Everyone at work is always busy. You can't argue with that. What about scheduled meetings on the calendar? Not to mention tense colleagues scurrying around the office.
But what is the dry residue of this ebullient activity? Trying to get as much done as possible while packing your schedule to the brim doesn't mean you're more productive. But it can burn out quickly. True productivity means that everyone can act creatively, in their own unique style and with full intellectual commitment, while doing the work that really matters.
Individual employee habits affect work productivity, but this is just one variable in the equation. It is equally important to create a team culture conducive to productivity growth.
It doesn't matter if you are a manager or an employee, you can contribute to the formation of such a culture. This guide will help you.
What is workplace productivity?
Before we get into the details, let's define what workplace productivity is and what it isn't.
How can you tell if a team is productive? It's enough that it does its job. And not just does the job, but achieves the most important goals.
Another aspect of productivity is the efficiency with which you complete tasks. You got rid of bad habits associated with the organization of work and slowing you down.
This definition of workplace productivity now seems obvious, but consider how often you've seen the opposite scenario. Some teams find it hard to achieve big goals because they get bogged down in small things.
The Importance of Productivity in the Workplace
A culture of productivity in the workplace does more than just deliver on business goals. It is also an employee-friendly environment where everyone is interested in what they are doing. This gives the company good prospects.
Many of us understand that the higher the morale, the higher the productivity. Recall that we defined workplace productivity as the ability to do meaningful work. It turned out that this is one of the key factors of well-being. Researchers report that when we engage in activities that align with our values and allow us to perform at our best, we are more satisfied with our lives. Nine out of ten respondents say they are willing to work for less money if they can do more meaningful work.
We want to do something that makes sense. By increasing productivity, you give employees the opportunity to do more meaningful work. And this, in turn, motivates employees to stay with you. When they feel involved in the business and can develop, they often stay with the company for a long time. The team is doing their job. And not just does the job, but achieves the most important goals.
The opposite scenario is also true. A lot of employees are very tired and dissatisfied with the unimportant tasks that make up the work routine. The problem is not that you have to work hard. The problem is that this work does not seem to bring any benefit. Why is it needed? This is a question for employees.
This feeling is hard to deal with. Skepticism is one of the symptoms of burnout at work. Burnout nullifies retention efforts, and its victims spread negative sentiment in the team, which harms the entire company.
How do employees lose efficiency?
So why are so many teams unproductive? Why do employees stop performing effectively, get overtired, and finally burn out?
We are constantly interrupted. By some estimates, half of our working time is spent unproductively, being distracted by something.
As you might expect, many of the distractions come from technology in the workplace. According to one study, knowledge workers, on average, check their communications media (such as email) every six minutes.
But not everything can be blamed on technology. Most of us today work in open offices. 99% of employees in these offices find this style of work distracting. 40% of them report being distracted constantly or very often.
Whatever the sources, even a minor distraction always does more damage than it might seem. After all, it usually takes more than 23 minutes to focus again on your lesson.
- Context switching
Let's say you've been multitasking all morning. By noon, the flow of tasks has dried up, and you decide to take on an important project. You have time but run out of intellectual resources. You lost your mental strength in the morning, switching between tasks.
- Ineffective communication
Building a culture of productive work with full immersion in the process. Have you managed to look at the problem of unproductivity with different eyes? After all, you understand that something needs to change. Where to begin?
To answer this question, let's return to the definition of productivity given earlier: achieving the most important goals in an efficient way. The most important work often requires the most stress, but at the same time brings the most satisfaction. It requires more thinking, focus and analysis.
- Immersive environment
To be more productive, you need to free up time for immersive work. Try several strategies.
- Technology limitation
Let the team members not be distracted by the achievements of modern technologies. For example, set times when you should refrain from checking email (first hour of every workday, one evening a week, etc.).
- Seclusion time
The next step is to minimize the opportunity for colleagues to distract each other in an open office environment. Experts make the following recommendations.
-Set the rules. For example, earphones can mean "do not disturb".
-Designate calm, secluded areas in the office.
-Allow those who wish to work from home.
Improve your email habits
Experts advise developing guidelines for when (and when not) to use Reply All, Cc, and Bcc. This will reduce the number of messages in each employee's inbox.
Alternatively, you can use a collaborative space tool like Confluence to reduce email volume. With Confluence, you can centrally store any information in an organized way, and colleagues no longer have to send documents to each other. What's more, team members can co-edit pages instead of sharing edits and comments via email.
New approach to meetings
When a team spends more time in immersive work mode, it increases productivity in the here and now, and also lays the foundation for its growth in the future.
By working with immersion, you will achieve more important goals faster. You may doubt this if you are used to working in a place where multitasking and constant workload are a reason for pride. But trust us. The one who can focus on one thing, putting aside all others, works more efficiently.
The emphasis on immersive work has other benefits as well. This approach allows you to effectively use the abilities of team members, which is difficult to achieve with daily meetings and e-mails. Employees will improve their skills and knowledge. They will feel satisfaction from work, because they achieve significant results, learn new things and develop. This will raise the morale of the team, reduce the risk of burnout and staff turnover.
The described innovations can be a major change for the team and at first seem a little uncomfortable. However, they are well worth the benefit you get from the productivity gains you get from working with immersion.