Did you know that enterprise workers only spend 45 percent of their time performing their primary job duties?
Even the most attentive employees get bogged down by organizational inefficiencies--long, drone meetings, too many emails and the frazzling effects of cumulative stress. To immediately boost the productivity of your team, implement these 11 changes and watch the efficiency and effectiveness of your employees grow exponentially:
1. Emphasize Community
A strong sense of community provides a personal professional support network, empowering employees to bring their best to work. To boost productivity, follow CEO Bob Chapman's lead and measure your company's success by the way you "touch the lives of people." If that seems like a tall measure, start by writing your employees thank-you notes for jobs well done. Shifting to a posture of appreciation will make an immediate impact on productivity.
2. Forget Multitasking
Despite its busy-body reputation, multitasking is not an effective work strategy. It cuts into productivity, splitting your energy and making it difficult to get anything done. Switching back and forth between different tasks is also more taxing, making you prone to errors and misunderstandings. To counter the natural tendency to juggle, ask your employees to commit themselves to completing their three most important tasks before they begin reactive work.
3. Plug in Headphones
Encourage your employees to get into the zone with their favorite music. You could even offer to pay for your employees' Spotify accounts or allocate music stipends to encourage easy listening. Research says that music offers a needed escape from noisy, distracting workplaces and also helps employees get into a groove when undertaking repetitive tasks.
4. Implement Weekly Reports
Ideal managers foster accountability on a daily basis. Instead of relying on informal catch-ups, give employees the opportunity to submit weekly reports on their work. Handing in a record of their accomplishments at the end of the week prompts greater responsibility and increases motivation--both of which cut into procrastination time.
5. Let People Work From Home
Managers fear that when employees work from home, productivity lags because of natural distractions: snacks in the kitchen, kids in the living room and that extra pile of laundry. Despite this knee jerk reaction from middle management, employees are more productive when they work for the comfort of their homes. One study conducted by Stanford University found that remote work increased employee performance by 13%--workers prospered in the quiet, convenient locations of their own homes and also took less breaks and minimal sick days.
6. Stand Up Before Lunch
Have you ever had a meeting just before lunch? Mark Tonkelowitz at Facebook holds daily meetings at 12:00 pm and requires that his team stand up rather than sit. Tonkelwitz is one of many tech managers who believe that a pre-lunch time speeds up meetings. Standing also encourages agile conversations without the decorum (and wasted time) of a fussy boardroom meeting.
7. Use Project Periods
Daniel J. Levitin, the author of "The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload" suggests that to boost productivity, employees should set aside periods of time from 30 minutes to 50 minutes to focus on specific tasks. He states in the New York Times, "If you want to be more productive and creative, and to have more energy, the science dictates that you should partition your day into project periods." Ask your employees to build on this Levitin's research in their work activities, blocking off chunks of time on their calendar to work on immersive tasks.
8. Limit Meetings
Unproductive meetings cost the U.S. economy more than $37 million per year. For one week, try cutting down on meetings by 20% and give employees the extra time to fulfill tasks associated with high job performance. The extra time will increase your team's ability to complete projects with ease and efficiency.
9. Practice Transparency
"Transparency" is more than a buzzword. The more your employees know, the easier it is for them to meet your company's goals. Give your team the context for every choice you make--explaining the "why" behind every decision. Empowering your team with understanding unites their efforts to a company mission.
10. Lay Off Emails
It takes employees 15 minutes to return to productive work after a regular interruption--that offhand email can really throw your employee off. Instead of blasting your team with consistent notes every hour, send one long email at the end of the day that summarizes the day's events. This approach also makes it easier for you to set aside email correspondence for a particular time rather than tapping into it throughout the day.
11. Ask Your Employees to Say "No"
Dedicated employees often overcommit beyond the scope of their position--although extra work can support important initiatives, it can also cause resentment and burnout. Have an open, honest conversation with your team, and ask them to say "no" to one thing at work this week.
These 11 simple changes disrupt unhelpful organizational processes in favor of a more balanced and engaging work experience. Even though they only take a week to boost productivity, they will make a long term impact--once you shift in a new direction, your team will never go back!
Are there any other productivity hacks you would add to this list?