You're in the zone.

Until a well-meaning co-worker comes out of nowhere to discuss their favorite new series on Netflix.

While you're usually open to chat and bond with team members, this wasn't the right time, and your productivity groove has been derailed.

Whether your team is full of creative geniuses or mathematical wizards, productivity killers like this can take away precious time, money and focus. Your employees have the capability to eventually get back on track, but you have the power to help them become productive and stay that way.

Here are four creative ideas to help you improve workplace productivity for your employees:

1. Limit hours.

When CJ McClanahan, president of executive coaching and strategic planing company CJ McClanahan, was approached by an organization that was having productivity issues, he immediately knew the problem.

"I was advising a company where people were working tons of hours and not getting much done. They were just running around putting out fires," McClanahan said. "I told them to limit the amount of hours they worked to 45-50 and not take their laptops home."

The company saw a major productivity increase. To help lessen distractions and focus on their priorities, McClanahan suggests giving employees permission to shut their doors when necessary.

"This can be a sign on the door or desk, an email asking for no interruptions when headphones are in, or establishing a red, yellow, and green card system for interruptions. Red means absolutely no interruptions unless there is a fire, yellow means working but you can interrupt, and green means you're 100 percent available," he explained.

2. Schedule fun breaks.

Your team needs breaks throughout the day. Not just to de-stress, but to get those creativity and productivity juices flowing.

Veronica Wendy, founder of J'adore Vee, a women's evening-wear company, understands her team needs initiative and go-getter attitudes. To help boost their energy, Wendy created small goals throughout the day.

"At about 11 a.m., I schedule a coffee break where we take time to wind down, or I plan a game to keep spirits up. I think happier workers are more productive, so I try to have even smaller breaks in the middle where we have a quick beer tasting after the lunch lull," she explained.

Wendy's attempts to keep things interesting ensures her team isn't feeling overworked or stressed, which leads to slowed productivity and decreased creativity.

Stay true to your company culture while scheduling fun breaks. If your team is composed of food-fanatics, surprise them with weekly lunches or cooking lessons. Bring in a yoga pro for 20 minute breaks every Tuesday and Thursday if your culture is more relaxed and laid back.

3. Get them moving.

Adrenaline makes it easier for our minds to open up and focus.

James McCarthy, CEO of Placement Labs, an SEO service agency, witnessed his team's morale and productivity rise from doing just that.

"I gave a FitBit activity tracker to each of my employees and encouraged them to get up from their desks once an hour or so and go for short walks, either alone or with co-workers, and to compare the tracker's analytic data to see who was walking the most," McCarthy explained.

It turns out his team was excited to compare their steps-- they even began losing weight and feeling healthier.

"I not only noticed an improvement in morale, but also higher quality work production and decreased absenteeism," he said.

Some employees may want to work together toward a goal, while others have more competitive spirits. No matter how they approach their fitness, just getting up and moving will increase their moods, teamwork, and best of all, productivity.

4. Give employees more control.

As a leader, it's natural to have a strong desire to take control when you see productivity slowing. However, Celeste Giampetro, the vice president of marketing at PebblePost, a programmatic direct mail organization, found letting go helped employees regain their productivity.

"I decided to stop trying to engineer the meetings and let employees have a go," Giampetro said.

From that point on, she put a different team member in charge of the meeting each week. They not only led the agenda, but also shared something inspirational.

When employees are given the opportunity to control their own goals and meetings, they're more motivated to prove themselves. Performance management tools can help you stay in the loop, while allowing them to remain in control. While a tool like this helps build teamwork, everyone will also be more productive and motivated to accomplish their day as they see fit.

Published on: Aug 3, 2017