How do you keep your staff (and yourself) motivated and working efficiently? In the face of a new calendar year, here are 26 ways to improve and/or maintain office productivity:
1. Encourage a healthy work ethic. Working without breaks, regular movement or milestones is a recipe for quick burnout. Make sure you and your employees create good, sustainable work habits.
2. Be flexible about individual work styles. Some employees work best in a quiet space, alone, while others may be more extroverted and excel in team-based projects. When hiring for these positions, keep in mind that each potential employee has their own, unique work style; ideally, it aligns with those of your star employees.
3. Create impromptu meeting areas. Whether this is a lounge with a table and chairs, a pair of couches or an open area with a white board, create opportunities for your team to communicate.
4. Provide filtered water and caffeinated beverages. Hydration is important, as is caffeine when you hit an afternoon energy slump.
5. Research and invest in work space options. Your company might not be able to mimic Pixar and allow employees to build and design their own office (like a castle or western ranch), but looking at options like standing desks and multiple monitors could greatly impact your employee’s ability to get the job done efficiently.
6. Encourage, praise and criticize constructively. Great leaders know the importance of managing a team through amazing communication, and all of these are vital to a good relationship with your employees.
7. Sit teams members close to one another. When teams are trying to get things done, work can be inefficient and tensions can run high if teammates aren’t able to easily and quickly communicate with one another. Try to group teammates/department members together.
8. Reconsider your office aesthetic. Is your fluorescent lighting, taupe wall color and 20-year old decor affecting work performance in a bad way? Probably – don’t underestimate the importance of aesthetics and engaging color within your office space.
9. Widen the dress code. Some people work best in a three-piece suit and high-heels, but others do their best work in jeans and a sweatshirt. Consider relaxing the dress code enough so every employee can dress optimally.
10. Become familiar with each person’s communication style. Are you working with a large group of extroverts, or do have a mix of sensitive and tough-skinned employees? As much as possible, identifying with each employee’s way of communicating and respecting it within conversation will actually save a lot of time and frustration on both your parts.
11. Hold short, productive weekly meetings. No one appreciates the hour-long meetings where very little gets done, so experiment with short, focused weekly meetings. Each company will need a different format, but ideas like opening ice breakers, set time limits and even holding meetings online could be a good fit for your team.
12. Set goals as an office and reach them. Working from your mission statement and goals for the company, identify three or four company-wide goals and create a roap map to success.
13. Celebrate big accomplishments. Did you land a big contract? Did one of your departments impress an important client? Celebrate and show employees that they’re making a difference.
14. Let the sun shine in. Depending upon your location, many people worldwide can be susceptible to SAD (seasonal affective disorder) during winter months. Take advantage of the sunny days and let as much natural light in the building as possible year round (without overwhelming your air conditioner).
15. Put a cap on work hours for salaried employees. Salaried positions come with added security and benefits, like health care and paid leave, but salaried employees also tend to put in more work than hourly workers. Do your team a favor and put a cap on the amount of hours they can work each week. It will keep them from burning out and you from finding replacement employees.
16. Take team breaks. Go to a coffee shop, take a walk nearby or even go out for a meal. Breaks are important for a company’s productivity.
17. Offer free access to a gym or health classes. Healthy individuals who exercise regularly often have much more energy than those who do not spend a lot of time each week being active. Consider offering a discounted or free membership to a local gym, or encourage employees to attend health classes or workshops.
18. Invest in professional development. Investing in employees’ futures is a direct investment into your company’s productivity and capabilities – the more skilled your employees, the better the work.
19. Buy white boards and different colored dry-erase markers. Yes, colored markers can make a fun, small difference. Indulge your team’s creativity and give them space to innovate and organize.
20. Re-evaluate your organizational systems. Is your filing system or standard operating system as streamlined and efficient as it could be? Improving these could be a huge time-saver.
21. Spell out “work from home” guidelines. Giving your employees the option to work from home can be a huge job perk and a benefit to their schedules, but make sure to set standards. What level of engagement and productivity do you expect from them? Define this clearly and concisely.
22. Make a visualization of company-wide goals and values. A picture is worth a thousand words, they say, so try creating visuals for your company metrics. Establish where you are and where you want to be in the short-term and long-term future.
23. Encourage employees to put on headphones. Certain genres of music can help employees focus on the task they need to complete, so giving them the option to listen to music as they work could be beneficial. Otherwise, noise-cancelling headphones might also be helpful in certain environments.
24. Offer free, convenient vehicle parking. If your employees have to move their car from street parking every two hours, this can be a huge distraction. Do your best to offer free, convenient parking for company employees.
25. Use technologies like Zoom and Skype regularly. Utilize existing technologies to fit in more meetings, phone calls and dialogue by utilizing services like Zoom or Skype.
26. Keep reasonable expectations and a healthy perspective. After all is said and done, you and your employees are human – and human beings have limits. Remember to keep your expectations reasonable and set yourself (and your employees) up for success!
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