If you manage a team, finding ways to drive up productivity and morale is the dream. While it can be challenging to figure out how to achieve both things at once, there are, in fact, many steps that you can take to achieve a happier team that’s also working like a well-oiled machine.
Taking a step back and thinking outside the box can pay dividends; whether that’s considering bringing productivity training on board, culling unnecessary meetings, or introducing a new email service, there are a multitude of ways to help your team reach their potential.
Bring Some Great Collaborative Tools on Board
The first step in ensuring your team can work as productively as possible is making sure they have all the tools they need to do so. This means bringing on board the platforms and apps that are specifically designed to help teams get more done with ease. What does this look like in practice? It’s deploying email providers that incorporate team collaboration tools, project management software that allows every colleague to see not just the progress of their own tasks but related interdependencies and potential logjams, and the creation of digital repositories so everyone can find the information they need fast.
Cut Out the Interruptions
We all know how frustrating it is when you’re trying to concentrate on an important task, and your email notifications keep pinging, your phone keeps ringing, or your colleagues keep tapping you for information. One of the best things you can do to give your team members an easier life and boost productivity is to give them the facility to get rid of the distractions that stand between them and getting their tasks done.
Encourage your team to have some designated ‘do not disturb’ time, resist sending multiple daily emails when an end-of-day digest could do the job, and consider using, for example, an email app that incorporates a priority inbox so that spam and junk emails are automatically filtered out.
And talking about interruptions – too frequent meetings can be the bane of an employee’s life and seriously impinge on their ability to actually get their tasks done. Think carefully about every meeting: is it actually necessary, or could the information be summarized in a newsletter or bulletin?
If the meeting is definitely required, then be sure to have an actionable agenda, only invite the necessary team members, and set a time limit of an hour. Meetings that overrun an hour risk losing the attention of attendees and can be a major source of frustration for employees who are all too aware of the work that’s accumulating in their inboxes while they’re away from their desks.
As well as training for core competencies, consider also offering productivity training for your team members. This could take the form of training around time management and techniques to facilitate better concentration, time management, and ways to optimize workflow.
Productivity training will often cover strategies for preventing others from negatively impacting our productivity, how to classify tasks in terms of priority, methods for helping others to become more productive, and differentiating between ‘busy work’ and truly productive work.
This may seem counter-productive, but protecting your team members’ downtime is a vital aspect of increasing positivity and boosting collective morale. It’s easy for burnout to creep in, especially within remote teams, where it can be difficult to provide the support that your team requires or identify a developing problem.
Managers should be rigorous about scheduling downtime for their employees: it’s vital to be just as clear about when staff members aren’t expected to work as when they are. When colleagues are off duty, resist sending them emails, and encourage them to use their automatic out-of-office response and to completely log off from the system. Research consistently shows that predictable, uninterrupted downtime is linked to both increased productivity and a happier team. Arrange regular social events – either of the virtual or in-person variety – to further help your employees unwind, relax, and connect with each other.
A Happier Team Equals a Healthier Bottom Line
Taking steps to boost productivity and give your team a happier life is likely to have a positive impact on the business’s bottom line, too: a recent study revealed that companies with happier employees tend to outperform the competition by around 20%. Use the guide above to help your team work smarter, boost morale, and – ultimately – drive up profits.