5 unusual ways to improve productivity without dividing your staff
No matter how lively and upbeat your working environment is, a drop in productivity is often inevitable. But as worker efficiency is something that is so crucial to a business’ growth, understandably it is also something that managers are keen to stay on top of.
We’ve talked about ways to boost productivity before, but this time we’re going to explore some of the more unusual methods that companies are using.
We spoke to a number of experts to bring you five weird and wonderful tips that you may not have ever considered before.
1. Take breaks
At first glance, the idea of taking breaks from work might seem counterproductive; how are you supposed to complete tasks if you are always away from your workstation? But your brain can’t work constantly, otherwise you’re just going to fight a losing battle and you’ll end up finding your productivity levels dropping instead.
You don’t even have to take breaks from your actual work. Simply switch tasks for 10 or 15 minutes, perhaps read an educational article or catch up on a little bit of admin that needs doing. You’re still using your time productively whilst simultaneously taking a breather from the task at hand.
Gina Hutchings, Account Manager at Receptional, explains how to use free time to your advantage:
“Taking breaks at regular intervals has always been debatable with regards to productivity. The truth is that some employees are just as productive with a screen break as those without; it can lie in their motivation. You don’t have to take extended breaks to reboot your cognitive energy. Sometimes it is just a matter of splitting up your work into chunks of separate tasks.
“A vital part of my role is allocating client time to my team per month. We try to mix up the clients the team works on so that we get fresh ideas and new perspectives on campaigns. The team are given the tasks and then divide the time as they see fit to suit deadlines. It means they are in charge of their workload and 99% of the time they choose to do different tasks in the morning than the afternoon. The team get a natural screen break without losing any working capacity.”
2. Start working different hours
People work in different ways. Some people find themselves to be more alert and productive in the morning, whilst others prefer to sleep a little later and find that their brain functions better in the afternoon. Because of this, more and more businesses are opening up to the concept of flexible working, and the benefits that it can bring.
Now flexitime isn’t something that should be jumped into immediately, and there are numerous pros and cons to consider. Managers should think carefully about how they can implement it to ensure that workflow, customers and staff aren’t adversely affected. But it can be done in a way that benefits everybody.
A common solution is to allow an hour and a half or two hours on either side of the usual start and end times. For example, if your normal hours are 9am to 5pm, you could allow people to clock in anytime between 7:30am and 10:30am, and finish at 3:30pm or 6:30pm. Employees get to pick their own hours to suit their schedule and productivity levels – giving them a better work-life balance and the option to get their work done when they’re naturally at their most productive.
3. Have a look around you
When was the last time your office had a makeover? Are your walls painted with bright and vibrant colours or plain creams and neutral shades of beige? Is it full of bright and natural light or fluorescent artificial light? Are there oxygenated plants bringing fresh air into every room? If you answered “no” to any of those questions, then it might be time to rethink your office decor.
We’ve already spoken at length about how the design of your office can make all the difference, covering everything from creating a more eco-friendly environment to the smell of your office.
There are plenty of ways to create a productive work environment. Bright colours such as green, blue, and even yellow can result in happier moods and more efficient staff. Smells such as lemon or orange can help people feel awake, pine can make you feel more focused on the task at hand, and cinnamon is good for your concentration levels.
Phil Foster, Managing Director of Love Energy Savings, says that it was this mentality that inspired the company’s own huge office revamp earlier this year:
“We moved offices earlier in 2016, and one of our top priorities was creating surroundings that felt both welcoming and friendly, but also an environment that helped to inspire and motivates. Our rooms are bright - no dark colours here - and we’ve decorated the walls with incredible murals chosen by our employees. It really adds that personal touch..
“We wanted to build a place where people wanted to come to work and somewhere they were proud of. People who feel good not only make the atmosphere more positive, but they also help to provide a better service to our customers.”
4. Stop saying yes
The notion of saying no to people might appear to be the opposite of what you should be doing. In the eyes of many people, productivity is all about appearing to be constantly busy with an endless to-do list. When in fact, going about your day in this way can actually have the opposite effect on your productivity levels. Have you ever heard of the term “busy fool”?
In order to produce work to a high standard, it’s essential that you don’t spread yourself too thin. If you keep committing to task after task, you’re going to be rushing to complete them. Focus on a few key tasks per day, and make them the best that they possibly can be. Remember it’s all about quality, rather than quantity.
Paul Sykes from PageGroup gives his advice:
“Always saying ‘yes’ and hoarding tasks they don’t have time to complete can cause workers to become overstretched and unable to complete key tasks. Don’t be afraid to say ‘no’ when work comes in and always ensure to delegate assignments where appropriate.”
5. Leave them to get on with it
As a manager or head of a team, it can be tempting to check in on your staff constantly to ensure they are doing their job, whether it’s by asking for a progress update or offering them help. But this can actually be counter-productive. It can be argued that one of the simplest, and indeed one of the most effective, ways to make your staff happier and more productive is to just let them get on with it.
People love to make progress. They love to learn and develop in their jobs, and the more they feel like they are achieving this, the happier they will be. And the happier they are, the more productive they will be.
Productivity can be difficult to influence directly. It’s not something you can always see, therefore it can be hard to control. But there are dozens of different ways to give it a boost. It’s all about finding a solution that works for both staff and the business.
What are some of your favourite ways to boost productivity? Share them with us below!
Love Energy Savings’ know that productivity is key to the success of any business, time is money after all. That is why we have developed a service where it takes mere seconds to see if you could save money on your business energy bills. Compare today and see how much you could save or call one of our energy experts today!