Teams large and small struggle with productivity during the workday, but now more than ever, productivity is top of mind. With companies moving toward full remote work and worldwide teams working from their homes, task-based priorities require an overhaul to keep production at optimal levels. So how do you keep your team on track and ensure that productivity is a priority? It's no easy task.
Whether working from home or at the office, distractions can creep up. Be it social media, endless emails or, in today's environment - home-based to-dos, kids, pets and more - there are a number of reasons that teams are getting off-task. As a leader, keeping your team focused during these difficult times can be overwhelming, while incomplete tasks can threaten long-term growth. Follow our top tips for making team productivity a priority.
Focused Distractions Enhance Productivity
It may seem counter-intuitive, but allowing time for focused distractions actually increases productivity. The fact is - distractions will pull away even your most dedicated workers, especially when you aren't together in person. Instead of completely eliminating these pesky time-wasters, schedule opportunities for your team to let loose.
Although your team members may not be in earshot any longer, letting them know that they can and should take breaks is more important than ever. At home, scheduling breaks ensures that tasks actually get done, but many employees may feel pressure to work right on through their day to "prove" their productivity.
This is a surefire recipe for burnout. Let your team know that you want them to pace themselves (and still respect their time, even at home) and you're likely to get a more focused and relaxed employee - and better results.
An Engaging Work Environment Increases Team Productivity
Like scheduled breaks, scheduled employee engagement activities will provide motivation for your team to work harder. When you all work together in the same office, this could take the form of themed Friday or perhaps a happy hour or on-site party. But what about teams that are working remotely (especially those who aren't used to the distance this causes)? Just because in-person gatherings may be canceled doesn't mean you can't keep your team engaged.
Virtual get-togethers are now the norm, and there is a good reason why. For many teams, these video hangouts are taking the place of social interactions in the workplace and boosting the spirits of team members along the way. Whether it's a virtual happy hour, coffee break or webinar that everyone takes together, these engagement activities make a big difference in keeping team members motivated, happy and focused.
And don't forget about engagement through social media while working remotely. Why not do a contest for your employees, share recipes, send off a fun survey or create a Facebook group to keep employees engaged? Whatever it is that motivates your team, try different ways to virtually let off some steam together on a regular basis, so they will feel like hard work is rewarded and time is still valuable to you.
Use Technology Tools Made for Team Productivity
Communication and task management is vital to keeping your team on track, especially remotely, the solution is technology. There’s no shortage of task management and communication tools available these days. Whether it’s a mobile app, online tool or both, these tech solutions can make the difference in your team.
Solutions like Slack, Trello or Todoist all have different features, and you can rest assured there’s a task management system out there that's perfect for your team. Having all tasks laid out and being able to assign responsibility easily saves time, reduces meetings and reminds every member about deadlines.
Not to mention, that communicating in a remote environment is vital to productivity. If your team can't understand what is required, they can't deliver. Whether you use communication tools like Microsoft Teams, Skype or Zoom, be sure to fit in weekly check-ins and video conferencing meetings so that everything is crystal clear. Try out several tools, and get your team’s input on what works best, then stick with it. You’re sure to see a positive result.
Foster Trust in Management to Build a Productive team
One of the biggest threats to productivity is a lack of trust between a manager and her team. By developing strong relationships, you can head off work disruptions before they start. Being in-tune with your team means that you can sense when maybe something is off with them, they are burnt out or need additional help.
Without the benefits of on-site, face-to-face meetings, many remote teams can see a dip in strong team-manager relationships. Don't let it happen to you. Continue to offer your help and share information with your team while working from home. Communication is key to building a trusted partnership with your team and allowing productivity to flourish.
Taking a page from the book of Personiv's EVP & Site Head Vishal Bora (CMO's 2018 Visionary Leader of the Year): Servant leadership helps grow employee-manager relationships by showing you care. While your team a physically separated, be sure to prioritize servant leadership in any way that you can.
Plan to Prioritize & Sometimes, Fail – It’s Part of Team Productivity
Working remotely is going to take some getting used to, and inevitably, you'll end up with some bumps in the road. So, do some conscious prioritization realizing that some days, weeks and months, you won’t be able to get it all done.
Instead of looking at your to-do list with anxiety, purposefully push off tasks for later. Recognize that you won’t always make it to your productivity goals, and that’s OK, especially now. Giving yourself some wiggle room on what needs to be done eases the burden, and the whole team will feel more relaxed and ready to work towards achieving more.
As an outsourcer, productivity is our business – cutting costs and saving our customers time. And we’ve managed to get it down to a science. If you’re still having trouble getting things done, give us a call. We’d be happy to help.