Every office is looking to boost productivity. While there are a whole host of tips and tricks for kicking the afternoon lull, boosting morale and energy, and throwing employee out-put into high gear, sometimes the simplest solutions are the most effective.
Here are five tips that can boost your office productivity – and do it immediately.
- Set Break Times in Stone
As the first tip, this one seems the most contradictory – taking breaks means time away from projects, cutting into productivity, right? The exact opposite is actually true. The human mind wasn’t designed to operate like a machine, especially not in our early days as a species, so when it finds itself stuck with routine tasks or a huge flow of work, it begins to regress into shut-down mode. This saves energy for that surprise tiger you might see when you go out hunting and gathering later. So the shorter breaks are and the more they’re skipped, the more employees’ minds will start powering down and losing focus on their projects, in fact cutting into productivity.
- Cut the Fluff
The greatest key to productivity is focus: an employee’s ability to focus on a project, and management’s ability to focus the tasks they’re assigning to their workers. Often times businesses are strict on work hours, meetings, and the freedom an employee has on a project – with the aim to make all progress clear and tracked. However, to truly encourage productivity, being flexible is the key. This means avoiding meetings when a simple email would suffice to get the information across, being less strict with an employee’s working hours and their ability to work from home, and especially changing the level of creativity allowed within the working force. It’s important to evaluate even the longest of working traditions and think to yourself “does this cut into productivity?” Even if that weekly meeting has been set in stone for years, it may be time to put it away in favor of a more flexible and focused approach.
- Make it Personal
When the word “productivity” comes around, it’s usually associated with a bunch of numbers and graphs, as if workers are Terminator-style robots with all the programmable features and none of the awesome superpowers. However, that’s just not the case. People work harder and produce better results when they’re personally motivated to see something accomplished, and by feeding this personalized drive, you’ll find employees willing to go the extra mile and focusing harder during work hours. Make them a part of the project, and give them a reason to actually care.
- Get Collaborative
They say two heads are better than one, and after working on something for a long time, it’s easy to get tunnel vision on the entire project. Either the final result won’t be as great as you hoped, or you’ll end up lagging behind while trying to rethink the entire process. By encouraging employees to reach out, you can cut through the fog and get tasks handled much more efficiently, not just boosting productivity, but improving the quality you deliver.
- Actually Work Together
Four hands are also better than two – by working with others on big tasks and on small, work can be divided and conquered faster than before. Even better than that, by having several people on the job, you’re benefitting from several different specialties and strengths. When you find yourself loathing a certain part of a project, you can pass this off to someone who thrives in that area, allowing you to concentrate on something you’re good at – and most importantly, something that doesn’t make you want to stab your eye out. This boosts your mood and allows you to work with more focus.
- Keep Things Organized
It may seem obvious that keeping things organized leads to productivity, but most people look past the real value it has to offer. If you’re a more creative but scatterbrained kind of worker, you’ll be lost and confused in the clutter of your desk or schedule, not only missing vital deadlines, but even focusing on the wrong projects. For more on-point workers, your drive to get things organized last minute can lead to valuable time being wasted, bleeding into your productivity levels.
- Get a To-Do List.
We all have a list of things we want to accomplish, but the means of actually doing so can quickly escape us when the internet and all its sweet, understanding cat videos call to us. To turn this tip into an actual game plan, you have to chart out your daily tasks in detail. Organize them based on importance, so that if you miss any, at least the important things are covered. Organize them based on time, because the more brain-intensive tasks might feel like waterboarding during the afternoon lull. And finally, base them on your level of interest – if you absolutely hate a project, handle it first, and then reward yourself with some email-writing; or on the flipside, try the email-writing first to build up the courage to keep going.
- Keep Your Workspace Tidy.
They say geniuses have the messiest desks – however, their skill lies not with their mind but with their ability to not get distracted by the clutter. The rest of us aren’t so lucky; a messy desk will make it difficult to find the tools and objects you need to take on work, and the few minutes spent hunting them down will quickly find you lagging behind in productivity. In addition to this, while most wars are fought and won in the situation room, your battle of getting-things-done is mostly fought in your mind. A cluttered workspace will make you feel cluttered and bogged down, while a tidy area boosts motivation to get stuff accomplished.
By including these tips and tricks in the way you approach the office, you can create a working environment that is focused on just that – working at its full potential.