Via The Business Journals : 5 ways managers can fuel productivity in the workplace
Whether you’re working in HR or as a manager of a team, keeping up productivity levels is essential.
However, in an eye-opening TEDTalk titled “Why work doesn’t happen at work,” software engineer Jason Fried argues that the main barriers to productivity are the people who should be actively trying to improve it: managers.
Here are five reasons managers may be hindering productivity and how they can turn things around:
1. Eliminate excessive meetings
One of the biggest barriers to workplace productivity is a calendar full of meetings. We’ve all experienced that feeling when you leave a long meeting and your brain feels completely fried.
The fact is that meetings not only take away time, but they also deplete your employees’ decision-making and concentration power, making it harder to jump back into their regular tasks. In fact, a survey found that 45 percent of senior executives believe employees would be more productive if meetings were banned for at least one day a week.
While you can’t eliminate meetings altogether, it’s important that managers learn how to run each one effectively by carefully considering who should be included, keeping them to 30 to 45 minutes, keeping people on track, sharing an agenda in advance, and creating clear action steps for follow-up.
2. Cut down on stress
More and more companies are realizing the major impact that workplace stress can have on productivity. Looming deadlines and balancing work-life conflicts can lead to a lack of sleep, low fitness levels and, ultimately, a drastic decline in engagement and productivity.
A study by Willis Towers Watson found that out of respondents who were experiencing high stress levels, 57 percent claimed to be disengaged. Additionally, highly stressed employees were reported to take an average of 4.6 sick days per year as opposed to low-stress employees, who took only 2.6 days.
One of the most powerful solutions is to encourage more communication with managers. Every leader should be having regular one-on-ones with each report. This is the perfect time to check in and find out if there is anything causing stress in their employees’ work life or a personal issue that could be impacting their work.
Gallup found that only 15 percent of employees who do not meet with their manager regularly are engaged.
Employees don’t want to be treated simply as a source of revenue. This is reflected in the fact that a number of studies, including Google’s Project Oxygen, have found that the most highly rated leaders regularly express an interest in their team members’ well-being and development. The more you know about what’s causing stress in your team members’ work and personal lives, the better you’ll be able to help them overcome these barriers and become more engaged and productive.
3. Share productivity hacks
Sharing knowledge, especially about workplace hacks that will make your employees’ lives easier, should be a key part of your learning and development strategy. Google did this by leveraging its intelligent and diverse workforce to create an ecosystem of peer learning in which employees are encouraged to share knowledge on different topics with each other. This is how Googler Chade-Meng Tan was able to teach and share the benefits of mindfulness within the company.
Consider holding voluntary learning sessions where you share tips and new tools that will help employees organize their time efficiently, prioritize tasks, deal with stress, etc. Opening it up so that it’s not only managers but also peers who have the opportunity is a great way to tap into your wider knowledge base.
What’s more, Google found that even without teaching experience, these peer teachers were just as effective in training others.
4. Give feedback in real time
A major factor that surfaces in low productivity is lack of guidance. In fast-paced environments, it can be easy for employees to feel their manager doesn’t have the time to give them advice ad hoc.
Willis Towers Watson found that 37 percent of respondents felt their managers didn’t have time to deal with the people aspects of their job. If employees are left in the dark about their performance, they’ll simply move on to the next task and continue making the same mistakes until review time.
Sacrificing development in favor of other responsibilities is the No. 1 mistake managers can make. Encourage your managers to be available for feedback when your employees need it most. Investing in a feedback tool allows managers to answer feedback on the go via mobile and keeps feedback requests top of mind with notifications.
5. Recognize achievements
Of course, never forget the power of positive feedback. Though recognizing an employee’s achievements seems like a simple thing, according to Gallup, only one in three workers in the United States strongly agree that they’ve received recognition or praise in the past seven days.
The fact is that showing appreciation has an even deeper impact than your managers might expect. A study by Globoforce found that 82 percent of employees are motivated by recognition and 78 percent would even work harder if they were recognized and appreciated more.
In fact, another study found that 83 percent found recognition to be even more fulfilling than rewards or gifts.
Rather than simply telling managers to give more positive feedback, the most effective way to make sure employees receive the recognition they need is by infusing it into your culture. Here at Impraise, we have a ritual of setting aside time during our weekly all-hands meeting to recognize rockstar peers, managers or reports for great work or for taking the time to help out others.
via Dynamic Business : Increase Productivity In Three Easy Steps
Getting the most out of the work day is an important goal for most employees and organisations. Maintaining solid productivity levels is one of the most important factors in keeping a business profitable. Growth in productivity not only lowers costs, it permits sustainable growth and promotes efficiency. Improving productivity is not only favourable for businesses, it’s a vital step towards achieving manageable workloads and ensuring staff wellbeing.
While achieving productivity for both employee and employer can feel elusive at times, there are actually some quick and easy ways to optimise the workspace and encourage greater efficiency. Here are three:
TIP 1: TWO SCREENS ARE BETTER THAN ONE
Increasing your digital ‘desk’ space by introducing multiple monitors is a proven solution to boost productivity and maximise workflow. The benefit of working across two screens means work can be spread across monitors, allowing users to compare documents andeliminating the arduous ritual of clicking back and forth between windows. In fact, research shows the user-friendly nature of multi-screening significantly improves productivity. According to a survey by Jon Peddie Research, adding an extra monitor will increase productivity by 20-30% [i]. This is also supported by a Wall Street Journal report, which revealed people using a larger monitor could save two and a half hours per day.
TIP 2: CREATE A FLEXIBLE APPROACH TO WORKING
Bring your own device (BYOD) is a transformative IT trend that has been successful in improving workflow efficiencies and supporting more flexible work environments. Whether at home or in the office, BYOD allows for the different environments to share the same devices, which has an interesting flow-on effect. A Stamford University Study found at-home employees are actually more productive in total[ii]. Additionally, BYOD has another productivity benefit: using devices in the workplace that you’re comfortable with and that are suited to your needs allows greater freedom to get through work-related tasks. This is supported by a Forbes study indicating 49% of users say they are more productive using their own devices[iii], demonstrating that the more comfortable and familiar employees are with their devices, the more productive they will be.
TIP 3: WORK COMFORTABLY AND MORE PRODUCTIVELY
Fine-tuning a desk setup to be more ergonomic can help make work flow a lot smoother, consequently building productivity. Without ergonomic workspaces, staff are prone to placing strain on the body, repeating movements without proper support and making larger movements than necessary. In fact, studies show that injuries resulting from poor workplace ergonomics account for 34% of all lost workday injuries and illnesses. Overall, trying to complete tasks that are physically taxing impacts efficiency, so it’s a good start to set a work environment that avoids problems such as repetitive strain injury (RSI), back pain, or even fatigue. By creating a workplace designed for good posture, less exertion, fewer motions with better heights and reaches, productivity will naturally follow.
Productivity can be achieved through a number of methods, but making minor improvements to your surroundings can greatly influence overall productivity. Making the most of your time is critical to your wellbeing and success in the workplace, so allocating a little time to planning your space will guarantee a productive working culture.
via Inc.com : 9 workplace hacks to increase productivity and happiness (but most bosses don’t think of them)
Since people, culture, and productivity in the workplace are the little planets that revolve around my professional universe, I subscribe to and receive a ton of information, research, and product offers from companies that know what they’re talking about.
One of those companies is Sydney-based Redii–an employee recognition and reward software firm. Redii has put together an e-mail series of daily tips–from science and studies to real life examples–that help companies cultivate a greater workplace.
I’ve compiled a digest of their best stuff so far. Stay tuned for more Redii office hacks in the future.
Psychologist Ron Friedman, in his book The Best Place to Work, says that the presence of ample daylight and windows have a positive impact on people’s well-being. In fact, having a view of the outdoors has been shown to promote performance in the workplace. Employees who sit near a window are better at staying on task, show greater interest in their work and represent more loyalty to their company. According to HOK, a global design, architecture and engineering firm, better workplace lighting (both natural daylight and artificial light) has been linked to a 15 percent reduction in absenteeism in office environments. Other studies have reported productivity increases ranging from 2.8 to 20 percent attributed to optimum lighting levels.
Bring Your Pet to Work
According to The Balance, allowing pets in the office can boost a customer’s perception of the business. Most customers have a positive reaction when they are offered a chance to interact with an employee’s pet, and it can help them to relax and enjoy their visit to the business. Having pets in the office also tends to soften the company’s image and makes a business seem more progressive and forward thinking.
Listen to White Noise
Psychologist Ron Friedman cites studies revealing that sound can influence our performance in surprisingly powerful ways. Leaving the office not an option? A pair of headphones can do the trick. Websites like Coffitivity.com re-create the low hum of a cafe, cutting down on lost wages and lost productivity, which research suggests can provide a creative boost, while Simplynoise.com offers the constant swish of white noise to mask distractions when your work requires deep concentration.
Start an Office Fitness Program
One cost-benefit analysis of corporate gyms found they save $1.15 to $5.52 per dollar spent, according to research cited in Fit Over 40 for Dummies by Betsy Nagelsen McCormack and Mike Yorkey. Companies that instituted fitness programs experienced decreased absenteeism, lower turnover rates and reduced usage of sick leave, which saved money and increased productivity. And according to Rise, a Vancouver-based, HR technology company, several well-known companies are using FitBit’s wrist tracker technology for wellness initiatives that inspire competition and reward their most active employees. While dishing out $150 for a wristband for every employee may not be feasible for most companies, the main takeaway from using FitBit is to encourage small, fun contests with small, fun rewards
Spread Knowledge Inside Bathroom Stalls
Inside Google bathrooms, you’ll find weekly updated flyers at the back of stall doors with tips ranging from proper coding/testing practices to health tips. Different Googlers every week volunteer to write the publications, and more Googlers volunteer to distribute them in their own buildings. A quick read in the bathroom is a great way to learn snippets of knowledge. Seeing the same tips five days in a row also helps memory reenforcement.
Allow Employees Flexibility
According to the 2010 Workplace Flexibility in the U.S report, flexible work–allowing employees to work when, how and where they choose–boosts employee engagement. In fact, 60 percent of employees with high access to flexibility are very satisfied with their jobs, compared with 44 percent of those with moderate access to flexibility and only 22 percent of those with low access to flexibility.
Give Employees a Sense of Belonging
Studies are saying that what employees really want is the sense of belonging that connects them to something bigger and gives their work meaning and purpose. Leaders can tap into that intrinsic motivation by sharing information, discussing strategy and the future. Take HubSpot for example: They have elevated transparency to another level by using its internal wiki to openly publish sensitive information such as financials, board meeting decks, strategic discussions and much more. This idea builds trust and loyalty because employees are allowed to see who their company and its leaders truly are. They feel like they belong in the family.
Extend Goals to Include Work, Family, and Personal Life
A family business with over 25 years in the property and construction industry, Australia’s Cobild has an incredible culture. Coblid believes that there are three aspects to a person’s life–work life, family life, and personal life. At the beginning of every year the team is encouraged to plan out the year aligned with what they would like to achieve for the three areas of their life. The management then create an action plan and work together to hit those targets. In 2016, Cobild was one of 50 Best Places to Work for companies under 100 employees.
Implement Nap Time (Yes, I’m Serious)
Psychologist Ron Friedman, in The Best Place to Work, says 20-30 minute naps have been proven to boost productivity, increase alertness, quicken motor reflexes, raise accuracy, improve decision-making, enhance creativity, and bolster memory. Yahoo! and Time Warner outsource their napping to local spas that allow employees to recharge in private rooms, complete with aromatherapy and a selection of nature soundtracks. Zappos, Ben & Jerry’s, even Nike designate in-office “quiet rooms” for employees to sleep or meditate.
via Triple Pundit : Humanize the workplace to increase productivity
Most people can shrug off just about anything — regular workplace conflict, mandatory overtime, the ever-present threat of layoffs, narcissistic management — for a regular paycheck. When you think about it, it’s kind of amazing that humans can work alongside each other on a regular basis. A recent study found that a whopping 90 percent of office workers have experienced conflict with their co-workers. We might have different goals, visions for the future and personalities, but we still need to collaborate on a regular basis.
Still, there must be a way for leaders to foster corporate cultures where people actually enjoy working together. In other words, we must evolve rather than devolve.
In most offices, team meetings rapidly deteriorate into heated gripe sessions — everyone leaves demoralized and frustrated. Productivity spirals downward, and tensions make office dynamics and drama ugly. It might seem insurmountable, but a slight change in thinking can turn things around.
Flipping the script
When I first became CEO at the Global Accelerator Network, I made it my mission to buck the “negative meeting” trend. After quite a bit of experimenting and research, John Mackey at Whole Foods became my inspiration.
Mackey successfully changed the tone of his company’s meetings by asking employees to say something nice about every other person in the room. He called these “appreciations.” It was a novel concept, and I set out to see if it worked.
We instituted “Appreciation Mondays,” setting aside time after our weekly meetings to share positivity and gratitude. It felt unusual and a little touchy-feely at first, but it quickly had an incredible effect: Our team left the meetings buoyed and optimistic instead of drained and dispirited.
By showing a little gratitude to each other — a novel concept, I know — we started to see each other as human beings rather than work machines. Suddenly, we were prioritizing humanity in our office. Fortunately, this sort of paradigm shift isn’t overly difficult if you believe in the principles of responsible, respectful leadership.
Show your team some appreciation
Interested in bringing appreciation sessions to your office? At the end of each meeting, pick out a team member at random. Ask everyone in the room to share why they’re thankful for that specific person. Expect statements like “I really appreciate how you stepped in to help me when I was struggling,” and “I’m thankful for how you speak with clients because you’re so engaging and thoughtful.”
After the first round is done, pick another team member. Repeat the process until every person has been chosen. This activity takes a bit of time, so factor it in when you’re scheduling the meeting. For reference, my team of seven needs about 30 minutes to complete the weekly exercise.
It might sound simple, but appreciations have had a profound effect on our company. This routine has helped team members know exactly where they stand with their colleagues. It also helps us recognize our own strengths after hearing them confirmed repeatedly from trusted sources. Better yet, nobody feels the need to waste time talking himself up during meetings.
Remember basic physiology
In our office, we pay for everyone’s gym membership. Why? Because we’re all humans with the same needs. If you want to have a healthy work life, you need to have a healthy lifestyle outside the office.
Something as simple as promoting exercise or telling our colleagues we only want them to work 40 hours a week helps change everyone’s perspective for the better.
Choose your colleagues carefully
It’s interesting how many people forget about their friends after they get a taste of success. It’s important to surround yourself with people who have similar goals and values.
If your friends are obsessed with work and “maximizing potential output” (what are we, robots?), they won’t support you on your journey to rediscover the appeal of humanity. Water seeks its own level, and surrounding yourself with similarly motivated individuals can help push you to stay true to your mission and ideals.
Ditch the concept of work-life balance
While plenty of people talk endlessly about achieving a perfect work-life balance, I don’t believe such a thing exists. Instead, I like to think of it as work-life trade-offs. Both work and home life have unlimited demands of our time. Trying to balance a desire to play with our kids against the need to complete an email for a customer creates unbearable tension.
Instead, I like to lean into the tension. I recognize whatever decision I make will always have some sort of pull in the opposite direction. We can’t shove both activities into the same time frame, so we instead must pick whichever option is more important at that given moment. This allows us to take ownership of our decisions and eliminate some of the anxiety that typically accompanies this sort of tradeoff.
The novelty of putting people first
Does the idea of a confident workplace chock full of happy, smiling employees sound about as realistic as a purple unicorn? Given the current business climate, perhaps.
It’s understandable if you’re dubious, but treating workers like actual human beings can have amazing outcomes. It isn’t a panacea for every issue, but it can help unite teams while promoting gratitude and loyalty. Co-workers might be willing to deal with quite a bit of nonsense to keep a job, but all the money in the world ultimately isn’t worth it if you hate it.
Would you rather be the final destination in someone’s career or a steppingstone along the way? Be the employer they want to work for by giving them the respect they deserve.
Via LinkedIn : Encouraging a team is very challenging. You have a variety of team members with multiple different skill-sets, talents and focuses. Each team member needs to be encouraged to see greater success, and, as a leader, it’s part of the protocol to get them excited about their role. It doesn’t matter if the team member is is seasoned of if they are a newbie, they all need to be directed and helped to see the best success, based on their ability.
Some pointers to keep your team motivated…
1. Encourage individually. Since each one is different, you must take them aside and help them one-on-one. They need you to have some times where all you do is build them up individually – nothing negative at all. Since each one is different, you have to be careful that you’re not discouraging in what you do to motivate them. One team member needed to have a time to just share, so I tried to let them. One person just needed to hear that they were making right decisions, so I told them so.
2. Encourage as a group. Careful here. Most teams don’t want to hear about the top performer all the time, and the top performer doesn’t like it either. The team needs to have a target that impacts them all, so they will rally together. Continually building one person up, in a group can really defeat the others on the team. The team needs to hear good from the top, so filter out as much negative as you can and listen to their concerns.
3. Learn your team. Don’t put them all in the same category. Understand their likes and dislikes, and use those to help motivate them forward. Know a bit about their family, their hobbies, their church, etc. That helps you motivate them better. If you know them individually, then you can encourage them individually. I had one manager that liked coffee creamer, so I found out her favorite kind and stocked the fridge. Another liked a specific kind of health bar, so I got him a bunch.
4. Focus on their weaknesses. Don’t be critical, or unkind, but help them to see how their weaknesses are impacting their role. This must be done and can be painful, but if it is ignored, then they can’t grow, and neither can your organization. Take the weakness and teach them how to turn that into a positive, or at least grow from it.
5. Focus on their Strengths. Make this the start and the end of the conversation, and make sure you help them see successes that their strengths have given them. Make a list of all the great things that your employee can do, and get them involved in ares they can do well. I have one manger under me who was good with spreadsheets, so I had them help me with spreadsheet projects. I had another that was a good teacher, so I had them come beside others and help.
6. Use a 2-1-2 plan. 2 Positives – 1 thing to work on (negative) – 2 more positives. You can use your own idea on this, but through many years of experience, the team member will still focus on the negative, but if you just bombard with negatives, it will never motivate to better performance. I’m not perfect at this, but it’s so important to help keep the positives high, because we humans focus so easily on the negative.
7. Team meetings are not number meetings. In sales, numbers are important to a manager, but the team cares more about their individual goal than the manager’s goal. It’s a harsh truth, but real. Have conversations with your team, not just quick lists. Sometimes you need to just talk with your team. You’ll be surprised how much better you can interact with them long term
8. Set a team goal. Not just numbers. Use productivity stats, or some other category that would keep the team motivated, and have some sort of simple reward. Team rewards cause the group to focus on their individual performance, and the company goals. I did this with a team of 4 managers, who managed 40 reps below them. Their compensation revolved around the impact of the entire 40, plus I added some smaller goal to hit, on different KPI’s.
9. Reward often. This might need to be number one. This doesn’t have to be in a compensation plan. It can be a candy bar, a cup of coffee, a note, an email, a “You’re #1” mug, or any other kind of simple thing, but do it regularly. Your team will be motivated, and you’ll impact the culture. Do you want your team excited to come to work with you? By giving little motivations along the way, you will create a team that wants to work for and with you.
10. Share your real feelings. A lot of leaders feel like they can’t be open or share themselves with their team. They look at it as weakness, but it’s not. It’s a time to remind your people that you are a human, just like them. Share some personal stories, some business failures, some life changing moments, and even some challenges in your role. They will connect with those things and open up to you. I’ve done this many times, and it creates relationships, not failures.
Keep your team a team, by taking time to impact them. use these ideas, and add to them.
What are some ways you motivate?