How to improve productivity? Here’s how to begin:
Improving productivity. The business owners constant lexicon. Always attempting to get more out of their staff and colleagues. By maximising their colleagues’ potential logically, will improve productivity. Obviously your employees are different but there are commonalities that can be utilised, from their immediate environment temperature, noise levels, to what time of day they work.
Plus, with the advent of increased remote working, managing realistic workloads has become dependent of working with online tools and has taken significant importance. Here are 4 ways on how to improve productivity by optimising your work environment:
1# Immediate Environment
It is easy to underestimate how adjusting your surroundings can make you more productive, it can actually make a huge difference. For example, if your workspace is too cold, you are actually going to be wasting energy trying to keep warm. Of course being too warm is not good for your productivity either. You need to find your comfortable working temperatures, and get your workplace as close to that as possible.
If you are sharing a workspace you might need to bring in a portable fan or heater, or move your desk to be closer to the heating and cooling system (or further away).
Noise levels, specifically music are another environmental factor that can affect productivity and are very personal. The multinational makeup of the offices today contributes to some interesting eclectic music suggestions! Obviously what works for some rock music lovers will not work for soul listeners! Finding a middle road can be a prickly path but could improve productivity.
Do not get forget the power of silence though, as this is imperative for work that requires deep focus rather than creative thinking. And if you like working to music, your own preferences will obviously play a part in what you choose to listen to.
Another idea is to play TV reruns on in the background. Something that everyone is seen before as to not engage staff too much, but enough ambient noise to provide a gentle “hum.” More like working in cafe amongst others.
Lastly, pay attention to how much light your workspace has, and how it affects team productivity. Some may prefer natural light and wish to be near windows, others may prefer dim light to feel less inhibited.
2# Time of Day
As more businesses and their staff work remotely, the likelihood of working at enhanced productivity increases. We can finally adapt to the time of day that enables us to do more, better work.
To start with, we have a built-in body clock that runs a little differently to everyone else’s (known as your circadian rhythm). This determines whether we are night owls or morning larks. Depending on how your internal body clock runs, you could be more suited to working a particular part of the day.
Generally speaking, we all start out being most suited to early mornings, and our body clocks slip later during adolescence, when we prefer to sleep in and stay up late. As we become adults, some of us hang on to these night owl tendencies, others become extreme morning larks, but most of us slide into the middle ground.
Your colleagues know what times of day suit them best, it is worth exploring since being tired could reduce their performance. For example, after lunch have you ever noticed how unmotivated you become? Well this is a natural due to a dip in energy of our daily body clocks. During the office this is the period that has become synonymous with checking those emails as opposed to be creative on projects.
Once you have a good idea of when your staff work best you can better plan your work day to improve productivity. For instance, if you find working late at night suits them, plan your biggest tasks for that period. If mornings work for them, you may need to get up earlier to plan their work schedule.
3# Managing Your Workload
When you and your staff know the best time of day you are most productive and have organised your environment, experiment with managing your workload.
If you have different types of work to get through, grouping similar tasks together into time “chunks” will make you more productive than switching between different types of work all day. For example straightforward tasks can be saved for periods of your day when your energy levels are low, (after lunch) or in-between meetings when you cannot assign enough time for larger tasks.
Another method is to work on larger, time-consuming projects first, and work on smaller tasks that do not require deadlines throughout the day. Completing your most important tasks first makes it surprisingly easy to finish other work in the afternoon, since the stress of larger project deadlines has been dealt with.
When staff are working remotely, it can sometimes be hard to keep up with your workload or meet all your deadlines. Setting short deadlines to ensure colleagues are focussed can do wonders for completing your workloads. Regular checking in with remote staff over short deadlines can surprisingly improve productivity.
4# Use Online Tools
Whether working in the office or remotely, utilising online software tools is a cheap, easy and accessible way to manage project data and workloads. Collaboration tools including Fleep, Google Drive and Asana are awesome to bring remote employees together. No matter what time of day, place, environment, task; when staff are ‘logged on’ all projects and data is in the same place improves productivity as opposed to a shared drive on PC machines at an office.
Even more importantly ensure that all your data is synchronised, so that when an update is created in one piece of software, it is updated in another. Zapier has awesome ‘Zaps’ that sync data between the online software tools you use.
To summarise on how to improve productivity to optimise your work environment, experiment with works best and replicate that success. Ensure that your staff works at the time of day that suits them best in an environment that will not inhibit their creativity. Manage workloads effectively and use cloud software to support both office and remote working.
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