No matter the industry or the size of your business, cloud-based tools will significantly enhance your team productivity and collaboration.
CLOUD COMPUTING EXAMPLES
- Software-as-a-Service (Saas): Salesforce
- Infrastructure-as-a-Service (Saas): Digital Ocean
- Platform-as-a-Service (Saas): AWS
- File Sharing + Data Storage: Dropbox
- Big Data Analysis: Civis Analytics
- Data Governance: Carbonite
- Cybersecurity: Forcepoint
- Utilize Time tracking tools
Time tracking tools can help you understand the amount of time you use during the day, what distracts you most, and what time you’re getting your most productive hours.
This will help every team member make the most of their time and become more efficient. Consequently, this improves team productivity. Some great time tracking tools include Toggl and Time Boy.
- Use Project Management Software
Consider this Scenario.
A huge project is coming, and everyone in the team is in a rush to get things done. Team member A begins working on Task X, unaware that team member B is already working on Task X.
In the end, both team members will feel that they wasted their time. Such scenarios can be avoided with the use of project management software. With a comprehensive tool in place, it becomes easy to know who is working on what.
Also, project management software can outline deadlines, bottlenecks in the project, and task dependencies. The project managers can thus take steps to ensure a high level of productivity is maintained.
To quote, “Great things in business are never done by one person; they’re done by a team of people.” – Steve Jobs
So an effective team is a one with increased business productivity and total commitment towards achieving the organizational goals. A productive team is considered an immense asset for any organization. You can never beat the strength of a good business team in today’s world of cut throat competition.