The ability to make one’s office more productive is a skill that a lot of entrepreneurs would give everything they have. This concept is even more absurd than it may look now, mostly due to the fact that this is actually not so hard to understand. For starters, you need to break down what productivity actually is and try to find a way to make a slight improvement in each of these vital areas. In turn, the productivity in your office will grow exponentially.
Here are five hacks to help you get there in no time.
1. Types of people you employ
The first productivity issue in your office is closely intertwined with the people you work with in your team. Namely, there are a lot of people who are true hidden gems but there are also those who can make the productivity of your team plummet and, in this way impact your enterprise from within.
The first one of these people is the emotional vampire. This is the kind of person that doesn’t necessarily underperform but they make everyone feel less motivated for work. How? By spreading the negative energy around the place.
The second type is the complete opposite – the siren. This is often the person that everyone likes to spend time with, the charismatic, enticing people who, alas, distract everyone from their core tasks. The problem with these people lies in the fact that they’re usually the ones with a great promise for the future. On the one hand, you see them as future leaders due to their people skills, however, this is mostly a façade. Keep in mind that while these people have an incredibly high social value, for an employer, they are more of a liability than an asset.
When it comes to backstabbing, discrimination and, overall, hostile behavior in the office, there are a lot of potential motives that are a cause of such behavior. We’re not just talking about discrimination based on gender, age, race, religion or nationality. In fact, by far the most common type of discrimination comes from retaliation. This is the last type of employee that you don’t need in your staff – the nemesis. There are some people who are over competitive and constantly looking for fights. Sure, this person often outperforms most of their “rivals” but keeping such a person on-board tends to be counterproductive.
2. Keeping focused
Another way you can boost your focus or help your employees do the same is by convincing them to take regular breaks. Even people who believe that they could get more done by working without interruption will start making mistakes if they try working for too long without a break. So, make sure that everyone takes their designated break or even gamify this experience for the entire office by introducing the interval working policy across the floor.
Another method of enhancing the productivity of your staff comes from providing them with high-quality coffee. Caffeine is a substance that is known to increase one’s alertness, boosts one’s cognitive capacities and, overall, boost one’s workplace performance. In fact, there are a lot of those who would say that coffee is the fuel on which the modern business world is running. As an employer, what you can do is equip the place with some high-end workplace coffee machines in your kitchen and break areas.
Finally, one’s ability to keep the focus depends on the number and intensity of distractions in the office. This is an area in which an office manager can, indeed, do so much. For instance, you can organize the layout so that everyone has their own privacy.
Second, by keeping the workplace neat you’ll reduce the number of visual distractions.
Third, by providing everyone with some quality equipment and maintaining the discipline in the office, you can drastically reduce the amount of noise in the office. As far as the equipment goes, we’re talking about noise-canceling headphones and silent keyboards.
3. Three laws of productivity
Naturally, there are other phenomena that are concerned with the productivity in the office and some of them can be explained through so-called productivity laws.
The first one is Price’s law of productivity. According to it, about the square root of all your employees do about 50 percent of the work within the office. This means that if you have 9 employees, 3 of them are doing 50 percent of the work, while the other 6 are doing the 50 percent left. In a staff of 100 people, 10 people are doing 50 percent of the work while the other 90 people are dealing with the other half. In other words, productivity grows linearly while incompetence grows exponentially.
Other than this, there’s Parkinson’s law, which states that the amount of work that’s to be done will stretch to fill in all the time until the deadline. What this means is that the more time you give your team to do something, the longer it will take them to do it. This means that being too lenient with deadlines has a way of backfiring. The key to making it here lies in your ability to find a perfect amount of time that won’t put them in the state of anxiety but will deliver you some results in a relatively short time.
While Newton’s First Law of Motion may not be seen as a productivity law, the truth is that there are a lot of ways in which this scenario is applicable in the business world. The law itself claims that a body remains in a state of constant velocity unless acted upon by an external unbalanced force. This means that people who procrastinate are unlikely to change this state unless something or someone helps them do so.
4. Efficient leadership
The importance of efficient leadership just can’t be stressed enough. A great leader can motivate their team in order to give it their very best. They can also organize work in just the right manner and increase the talent retention rate. The first thing that a leader can do is work on their charisma. Now, before some people immediately dismiss the idea, you need to understand that charisma is not an innate trait. It is something that can be actively trained and improved.
Other than this, in order to become a more effective leader and work organizer, you’ll have to learn how to properly delegate tasks. What this means is that you need to learn how to select the right person for each task. This is sometimes chosen based on one’s skills, interests and predisposition. Sadly, this won’t always be possible. There are some tasks that no one wants to do and it’s how you handle the delegation here that makes the biggest difference.
In the end, you need to make sure that you’re always fair, which doesn’t just mean avoiding bias but also avoiding the accusations of bias to the best of your abilities. The simplest way to do so is to avoid fraternizing with your employees. Sure, getting to know personal things about them will help you understand, manage and treat them better, still, this can also be quite problematic. This is how the rumors of favoritism start in the office and from there, your task at keeping everything together will become even harder. As a result, you lose some of your authority, the above-mentioned hostile work environment becomes more likely and the rest of things start getting downhill, as well.
In the end, in order to improve your productivity, you need to understand that time is a finite resource which is crucial for one’s ability to be considered productive. There are a lot of ways in which one can achieve this status, one of them being the efficient use of time-tracking apps. These apps can give you more insight into how and where you spend your time. This way, it will warn you of all the major timewasters and help you organize yourself a lot better.
The next major problem in the present-day office is the fact that multitasking gives you a false sense of productivity in the workplace. You see, while you’re spending one hour doing two separate tasks, the equation isn’t exactly like if you spend half an hour doing one task and then switching onto the other task. This is because your productivity while multitasking is closer to about 35 percent per task than it is to 50 percent. Other than this, a lot of psychologists suggest that multitasking tends to increase one’s feeling of anxiety. Therefore, it’s clear that worse than good comes from this popular (and overhyped) trend.
Lastly, when it comes to properly managing your time, schedules and to-do lists are criminally underrated. These two methods are incredibly efficient at helping you make an estimate of how much is there to be done and how much you have done so far. Naturally, for those who are more tech-savvy, there are numerous tools online to help you do this. Fortunately, most collaboration tools operate on a to-do list-basis, to begin with.
Know your company
In the end, what it really comes down to is knowing the ins and outs of your enterprise. Managing productivity isn’t an easy task, but by implementing schedules, to-do-lists, better organization of the office environment and internal structure and placing the right combination of people in teams, productivity could improve. All you can do is try to hire the right people and give them all the necessary conditions to live up to your expectations. This may not be as easy as it sounds, but at least it’s a start in the right direction towards better productivity.