Increasing productivity in the workplace is slowly but surely becoming every manager’s goal these days. Productive employees are in demand. And what’s not to love? Such workers finish projects more efficiently, which in turn brings in more money.
But highly productive workers aren’t easy to come by. And even if someone was productive at the beginning, something usually happens and their productivity starts to dwindle. Everything seems to point to the conclusion that efficiency is not something we’re born with, but rather something that should be created and nurtured in the office.
With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of seven broad considerations and adjustments you can make in order to get to the bottom of the age-old question of how to increase productivity:
- Organize the workload
- Encourage collaboration
- Adjust your surroundings
- Leave time for breaks
- Keep your workers happy and healthy
- Set clear goals and reasonable expectations
- Track, measure and adjust
Getting to the ultimate workplace productivity isn’t easy, but considering these seven tips will take you much closer to it. Apart from explaining in more detail what exactly you should think about when it comes to these things, we’ll also tell you how to increase productivity by using Insightful or similar software to monitor computer usage and that way be more informed in making some of these adjustments.
1. Organize the Workload
Everything starts with planning. If your employees are given badly laid-out project with unclear tasks and unreasonable deadlines, they won’t be able to finish anything, because they’d be trying to make sense of it all first. Not to mention how devastating jumbled up tasks are for motivation.
That’s why the first step in deciding how to increase productivity should be diving the projects into small and precise tasks and setting up appropriate deadlines. That way everyone knows what they’re supposed to do and by when it should all be done.
PC time management software such as Insightful can help with this. As it records all activities and tracks how long they take, you’ll always have past data to help you decide how long your deadlines should be and how to divide the workload.
And don’t forget to allocate some time at the beginning of every project to planning. Allowing your teams to take this time to lay out what they need to do and organize their time before they start executing will help focus their productivity.
2. Encourage Collaboration
Apart from organizing the time, you should also always aim to organize the people and establish good collaboration in the office. The first part of this is appropriate work allocation. Knowing who’s good at what will enable you to delegate effectively and thus increase the overall team productivity.
Project management and time tracking software can give you insights into who spends the most or the least amount of time on a task, which will tell you exactly what each employee’s strengths and weaknesses are. You can use this hard data from the staff monitor to allocate tasks for maximum efficiency.
Another thing to consider is encouraging inter- as well as intra-team collaboration. This includes organizing brainstorming sessions where employees can bounce ideas off each other. This will not only create an atmosphere of friendliness but will also help eliminate any creative block that might be stifling productivity.
3. Adjust Your Surroundings
Another way to approach the problem of how to increase productivity is to reconsider the space that your employees are working in. Do you think it’s conducive to productivity?
If they’re working on overcrowded desks, surrounded by white walls, food smelling from the nearby office kitchen and with phones incessantly ringing, the negative answer is a pretty safe bet.
First, declutter the working environment. What are cabinets and drawers for? That should leave some room on the desks for plants, tiny ornaments or family photos. Pleasant surroundings have been proven to enhance productivity. Same goes for bright colors, so, if possible, paint your walls green or yellow.
4. Leave Time for Breaks
Yes, believe it or not, breaks are actually good for productivity.
Now, let’s get something clear - distractions are something completely different. They happen while we’re working and they draw us away from work. So, even if you might not be able to eliminate them completely, you should try to bring them down to a minimum.
On the other hand, carefully planned regular short breaks should be something that you encourage workers to do. This will help your employees go back to work refreshed, with regained focus and less prone to distractions. In other words, more productive.
In order to time the breaks perfectly, you can use Insightful or other software to track employee productivity and look for regular dips in the level of work engagement (i.e. increased use of unproductive apps and websites). That’s very likely a sign that a short break is needed.
5. Keep Your Workers Happy and Healthy
The foundation for how to increase productivity in the workplace is your employees’ wellbeing. If they feel stressed all the time, forced to come to work sick and generally unsatisfied with the working conditions, you can throw motivation out the window, along with any chance for productivity.
There are a couple of things to consider. One, avoid forcing employees to work overtime. Especially if it’s not paid. Organizing your workload properly should take care of this issue.
Two, allow sick leave with no consequences such as having a huge pile of unfinished tasks when they get back to work. Always have another fall-back worker to take care of super urgent tasks. Sick employees, even if physically present, aren’t going to be productive.
And three, consider allowing some type of flexibility, either in the form of flexible working hours or remote work. The demand for these opportunities among employees is steeply increasing, so providing them might make your workers happier and more ready to be productive. And you don’t have to worry about managerial issues - you can implement remote employee monitoring and use computer software to track activity in order to record attendance, track task completion, productivity and more, even if your employees work from home or at different times.
6. Set Clear and Reasonable Expectations
For anyone to be productive, they need to have a clear direction. Simply hustling day to day with no end in sight doesn’t drive motivation to put any effort into finishing things efficiently. Therefore, clear, achievable goals and regular milestones are a must if you want a productive workforce.
Goals are the ultimate focus of effort. It’s not a bad idea to offer some sort of reward for employees when they reach them - e.g. get an extra day off if they finish a long project successfully. Milestones should be shorter in length and they are just roadmaps to keep employees on the right track. Reaching the fifth out of seven milestones is a concrete evidence that they’re moving forward.
You can use regular employee evaluations as an add-on to this system. By giving praise and offering guidance, you’ll make sure that employees know what they’re working towards. This sense of direction will boost productivity.
7. Track, Measure and Adjust
The last step in improving workplace productivity is to keep on top of the results. Whether you use productivity time tracker, your own observations or client feedback, it’s important to never stop measuring how your decisions and adjustments affect productivity.
If you discover that something is working, by all means, make it a part of your company culture. But if you see that something isn’t producing the effects you wanted, change it, go back to the previous system or try something else.
No matter what a blog post you’ve read online tells you, the only way to know what the best way to boost productivity is will be by trying out different methods and seeing whether or not they suit your company and your employees.
And one last thing - give your employees a say in deciding how to increase productivity. They might have some ideas that have escaped you. Getting a fresh perspective, especially the one ‘from the inside’, could prove invaluable for moving the needle.
Hopefully, by now you have some ideas of where to focus your efforts when it comes to making your employees more productive. Whether you decide to use PC time tracking software to help you along or not, it’s important to stay open-minded - try different methods and measure the results. It’s worth it! Getting it right will launch your company to new levels of success.