No firm owner wants to feel like their business isn’t as productive as it could be, but how do you increase productivity at work without overworking yourself or your employees? That’s what we’ll investigate in this piece. Here are some work productivity tips that will teach you how to be more productive at work.
What Is Productivity to You?
Productivity is such a vague word! You could measure it in profits, in time spent in meetings, or how much you stared at your email inbox today. Before you can think about how to improve it, you first have to define it for your company.
You can do this on several levels. The business may have productivity goals, such as increasing revenue. Different teams will have their own productivity goals, and the people inside those teams will have goals. Whoever is running the ship needs to know the strategy that links these goals together and has to help the rest of the business understand their place in that strategy.
This does more than just mesh your teams together. It can also give teams and employees a sense of ownership about their place in moving the company toward its larger goals.
From this perspective, we can define productivity as, “Actions that push employees, teams, and businesses towards a desired goal.” We can measure all business activities on the metric of whether it moves toward or away from your goals, which in turn shows us how to be productive at work.
The next step is to document all of the activities that people do at your company. If you’ve wondered how to increase productivity in the workplace, this practice is key. Documentation is necessary for workflow creation, but what we really want to look for is how much time different tasks take. We have another article on time management tools that can help you with thinking about this.
Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses, and part of a manager’s job is to figure out which tasks are best for which employees. Documenting all of your tasks and measuring how long they take will give you the data you need to ensure the right people are in the right seats. It can also show other inefficiencies like a client that requires too much handling to be profitable.
What do you do with this data? The wrong approach to take is to punish anyone who doesn’t look like they’re pushing toward their work productivity goals. Instead, use the data as a signal where productivity at work can improve. Some may have a lot of free time because they are too skilled at a task and need more work or more challenging work. Others might get overwhelmed because of insufficient training or a poor skill-set match to the task.
Prioritize and Automate Tasks
Once the right people are doing the right tasks, the next challenge is to create a priority system for those tasks. For instance, a due date might make one task more urgent than another. That’s a simple example, but others aren’t as clear.
Do your best and delegate, or automate, the rest. This lets you focus on your most productive work and let go of the tasks that aren’t as urgent or important.
There are a lot of tasks necessary for your business but aren’t productive. How do you stop them from interfering with your most productive work? Automate these tasks or delegate them to someone whose productivity goals more closely align with them.
A more insidious type of task includes items that seem productive but really aren’t. These are the hidden time leeches that destroy workplace productivity. One common example is the infamous unnecessary meeting. Meetings do have their uses, but only if they’re productive. Even a meeting for fun can produce a morale boost, but there many meetings that waste time and drain energy.
The reason these tasks hide so well is that they may be productive for one part of the business, but not for another. A middle or upper-level manager may need to speak with a client in a meeting or hold a strategy meeting and consider inviting people below them to pull them into the loop. However, only a small part of that meeting might apply to whoever they pull in. The rest may not benefit that employee and instead lowers their productivity.
One way to conquer this is to give people the information they need to decide whether to join a meeting. You could require meeting hosts to send a clear agenda to participants in advance. This lets the participants accept, decline, or ask questions about it to decide if they really need to be present. Those who don’t need to attend the entire meeting might just send their questions to the meeting coordinator via email.
Increasing productivity in the workplace is not about looking busy or feeling tired when the day is done. It’s defining the most effective tasks, assigning the best people for those tasks, and helping them prioritize these tasks without interrupting them with unnecessary burdens.
Templated workflow systems like Jetpack Workflow are a huge support for your team’s overall productivity. Help your firm to be more productive by starting a 14-day free trial of Jetpack Workflow today!