Let me start by staying that the only person you can “make” more productive is yourself. You don’t have ultimate control over others, that includes your employees. There are, however, things you can put in place to help and support them to be more productive. Here are some questions that can help you to improve the current situation:
Creating a more productive environment
Office layout/home working set-up
Is your office laid out in such a way that it promotes productivity? Can your employees work undisturbed? Is there an option for them to retreat for focussed work?
For employees working from home – do they have a dedicated workspace? What can you do to support them to set up a productive working environment?
Expectations and open communication
Does everyone know in detail what’s expected of them? Can employees have open conversations with you and the management team? Is there a culture of trust and mutual respect?
Get to know your employees
Do you know what makes your employees tick? What motivates them? Why did they take the job in the first place?
If goals and targets are met and exceeded, is this celebrated and rewarded? Employee of the month may sound corny, but recognition goes a long way.
Lead by example
How is your own productivity? Do you take long lunches but stay late? Is it frowned upon to leave before management? (This kind of behaviour breeds presenteeism.) Or do you lead by example with sticking to working hours and making the most of your time?
Also, unless you can create next level loyalty, your employees will not follow you into burnout if you insist on 90hour weeks for yourself, as it’s not their business. By the way, I would not recommend this for yourself or your employees.
Giving your employees the tools to be more productive
Training incl. time management training
Do you provide all the necessary training for your employees to do their jobs to the best of their abilities? Do you provide continuing training such as time management, communication, and other soft skills?
Best possible technology
Are your employees equipped with the best possible equipment? Outdated technology (laptops, phones, etc.) is a key factor for low productivity.
Proven processes and workflows in place
Do you have documented best practice processes, workflows and checklists that employees can follow? Are they regularly updated with employee input? Employees find shortcuts all the time, reward them for positive suggestions that make it into the handbook.
Give them more responsibilities with decision making
Can you increase your employees’ responsibility with regards to decision making? If they have to ask a manager for every decision to be made, this will slow everything down. Resolving this will also lighten the managers’ load, who in turn will get more done.
Support your employees with regards to physical and mental health
Do you have a good wellness programme in place? Skimping on this or simply having a token webinar once a year is saving money in the wrong place. Why should employees care about increasing their work if you don’t care about their wellbeing?
Putting the right rules in place
No personal mobiles during working hours
Do you have policies for private mobile phone use? Are you expecting your employees to use their private mobile phones for business? Then don’t be surprised if they use their mobile phones when they’re meant to be working.
Encourage punctuality at both ends
We expect staff to turn up on time. But what about when it’s time to go home? Encouraging your employees to go home on time will inspire them to get the work done during working hours.
Too many rules that make no sense
Are you micromanaging your staff, such as telling office-based staff what to wear? If you insist on smart dress for customer contact, do office staff need to follow suit? Studies have shown that productivity increases when people feel comfortable. What other unnecessary rules are there that could be scrapped?
Only hold necessary meetings
Can you cut down the number of meetings you’re holding in your company? Here are some questions to see if the meeting is necessary (whether the meeting is online or offline):
Can the meeting be replaced with an email?
Does everyone need to attend who is currently on the list to attend? (Think of the cost per hour for each employee attending.)
Is the meeting necessary to brainstorm ideas or vote on decisions?
Does the meeting have a clear desired outcome?
Is there a clear agenda?
If the meeting is necessary, can it be (much) shorter? Not every meeting needs to be an hour long.
How I can help
I’m very aware that some of these questions are very blunt but when it comes to running your team more efficiently it is important to check everyone’s ego at the door. If some rules and regulations only exist to make management feel in control, they serve no one. Trust and good relationships go a long way, so it is important to involve everyone in the team to agree on rules, regulations and expectation.
I run highly personalised group workshops that are proven to increase team productivity. Finding the right techniques that work for each individual is important for overall success. Get in touch to find out more. You can email me at email@example.com or contact me via LinkedIn.