Over the past few weeks, we’ve been talking through the benefits of having a workplace New Year’s resolution, and the focus it can bring to your daily working life. One of the most prevalent workplace resolutions is a desire to become more productive overall. Whether this is a personal target, or a goal for the wider team as a unit, it’s certainly a worthwhile ambition. Then again, boosting productivity is largely a fairly vague and un-specific goal, so here are five great New Year’s resolutions that will boost workplace productivity.
Do A Team Audit
First things first, you need to know what the lay of the land is. How are things working, what is vitally important, where is there room for improvement. It doesn’t matter if you’re auditing yourself as a leader or your team as a whole, you can’t improve efficiency and productivity if you don’t know where you stand in the first place. Here, you’ll find where the inefficient sections of your team lie. This might be in repetitive processes, a lack of tools or resources, or simply just poor time management. Only by doing an audit will you discover the extent of your productivity issues, then you can get on with finding solutions.
Research New Tech
Once you’ve discovered the gaps in your productivity, it’s time to find some workable solutions. Increasingly, team management and productivity software has come to the fore as a cost-effective solution to inefficiency. This being said, there are hundreds of solutions out there so finding the one that works for you, that’s within budget and encapsulates what you need as a team might take time. For example, Wundamail is low-cost, with no IT integration, and helps you to keep track of what your entire team is up to on a daily basis, without sending hundreds of emails. This is a great solution for teams who waste a lot of time on pointless meetings and memos, or have several members working on multiple tasks in multiple locations, and much more. Workplace tech has come a long way, so there’s bound to be something that will help you and your team become more productive.
Check In With Your Team
Even if you’ve conducted an initial audit and implemented team management software to help keep everyone in the loop, as a leader you still need to check in with your team on a one-to-one basis. Everyone is different and has different needs in order to perform at their optimum level. So, in order to get the most out of your team as a whole entity, you need to tailor your approach for the individual. This doesn’t have to a physical, constant thing - you can schedule digital quarterly catch-ups or just have a casual conversation to check that everything is ticking over as it should. Keep yourself in the loop by asking your team what they’re up to and, more importantly, what blockers they’re facing.
Change Your Scenery
It’s a fact about being human, if we do the same thing in the same place for long enough, we get stuck in a rut. Especially if you work in a creative space, or need to generate new ideas and solutions for strategies, ruts can be dangerous things for productivity. In order to remain productive and efficient, we need to be continually assessing and reviewing how we work in order to ensure we’re performing at our best. A change in scenery can hit the reset button and help us to reassess our processes - it’s the reason you come back renewed after a holiday. So, why not switch it up by working remotely once a week or doing a couple hours of work from a different part of the building. Flexible working is on the rise, and the benefits to productivity are well documented, so it’s definitely something to consider if you’re trying to become more efficient.
Block Out Your Time
Realistically, this is productivity 101. We all get distracted and procrastinate sometimes - we’re only human after all - however sometimes we just need to get our heads down to meet that deadline. The best way to do this without burning out or getting frazzled is to block out your time at the start of the week or day. Work out what is the priority, what has to be done at a specific time (for example meetings or targeting different time zones), and build your days in set slots around that. This way you’ll get two hours of solid work on one project, rather than hopping around doing odd 15 minutes drips on several projects. Also, don’t forget to schedule in some time for lower pressure admin and breaks - you’re not a machine and the longer you go without breaks the less productive you’re likely to become. After all, much like changing your scenery, it helps to hit the reset button and come back to a task, or start a new section, with a renewed perspective.
Productivity issues are something that plague a lot of teams and leaders, but it needn’t be a huge project that has to be tackled. By breaking it down into these five achievable resolutions, you’ll be well on your way to having a productive, efficient, and successful team for 2020. What are you waiting for? 2020 is going to be your year, it starts now.