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Via Business : How to Increase Productivity at Your Workplace

By implementing these 9 changes, your business can improve employee productivity.

People usually have a dedicated workspace or office because they find they work much more efficiently without the distractions of home. In some circumstances, it also allows for a better work/life balance, as the home is for family life and downtime, whereas the office is purely a place for work. Working from home can often blur these lines.

Office spaces can – and ideally should – be crafted to improve the productivity of each individual employee, by designing the workplace better. An article in Inc. mentions that practical office design solutions tend to help workers focus more.

However, functional design is only one-half of the equation. Businesses also need to include a methodology for helping workers find mental peace. The modern world is increasingly hectic, and workers that have their minds focused on other things can’t function at peak performance levels. Companies can incorporate several things, both in their design, and to promote positive office culture, to help their employees enjoy their jobs. Here we explore some of the measures that businesses can put in place to help their employees be more productive.

Build off the company’s mission

A mission statement, as Shopify informs us, is a pure expression of a company’s existence. The business’s purpose, however, doesn’t always translate well to the employee’s goal of doing his or her job. By incorporating the company’s mission into the everyday workings of an office, a business can promote its reason for existing alongside what it needs from its hires. Harvard Business Review notes that when employees have a sense of purpose, they are usually far more productive. Individual goals tend to allow for more self-motivation in getting work done.

Incorporate individual and collective achievements

Employees are individuals, but most companies seem to overlook this fact. As a business grows, it’s unlikely that individuals remain working by themselves. When projects scale up, work teams need to do the same to cope with the workload. As the company has already given employees their own sense of purpose, the next step is to bring individuals together to provide a working environment that focuses on the overall goals of the business. However, these goals also help individuals pinpoint the targets they need to achieve from a specific project.

Collective achievements can only be obtained if everyone is mature in how they approach the project. A company that’s operating on a team-based system needs to have project planning in place so that everyone is aware of what others are doing. Alongside project planning, weekly meetings that help employees pinpoint their short-term goals can keep the system moving and offer milestones that motivate employees. Finally, feedback among team members is essential. The marketing agency Distilled mentions that it considers feedback to be the most critical factor in creating a good team. Without proper feedback, communication suffers and causes the entire team to fail.

Include psychological cues to boost work productivity

Psychology has shown several ways in which the things that surround an employee could affect his or her mental state. To this end, a business could consider using these psychological cues to help employees increase their focus. Among the elements that a company can incorporate include:

  • Music. A study in the Journal of Consumer Research mentioned that music at around 60-70 decibels created a more conducive environment for people working on both monotonous and creative tasks.
  • Plants. The New University of Technology Sydney stated that plants may have a beneficial effect on the mental state of employees within an office environment.
  • Lighting. Interior lighting can have a significant effect on the mood of individuals within an office space, according to designer Stanley Felderman, as quoted in a blog post for The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Kenan-Flagler Business School.

Change the background a bit

Office work can be dreary. It doesn’t matter if you’re working out of a cubicle, or have an office rental in Sydney, eventually changing the scenery is necessary to get productivity to its peak level. Changing landscape doesn’t necessarily mean offering an employee a chance to work from home for one or two days. It can be achieved by making the break more inviting or by creating “living nooks” around the office that offer something better than a desk and chair to get work done on. Some employees are far better at working on a couch than in a cubicle.

Encourage employees to help each other

Human beings are social animals, and ever since they existed in tribes, the natural inclination is towards helping others. Proof Hub notes that collaboration helps to make a company more efficient and gives a more equitable distribution of work across all segments. Collaboration takes multiple methodologies, including brainstorming, cross-document collaboration, or picking up projects where other employees get stranded. Additionally, this sort of partnership fosters teamwork and a more united attitude towards the job.

Offer workers the tools they require

Modern workplaces can provide a wide array of the necessary equipment to get work done. Software is a prominent part of this structure. Most companies have an inventory of computers that are loaded with the software they want their employees to use. Keeping these assets up to date ensures that employees can get the job done when they need to. Updating hardware and software also means ensuring that these updates are timely.

It can be tempting to give employees more software than they need on a system, especially if the employee is a multi-tasker. Instead of it helping the situation, it could lead to the employee getting sidetracked on jobs and responsibilities that are not theirs. Keeping workstations focused can help to keep employees fixed on a project as well.

Don’t forget to take a timeout

Business Insider mentioned that breaks fuel better productivity in employees. The tipping point, according to work done by the Draugiem Group, is around 52 minutes of work to 17 minutes of rest time. The most critical element mentioned in the study was that these 17 minutes needed to be spent away from the computer for it to have a better effect on the employee. Relocating to a new room or a water cooler would be an ideal method for implementing these breaks. To keep fit and help to exercise some muscles, employees could consider taking that 17-minute break to stretch a bit.

Make achievements public and celebrate them

While some employees aren’t a fan of having their work celebrated, doing so helps them to see that their work is appreciated. The Houston Chronicle recommends developing an employee recognition program that outlines the benefits the employee has presented to the company. Celebrating achievements offers employees the chance to enjoy the fruits of their labor in the short term. The achievement might not be an essential goal, but it does constitute a milestone. It is important to remember that this celebration needs to be genuine, or else the feeling it gives to an employee could be compromised by the sense of insincerity.

Appreciation is the key to productivity

A productive office doesn’t need a lot to maintain its efficiency. The workers are a competent bunch, and with the right incentives and celebration of their successes, the company culture can fuel even higher productivity. Office design contributes to the overall productivity of employees, but companies shouldn’t spend too much time focusing on the physical aspects of their business’s layout. Instead, focus on the creation of a company culture that welcomes all, and celebrates them as people and individuals, not just as cogs within a machine.

Via The Ladders : The truth about teamwork in the workplace

There’s a problem with teamwork and collaboration in the workplace.

Teamwork is supposed to encourage an environment where difficult tasks can be tackled through a collaborative effort. The function of teamwork essentially promotes workers to be open and solve problems together, breaking creative barriers with other employees based on each other’s strengths and weaknesses.

However, that’s not always the case.

Nearly 50% of employees who’ve worked in large teams admitted that it’s difficult due to different working styles, according to new research.

A survey conducted by Reflektive, a performance management platform, found that teamwork is the thorn in US workers’ side, with 46% saying they found it hard to contribute in a meaningful way with larger teams.

The study, which interviewed more than 1,000 US employees, found that more than a third of employees said alignment is the biggest challenge to successful business execution, meaning companies aren’t investing the right amount of time and resources to encourage collaboration.

“Business success today hinges on employees’ ability to work together in teams,” Reflektive CEO Greg Brown said in a statement. “And teams work best when their members and efforts are aligned. But without the proper tools, open communication, and goal visibility, it’s hard for teams to get and stay on the same page, track business progress and achieve optimal business outcomes.”

One expert recently said the four drivers for successful teamwork are open communication, respect, commitment, and adaptability. When a business instills those pillars, possibilities are endless — or so it seems.

How today’s workforce operates

While most respondents said they’ve worked in teams, a number of them said it wasn’t just with people from their own department.

Eighty-one percent of survey respondents said their workplaces try to frequently work as a team, with 69% claiming their companies push company-wide goal alignment as being a key to success.

Cross-functional alignment is when everyone that works in the company knows and understands the company’s initiative and all resources are behind them. Brown told Ladders it’s a collaborative effort that can be very beneficial to companies.

“Its impact on employee productivity and engagement is significant,” Brown said.

While more than 35% of survey respondents said alignment is the biggest challenge to successful business execution, nailing alignment has its benefits. If companies invest time and resources to enable collaboration, it can lead to a more productive, effective, and engaging workplace, especially when it’s cross-functional alignment plus it had more than half of respondents (56%) excited to learn about a new team project via cross-functional alignment.

There’s also another benefit to cross-functional alignment.

“Employees in teamwork-driven organizations — or companies that promote and enable cross-functional collaboration — are almost 1.5x more likely to recommend their company to friends and family,” said Brown. “This is huge for a company’s employer brand.”

The secret is…

The best way to get the most out of your team is by providing them with feedback.

The survey found that feedback is an important part of team communication because improved team communication can enable improvement, retention, and stronger performance, according to the survey.

One expert said there are several ways to deliver constructive feedback, but one of the most important ways is to be clear and concise. Managers should find a way to humanize the conversation, which means be open to the other person and realize something externally could be impacting their overall performance. Managers could also avoid extremes like being too blunt or delicate.

Some ways to deliver constructive feedback comes by making it clear and concise. Managers should also humanize the conversation, which means we should consider the other person’s feelings and if there’s something extern impacting their overall performance. Other ways are to avoid extremes like being too blunt or delicate.

“Something managers can do to inspire their teams is to help define the outcome and what success looks like,” Brown said. “They should identify the ideal end state but give the team autonomy on how they want to get there. This helps the team feel they have more ownership of their work.”

Seventy-four percent of respondents agreed that teams that perform well share constructive feedback and commit to improvement, while 72% said constructive feedback helps their team execute on its business strategy more effectively.

While feedback can benefit in the short-term, it also has a positive effect on the future.

Researchers said employees who believe their companies are able to deliver feedback and goal-setting are nearly three times more likely to work at a company two years in the future.

Via SMARP : Leadership Communication: How to Build Trust in the Workplace

Effective leadership communication is one of the biggest drivers of company success. Leaders are the ones responsible for building trust within organizations and, therefore, improving employee engagement and experience.

What Is Leadership Communication?

Leadership communication is transfer of information, data and knowledge by which leaders are influencing their colleagues, teams or entire organization.

Good leadership communication involves understanding people and their styles, understanding culture, being well informed, holding meetings and driving organizational alignment.

The Importance of Leadership Communication

Communication is one of the most important skills a leader can have. If a leader is incapable of communicating with his or her peers, company’s overall strategy, mission and goals may never be achieved.

Great leaders need to be good communicators because they have the responsibility to drive efficient communication among all the members of the organization.

For someone to become a good leader it takes constant improvement of many communication forms, such as: non-verbal communication, listening, counselling, speaking, writing, etc.

Barriers to Effective Leadership Communication

It is not easy to achieve effective leadership communication. That is especially true within large corporations with employees across the world.

Here are some of the main barriers to effective leadership communication.

Lack of trust

Trust is the foundation of any successful relationship, both personal and professional, and when it’s broken, it is extremely hard to repair.

Therefore, one of the main goals of corporate leaders is to build trust within their organizations.

One the other side, the 2016 Edelman Trust Barometer showed in a survey of 33,000 individuals in 28 countries that almost 1 in 3 employees don’t trust their employers.

Effective leadership communication is the best way for leaders to build trust with employees.

Lack of clarity

Being too ambiguous is one of the biggest barriers to effective leadership communication. Leaders who are unable to express themselves with clarity and precision, struggle to motivate their teams and keep them engaged.

Lack of transparency

50% of employees say that a lack of transparency holds their company back. Therefore, effective leadership communication should strive towards embedding workplace transparency into the corporate culture.

They should share company news including milestones, events, personnel changes, innovations and even challenges. However, this is not easy to do while avoiding overload of irrelevant information.

Overload of irrelevant communication

Not every employee should get all the information about the company. Some information is simply not relevant to certain employees.

Too much irrelevant information often leads to employee frustration and decrease in productivity.

On the other side, being able to filter information and communicate it efficiently is not easy without the right tools.

Wrong communication technology

Some businesses are still using outdated communication tools. In addition, many organizations use multiple internal communication and document sharing tools.

Today, leaders need modern internal communications solutions that enable both leaders and employees to communicate efficiently and have an easy access to all important information.

Most emails that employees receive don’t deserve their immediate attention. For that reason, it is common for employees to miss out on important information.

9 Ways to Build Trust with Effective Leadership Communication

Poor leadership communication is often the biggest reason for lack of trust within organizations.

Here is what you can do to make your company and leadership communications more trustworthy.

1. Be transparent

Strong leaders are transparent in their communications. Employees need for CEOs to improve trust by behaving in a transparent manner, treating employees well, and taking responsible actions to address issues or crises.

Luckily, organizations can easily get access to new internal communication technologies that can be used to increase transparency across organizations, locations and systems.

2. Be specific

Being clear and specific is crucial for effective leadership communication. Make sure you are as specific and as clear as possible. Leaders who are able to communicate with clarity and conciseness are much better in avoiding confusion or misunderstanding in the future.

Moreover, 71% of employees believe that their leaders do not spend enough time communicating goals and plans.

3. Listen and support two-way communication

The imperative of every strong leadership communication is the ability for leaders to create a safe space for open dialogue. When employees are talking to you, make sure you are listening. This type of engagement establishes a meaningful trust and respect between leaders and employees.

Listening means nothing if you are not encouraging two-way communication. Millennials and younger generations want to be able to express themselves and share their ideas with others.

4. Give feedback

Leaders should strive towards giving meaningful feedback to their employees and feedback is essential for building trust in the workplace.

For example, if you are expecting your employees to adopt certain new behaviors related to culture transformation, they you get feedback and recognition for embedding the new behaviors.

This approach will help employees to develop a trusting and authentic workplace relationship.

Consider introducing communication tools that encourage feedback and employee communication in an instant way.

Asking for feedback, on the other side, can be tricky. The damage happens when a leader asks for feedback and then either does nothing to improve him or herself or attempts to identify the source of criticism and punish it.

5. Make important information easily accessible

Today’s workforce expects information to be easily accessible and found. Whatever leadership communicates, this information should be at employees’ fingertips whenever they need it.

Many organizations today use numerous tools such as Slack, Microsoft Teams, Yammer, Jive Sharepoint, Facebook Workplace, intranets, Social Media platforms and many other tools to share and deliver important information.

Now, the focus should be to have the content from all these platforms in a single place.

If information can not be easily found, it will get lost. In order to make sure that employees stay engaged and informed, leaders need to make sure to provide efficient communication tools.

6. Choose the right communication technology

Modern communication tools like Smarp enable leaders to deliver relevant information to their employees. On the other side, they enable employees to easily access important information from anywhere.

When choosing a communication tool to improve leadership communication, have your employees in mind. Millennials in the workplace and used to accessing everything on their phones, so should your communication solution be mobile-first.

Employers that don’t understand how social enterprise tools work, fall behind in efficient internal communications. Leaders must be aware of how these tools are transforming cultures, employee behaviors and supporting teamwork and collaboration.

7. Be personal

The most effective leadership communications are those that connect with the audience. The more personal and engaging your conversation with employees is, the better.

Communicating on a deeper level helps displaying a strong level of authenticity and transparency that establishes a sense of trust between a leader and an employee.

8. Measure trustworthiness

Leaders, with the help of HR professionals can create a greater awareness of trust issues. In the near future, we may see organizations measure trustworthiness as they now assess engagement. Such a metric would give companies an advance warning system for problems.

9. Measure engagement

Can you measure the performance of your internal communications messages? Can you measure what type of content triggers employee interest?

Internal communications play a big role in driving employee engagement. However, they need to be able to measure what drives engagement.

Sending internal newsletter that no one reads makes no sense. Therefore, you should measure and test both the content and channels that employees prefer to communicate internally.

8 Consequences of Poor Leadership Communication

Poor leadership communication and lack of trust within organizations have a very negative impact on employee engagement, and therefore, business performance.

Below are just a few consequences of poor leadership communication:

1. Decrease in employee engagement

Engagement starts at the top, where the culture of the organization is formed. Since lack of communication is one of the main reasons why employees are disengaged, leaders now must build a solid foundation where employee engagement can thrive.

Remember, leadership engagement equals employee engagement.

2. Decrease in employee motivation

85% of employees said they’re most motivated when management and leadership offer regular updates on company news. Employee awareness of company goals and challenges accompanied by a clear definition of their role, leads to increase in employee motivation.

3. Lower employee productivity

Employee engagement is one of the top drivers of business growth. In fact, companies that have highly effective internal leadership communications had 47% higher total returns to stakeholders.

When the employees buy into the company’s goals and consider them their own, they are more likely to achieve their own goals.

4. Increased employee turnover

Lack of trust and poor communication are some of the biggest reasons why employees leave their companies.

Moreover, 81% of employees say that they would rather choose a company that encourages open communication than a company that has good perks such as health plans, free food and gym memberships.

5. Harder employee attraction

An Atlassian survey demonstrated that 87% of people want to work for transparent companies. The more trust and transparency leaders manage to embed into company values and culture, the easier it gets to attract and retain talent within companies.

6. Poor reputation as employer

In addition to lack of engagement, morale and employee retention, John Blakey, the author of The Trusted Executive, says that the lack of trust within organizations can harm the overall company’s long-term reputation.

7. Inefficient change management

According to research, two thirds of employees don’t receive sufficient information during corporate change. On the other side, effective change management is crucial for business success and employee engagement during the change processes.

Communicating changes within organization is leaders’ homework, and the only way to be successful in doing so by improving leadership communication.

According to research, companies with effective change and communication are 3.5 times more likely to outperform their peers.

8. Higher financial losses

Poor leadership communication also results in higher efficiencies and financial loss.

A survey of 400 companies with 100,000 employees each cited an average loss per company of $62.4 million per year because of inadequate communication to and between employees.

In addition, a business with 100 employees spends an average downtime of 17 hours a week clarifying communication, translating to an annual cost of $528,443.

Via Verdict : Productivity drain: 60% of work is about work, survey finds

From email to spreadsheets, there are many ways in which technology has made our working lives easier. But new research suggests that technology doesn’t always mean that we are working smarter, resulting in a drain on workplace productivity.

A survey of more than 10,000 office workers across the UK, US, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and Germany found that more than 60% of their time is spent doing work about their work. That includes searching emails, talking about projects and sitting in meetings.

This means that just 27% of knowledge workers’ time is spent doing the job they were actually hired to do – a huge drain on workplace productivity.

The survey, published by work management platform Asana, highlights a problem unique to the knowledge economy, an economic model where growth is tied to the quality and quantity of information – rather than the means of production.

Duplicated work drains workplace productivity

Paradoxically, despite workers being better connected than any time in history, a large chunk is of work is being accidentally duplicated. Globally, each worker wastes 4 hours and 38 minutes per week doing work that’s already been done.

Contrary to Germany’s reputation as being highly efficient, the survey showed its workers spent the most time on average doing duplicate work – five hours and nine minutes per week, or 270 hours per year.

In the UK, five hours and five minutes per week spent doing work that has already been done, or 30 days per year.

And around the world, respondents said that two-thirds of meetings are unnecessary and a waste of time and a further drain on productivity.

Technology has made it easier than ever to work remotely and at any time of day, but that has resulted in 30% of workers often or always working lake. That’s despite research suggesting the ‘always on’ work culture of checking ‘one more email’ has been shown to negatively impact worker’s health.

“Despite having more ways to communicate and collaborate than ever before, the majority of teams are still turning to antiquated tools like email and spreadsheets that were never designed to synchronise work,” said Dustin Moskovitz, CEO of Asana.

“As a result, they’re spending more time managing the chaos of coordination rather than on the actual job they’ve been hired to do. We believe this represents a tremendous opportunity for teams to streamline their processes and better orchestrate their work — ultimately giving them valuable time back in their day to focus on what matters most.”

Via Thrive Global : 5 Tips for Fostering Effective Communication in the Workplace

Effective communication is necessary to get the job done and keep employees happy. How does one go about it?

For a workplace to be comfortable and productive, effective communication needs to be a priority.

But this is one aspect of corporate life that can often fall through the cracks—if work is getting done, why does HR or higher management have to concern themselves with how people are communicating with each other?

This attitude is erroneous, to say the least. If this is part of your strategy, your business plan template needs to be updated.

In the current climate, when there are so many companies outsourcing work to other countries, or liaising with remote teams, communication is more necessary than ever.

How can companies ensure that their communication techniques are top notch at all times? Here are five tips that should help.

Clearly Communicated Goals

Goal-setting is crucial in any organisation—this would have been studied when an entrepreneur learned how to start an SEO agency and during the process of setting up the company.

And these goals need to be communicated to all teams and employees. Because, if there is one thing that can cause strife and disharmony in an organisation, it is a lack of defined goals.

This is something that can create a great deal of animosity between co-workers, leading people to accidentally overlap in their operations, and feel like due credit is being taken away from them.

Communicating goals needs to start from the top. C-level executives need to determine their goals and share it with the managerial level.

Managers then need to share these goals with their teams. It is important not to be overly broad with the goals, nor too specific.

Remember that not all goals effect all employees—overburdening people with information that has nothing to do with them will make the work environment less productive.

Undertake sessions in link building training or landing page optimization so your employees are all aligned with the team and company goals.

It is up to the manager to understand what goals need to be defined for their team and how to ensure that everyone is clear about what they need to do.

Two-Way Communication

The importance of two-way communication cannot be stressed enough. Whether it is with regard to goal-setting or understanding the project life cycle, communication cannot be one way.

As much as managers want to tell their teams what to do and how to do it—either because they have more information or more experience in the matter—listening to team members is essential for a healthy and productive work environment.

Managers should aim to hold one-on-one meetings with each team member—but one doesn’t need to hold them too often.

Conduct such meetings often enough so that the team knows that you are involved but not intrusive. Listen to what your team members have to say—get their feedback whenever possible.

It is important to note that employees are on the ground, dealing directly with certain matters such as finding the finding a WordPress backup service or how to optimize your Google My Business.

Their perspective is necessary to understand what is and isn’t working—especially because, as a manager, you may be more removed from a subject.

Talk to your team on a regular basis and learn from their experiences. Keep an open mind and ensure that you aren’t the only one talking. This will not foster a healthy work environment, and will lead to diminished productivity.

Team Meetings

While one-on-one meetings are important to understand what your team members are working on as individuals, you should also hold team meetings.

Team meetings are good for fostering a sense of community with your team—with people working separately, and sometimes remotely, teammates don’t always get to interact.

A team meeting is a great place for people to meet, or at least hear each other, so they can build a sense of camaraderie.

Plus, at team meetings, employees can share what they have been doing over the week or last two weeks—this helps people understand that they aren’t the only ones working. Everyone is busy!

Such meetings are also a great way to share new ideas, brainstorm, and to teach each other new tips and tricks regarding work-related tasks such as Facebook ad optimization.

And you will find that team meetings encourage employees to interact beyond the meeting room—you might just see them taking a short break later to talk about how to book cheap flights or the free courses they are undertaking.

All of which is necessary to foster a good work environment that will see more effective communication methods being undertaken.

Communication Tools

We have mentioned the popularity of remote teams which is what makes effective communication even more of a challenge now.

But there are ways to inculcate productive communication processes even when your team members aren’t all geographically located in the same place.

There are now a number of great communication tools—such as these Intercom alternatives or Slack competitors—that make it easier to message and chat with your team.

Though some tools may require a certain amount of monetary investment, it is well worth it if you can make communication in your workplace better and easier.

Target Your Audience

Target audiences have usually always been associated with marketing and advertising. But even within internal workplace communications one does have to keep the audience in mind.

We have mentioned how not all goals have to be shared with all teammates, and that goes for most internal communications.

Some of your team members may need to know about the new exit interview system, while others have nothing to do with it.

When you communicate with your team, it is important to remember who is involved in what activity and how it will affect them to know more or less.

Make Effective Communication a Priority

Communication within a workplace and a team will make all the difference between how an employee feels about their job and their team.

Effective communication methods can make the workplace a better place to function and improve productivity.

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