When there is a job to be done, we are all relying on our team to do it, and we all give our best to complete the job.
But as a team leader or company owner, you need to find a way to increase your team’s productivity and to help them give their best.
How are you going to do that? Maybe you already have some techniques that you are using, but allow us to help.
We have had the same problem, and we’ve done some research that helped us see more clearly what are the factors that make people more productive and task-focused, especially when we have tight deadlines.
Here are some of the things that we have discovered and applied:
Make your team happy!
Believe it or not, happiness is one of the key factors of productivity. The study made on the English University of Warwick showed that people are 12% more productive when they are feeling happy.
This is quite a number, so make sure that you do all you can to make your team happy.
Sure, that is easier said than done because happiness is an individual category and represent different things for each of us, but let’s see what can be done in this field:
- Make the generally pleasant and tension-free atmosphere at the workplace. It is more likely that your team will feel more comfortable in such an environment and will feel happier.
- Make sure you have a stock full of chocolates that you can share with the team. Make a little break in the office, prepare the chocolate and tell a joke. After 10 minutes get back to work and watch. It is a popular claim that chocolate can boost your happiness level. If you add laughter to the mix, you can get some more happy individuals on the team. Anyhow, you can make a refreshing break in this way.
- Of course, nothing can’t replace the personal contact and conversation that you can have with each individual. As mentioned before, happiness is an individual category, and it has a different meaning for every one of us. So, make sure that you have 1 on 1 talk with everyone in your team and find out what makes them happy. It can be small things, such as a hobby or favorite dish, or big ones like a new car, or family vacation on an exotic island. Go for the small ones, make sure to remember them and please them occasionally. In this way, people will know that you cared enough for them to remember that and with these 1 on 1 conversations you are showing that you care for them as team members and that you value the work they do.
Provide the team with a hassle-free work process
When we say a hassle-free work process, we are not talking about the pleasant atmosphere that you already should have. We are talking about the actual work that you do. Let us be more specific on the points we wish to make:
- Let everyone know what exactly they need to do. People don’t like to guess what they need to do when they start their workday. They are much more productive when they already know what they need to do and what is expected of them. So, make sure you delegate tasks properly and share as many details on the task as you can. Of course, someone needs less explaining, and it is enough to simply say: ”Make me a website” while others need full specifications on how exactly the website needs to be done. But, you already know that (because you know your team).
- Avoid all distractions made by yourself during the productivity hours. First of all, make sure that you are not the one who is distracting them, and then take care of all the other distractions. How will you do that when there is something that you need to say to the team now? Well, if it is not a fire in the building, we’re sure that it can wait for a while. So, instead of jumping in and telling them the news, you can always write it down. But be careful, don’t email the team - emails can be quite distracting. When a person receives an email from the boss, it gets her up to 15 minutes to get back into “the zone.” So, don’t be such a boss and use some other tool, like an internal blog, to share the thing you need to say to the team. It is far less distracting (even if they will receive an email, your name is not in the Sender box) and let them read it at their own pace.
- Avoid distractions made by others (clients and customers) - yes, these are the people who your company was built for but don’t let them disturb the team during the productivity period. Here’s an example: if you are a software company and you have your clients, make sure to do some productive coding in the first hour you started working, while you are all fresh, and then deal with all the client/customer requests. That hour will not make a difference in the level of your customer care, but it can be a significant improvement in the code. Of course, if you can, you should hire a person dedicated only to communicate with your customers and to resolve the issues that they are having, and to let programmers (if we still take the example of the software company) do what they are best at.
Make people in your team a true part of the company
If people believe in what they are doing and see the direct progress of the project that they are working on, they have much more enthusiasm about that work, and they are more productive. So, another thing that you can do is to show them that they are really a part of your company.
- Share company mission and goals with them and find out if these are their goals too. If you can’t convince them, how are you going to make your customers believe that you are really standing for what you preach? The mission and the goal are something that should be your main value, and your entire team should trust in it.
- Show that the company is here for each team member, not that they just need to be here for the company. When someone gets sick, send the get well card, or remember the birthdays and organize a small office party (don’t forget the chocolate).
- Appreciate their work, not only through the paycheck and bonuses but on words and acts as well. Did you know that the main reason people change jobs is not the money? One of the main reasons they decide to do that is because they are feeling underappreciated and unrecognized by their superiors. Even 82% of job resignations is because of this reason, according to the recent research made by Inc. magazine.
We have made it applying some of these techniques, and we can see some improvements in the first week of the “experiment”. We will continue in this direction, and we hope to bring our teamwork and communication close to perfection.
We would love to hear from you and to learn what do you do to make your team more productive? What is your trick? Feel free to share your tips with us, we will be happy to hear them!