The question of how to boost effectiveness, productivity, and work output is one as old as time. The stakes are as high as ever, as many companies are struggling to compete with the ever-changing times. It’s a simple question, but the years have provided a diverse array of answers, some more helpful than others.
The fact of the matter is that the face of productivity continues to evolve as businesses compete for viability and profitability within the rapidly-changing modern world. The companies with the most longevity are those that are able to effectively adapt to any given circumstance or outcome.
While some of the most tried and true advice is geared toward traditional and even outdated practices, this article will list the top chosen and most effective methods for businesses today. Let’s dive in.
How do you measure productivity?
The first step to increasing productivity and work output is to define what that means for your business. Is productivity based upon fulfilling a sales quota or generating fresh and original content? Or are you aiming to provide exceptional all-around customer service?
Whatever the case, setting clear and thorough standards for success is the very first item on the checklist.
Encourage flexibility and adaptability
In the same way that all employees have unique skills and abilities, they also have diverse methods of focusing and manifesting productivity. While some people thrive in a buzzing atmosphere, others focus better in quiet and solitude. There is no cookie-cutter mold; what increases productivity for one employee may put the other at a deficit.
That is why flexibility and adaptability are two of the most important assets for running a business and maintaining solid employer-employee relationships.
Your employees aren’t mind-readers. It is imperative that management and leadership create and effectively communicate expressly defined goals and expectations. Additionally, be willing to provide comprehensive training for new hires to ease their onboarding and transition into the company.
Employees need to feel secure in their position and that they can trust the leadership above them. This is a fundamental attribute of human nature, as demonstrated by Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. When workers are comfortable in their environment, they have a higher capacity for self-actualization, therefore fueling their drive for creative ideas and solutions.
Meet your employees’ needs
Increasing productivity and output is an issue of meeting the needs of individuals within the company. Employees can become more passionate about their work by reaching the self-actualization stage and tapping into the skills that this level of fulfillment produces.
One way to ensure that you’re getting the most out of your hiring process is by recruiting workers who have the potential to manage themselves.
This isn’t to say that these employees should be left to their own devices, nor should they be expected to oversee more than their fair share of the workload. Simply, these are the employees that you can delegate to and trust their integrity in ushering a project to completion.
Lead by example
It goes without saying that business leaders should lead by example. If your employees and associates perceive you as lazy or unprofessional, they will not only take you less seriously, but they more than likely will begin to slack off themselves. Make a point of always being productive in front of employees in a way that demonstrates your expectations directly.
Allow for remote jobs
Many businesses drag their feet on allowing remote work out of fear that without face-to-face interaction, productivity will decrease. However, you don’t have to hover over employees to ensure their productivity. In reality, this notion is rooted in the fear that either:
- Workers can not be trained and managed effectively; or
- Leadership cannot effectively train and manage staff virtually.
These fears are illogical because steps can be taken to produce your desired outcome. The implementation of time-tracking software gives leadership a window into remote productivity. In truth, 82% of workers report preferring a remote or hybrid workspace — and for many, the hectic commute to an on-site company location is work in and of itself.
Remote and virtual positions are often referred to as “work-from-home” jobs, but there’s a flip side in that virtual workspaces allow employees to bring their work with them on the go. Ultimately, this banks more time for project completion as employees can access their work beyond the basic 9-to-5 schedule.
Adaptability is key to modern business success. We live in an increasingly digitalized world, making it important to stay up to speed on the latest business development tools and tactics.
While not all positions can shift remotely and many operations require fulfillment during standard business hours, allowing employees to work flexibly at their most productive time of day results in an increase in creativity and more effective output.
Top-down organization strategies for better output
Project organization works from the top down. If a company’s leadership is exhibiting poor communication and organizational skills, employees are likely to follow suit! Moreover, your team might find themselves stuck in the weeds because they have not been given a roadmap to a successfully completed project.
Set clear goals
Setting realistic, clearly defined goals or milestones sets both you and your employees up for success, because now you have a means of delegating tasks and tracking your team’s progress.
The best way to assign goals is through a PMO, or a Project Management Office. A traditional PMO would include a team of hired managers who oversee the standardization of project scope and requirements.
Additionally, it may help to implement a mobile project management platform such as Asana. PMO software gives you the ability to store your project information digitally in one place and streamline your workflow, ultimately resulting in more efficient and timely work.
When employees and associates are able to see their tasks and deadlines as they are assigned, there is an avenue for clear goals and communication, plus an additional accountability factor. Project management platforms also make it easy to collaborate on tasks so that everyone is on the same page at all times.
Connect with your employees
How can you expect employees to dedicate themselves to a project if they don’t first feel welcomed and accepted as an integral part of the team? Employees tend to work harder for bosses and supervisors who they respect and connect with.
If your employees work remotely, set up an occasional one-on-one to follow up on milestones and answer any questions they might have. Don’t be afraid to ask what you can do to assist them in their efficiency, as it might assist you in becoming a more effective business leader.
Nothing slows a project down like unclear or unrealistic expectations. Therefore, strive to achieve clear and open communication throughout all levels of your company by mapping out multiple milestones and goals for a project along with hard and soft deadlines for completion.
The best way to ensure that workers are efficient is by maintaining high morale within the company. Morale refers to the overall attitude and energy of a group at any particular time. A positive and steady morale. Moreover, this is the penultimate step toward reaching the self-actualization stage.
Creating an inclusive and productive company culture goes a long way toward fostering positive morale within the workspace. As a business leader, you set the tone for your workspace, which is why it is important to maintain a positive attitude in the face of tight deadlines and administrative challenges.
After everything is said and done, offer your employees constructive feedback on their job performance and project quality. If someone has gone above and beyond, be sure to recognize and congratulate them. This will appeal to the esteem of your employee and motivate them to keep up the good work.
It’s a scientific fact that an object in motion will stay in motion unless interfered with by an outside force. The same is true of passion, motivation, and work ethic. Positive energy is contagious, and will more than likely rub off on everyone in the workspace, in-person or virtual.
Workers who feel respected by their employers and co-workers are more likely to not only complete their assignments on time, but to go above and beyond when completing assignments, interacting with customers, or collaborating with the team.
There are, of course, many other factors that contribute to morale as well. It has been proven that a sufficient work-life balance increases worker productivity. Paid Time Off is an important factor in satisfying both the safety and the social belonging tiers of employee needs.
In addition to PTO, work-life balance can also be achieved by the simplification of assignments using a step-by-step, goal-oriented approach that saves workers time, stress, and confusion.
Increasing productivity doesn’t have to feel like pulling teeth. True productivity will occur organically as the result of consistent effort toward fostering positive changes to business planning and strategy.
Meaningful and lasting change doesn’t happen overnight. Consistency is key, and with proper organization and diligence, you’ll see an exponential increase in your company’s output.
Not only will you increase your output, but you will create a cohesive and uplifting company culture that will continue to perpetuate the growth cycle forward.