According to the Guardian, economists have at last discovered tangible scientific proof that suggests a direct correlation between happy employees and increased productivity.
In fact teams can clock up to about 12% enhanced productivity if the company is mindful of the needs and wants of the team members. In direct contrast, productivity may plummet by as much as 10% if the work environment is full of anxiety, stress and mistrust.
However happy employees are not necessarily idle employees. You do not need to go the Sir Richard Branson way and give your team members the authorization to take “unlimited vacation” if that is not the way you wish to operate.
A middle ground between dictatorship and total anarchy is not only possible but also highly recommended.
GENERAL PRODUCTIVITY TIPS AND STRATEGIES
It is imperative that a comprehensive piece on productivity take into account the latest trend of a virtual workforce. This blog is no exception. It will tackle general productivity tips followed by strategies especially relevant for virtual teams comprised of members spread across the globe.
- The first step towards a productive team lies in team selection. According to the seminal work of Rob Maher, when a team is hand-picked (or recruited) for a particular project, a lot of thought needs to go into the process. This is to not only ensure that all the skill requirements of the project are competently shouldered and filled by members but also to eliminate the need for mid-project recruitment. A stable team that is secure in the knowledge that it can see an endeavor to the very end generally outperforms one which is always apprehensive about its position, worth and team line up.
Click on the Download button to access a custom created cheat-sheet which will help you map the skills needed to potential team members from the selection pool.
- Once the right members have been assembled, it is time to lay down the ground rules and build trust. Most team leads and managers make the mistake of precluding nurturing from their approach. It is a concept not relegated to marketing campaigns. It is important to make the team members feel at home and valued. It is likely that they may not have worked with you or the others and thus establishing a comfortable dynamics is imperative to productivity and conflict resolution in future. Some actionable tips to accomplish this are:
– Soliciting opinion from the team members regarding the best way to improve productivity for the project in question.
– Establishing a culture of reward. This reward may or may not be monetary like a gift card. You can incorporate gamification in the form of auto-tweeting the profile of the most efficient team member as the “Contributor of the month” to applaud effort.
– Allowing the freedom to work from home or take leaves when there is the scope of doing so without hurting the project.
With innovation on your side, the sky is the limit.
- Productivity can also be bumped up by polishing and improving upon the skills required to carry the project to successful completion. If you make use of the worksheet offered, you can have a fair idea of the resource allocation to tasks and sub-tasks before assembling the actual team. This enables performance monitoring and subsequently investment in training to improve the know-how of individuals lagging behind in comparison to the rest of the group. Despite the preoccupation with psychological motivation on a global scale, sometimes hard skills and actual knowledge can step in to render team members more effective.
- Taking the practice of nurturing a step further, team leaders and managers can sometimes tap into esoteric learnings to boost productivity. It is proven scientific fact that certain arrangements of furniture or wall colors can feel restrictive to humans. There can be hindrance to the easy flow of energy and this is what contributes to an unhealthy, stifling atmosphere that benefits no one. In general light pastel colors, minimalistic design and spaced out desks are conducive to collaboration, quick thinking and better decision making. Common sense dictates that if employees like their working space, they are bound to spend more hours willingly and get a lot more done.
- Lastly technological housekeeping and proactive adoption of tools can improve team efficiency. Project management software solutions like Workzone are known to enhance productivity by 35% because among other features custom created, auto- emailed “To-Do” lists really help team management. Upgrading to the latest versions of in-office software and hardware is also recommended if the existing ones do not perform optimally.
SOME WISDOM FOR VIRTUAL TEAMS
Virtually or remote teams are just gaining popularity and the future may usher in the end of brick and mortar offices as we know them. These simple modifications to your daily interactions can help boost productivity even if your team members hail from different corners of the globe.
- Eliminate email discussions. Instead opt for once a week virtual meetings. A platform like Zoom or Go To Meeting is excellent. Generally virtual meeting tools integrate with Google Apps and the calendar can be synchronized to ensure nobody misses a collaboration session.
- If the project is process intensive, it really helps to create a repository or even a simple YouTube channel of screencasts to help remote team members understand exactly how to approach a situation or tackle a problem. The advantage such a database offers in terms of standardization far outweighs the investment of time needed.
- Streamlining of applications is another important step in the right direction. Remote teams tend to hoard apps. It is imperative that the members of a team use the same applications and do not slow down the processing power of their machines with useless junk.
Productivity is a vague and relative term. A team should always strive to hit its unique set of goals with time to spare and ensure that 80% of its efforts go into improving project processes instead of grappling with conflict resolution and other issues not directly relevant to the end game.
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Image credit: “Teamwork” by samuiblue