We sometimes find ourselves in situations with too much work and little time to do. As a leader, you may have learned how to plan, streamline and prioritise work. However, it turned out that it wasn't enough. You have a team you have to work with productively.
According to a survey by CareerBuilder, about 75% of employers say that more than two hours of efficient work are lost each day. But it's not apparent what killed productivity. So, what is the right strategy to boost team productivity without burnout?
What causes poor team productivity?
Before jumping into strategy, let's get into the depths of something that will be useful to the team. To understand how to build productivity, let's learn what causes poor productivity. Workplace productivity can sink for a variety of reasons, with the most common reasons:
- Too many distractions
- Low motivation and morale
- Poor management procedures
- Bad internal communication
- Inadequate tools
- Lack of development opportunities
15 Strategies to Boost Team Productivity
Now, without further ado, let's discuss the right strategies to increase team productivity.
1. Proper communication
First thing first, communication is a crucial way to increase productivity. As a leader, you must be a listener to your team. Make sure they feel comfortable talking about their problems. Practice open and transparent communication between members and encourage them to share ideas and thoughts. Try some of these tricks:
- Practice listening and showing empathy when they tell stories. Remember, communication is a two-way process. Listening to and being concerned with their problems shows that you respect them.
- Keep everyone in the loop. Teams feel motivated when the leader keeps them up-to-date with the project. This is even more important when it comes to remote workers.
2. Lead by example
Get your own house in order (if it's not already) and exhibit good time management practice yourself, says Saunders. If you want team members to perform tasks like coming to the office early, you have to do the same. When led by example, the team will follow you because you are the benchmark for their productivity. A leader must inspire others, right?
3. Identify team strengths and weaknesses
Finding the weaknesses and strengths of a person is not an easy thing. It takes time. But that doesn't mean it's impossible. As a leader, you must be able to explore and discover the team's skills. This process makes it easier when delegating responsibilities. In addition, you can also begin to identify which ones have leadership skills to be your successors.
Once you have insight into your team's strengths and weaknesses, the next step is to harness them to increase productivity.
4. Set and track attainable goals
Working without a goal is like running without direction. You won't know when to stop or pick up speed. Therefore, it is vital to keep the goals attainable. Set goals and consider the team's capacity to execute them but don't forget to track the progress.
5. Give and receive feedback
The culture of providing constructive and meaningful feedback in a team is a provision to be more productive. Start by asking about the challenges faced by the team. Then also ask how you can help them to slice their time effectively. Don't hesitate to ask for details regarding the following:
- How's work lately? Has there been any progress on the job?
- Is the workload still achievable?
This process will help the team better understand what they are working on and help motivate them. You can hold feedback events regularly. If you use the Scrum framework, the feedback is generally in the Scrum Retrospective.
6. Provide the right tools
Efficiently working is one of the keys to being productive. One way to work efficiently is by using the right tools. You can try a variety of various time management tools if you want to manage your time usage.
A little advice, use an all-in-one project management platform that can support the communication to the technical process. You can eliminate switching back and forth between apps by affording you multiple features on one platform.
7. Bring a positive environment to the workplace
Have you ever imagined being in a room with a team that is in conflict? Uncomfortable, right?
Each member must have a good working relationship to avoid this situation. Conflicts or tension will affect the entire team and hinder performance. Create a positive and supportive work culture so the team feels connected to the same vision. Some tips that you can apply to build a positive environment:
- Chit-chat after work while drinking coffee or tea in a cafe
- Create a community with a team of similar interests
8. Reevaluate meeting needs and expectations
Meetings are activities that take up much time and thoughts. In some cases, meetings are like a culture that is hard to erase, even though it doesn't have a clear target. This will affect the team's productivity.
From now on, reevaluate the needs and expectations of the meeting. Do a simple checklist, such as: “Is this engagement the best use of its participants' time now?”
If the answer is no, the meeting can replace it with several alternatives, such as daily stand-up. But when the answer is yes, you as a leader must use time effectively for meetings.
9. Encourage ‘switching off’
We are sometimes enthusiastic about a project and stay late to finish it. Sometimes people bring the work home, so they can't enjoy precious time for themselves and their families. This can cause overanxiety which, in turn, leads to burnout. So that psychological health is disturbed, and it isn't easy to be productive.
One of the responsibilities of a leader is to be a buffer for the team from unrealistic goals. For example, you advise them to switch off notifications after work hours, especially during weekends.
10. Celebrate team wins and failures
Don't just celebrate victories but you should also celebrate failures. Compliment the team's accomplishments specifically not just, “congrats! good job, team!” But did they beat the deadline? Or achieve the target? Praise them appropriately for their accomplishments.
Then how do you praise the team's failure? Try to say:
- “You are great for taking this risk!”
- “It’s okay. Better luck next time!”
- “We can beat it next time.”
Make them realise that failure is an opportunity to learn, grow and develop into better individuals. Create an environment where it's okay to take big risks and fail.
11. Clarify each person's role
Everyone on the team must know their roles. When they clearly understand their roles, they overlap less and are more productive. They know that their skills are needed to complete this project.
12. Team building exercise
Believe it or not, productivity depends on the friendship between team members. The workplace becomes happier if teams are cohesive and aware of their strengths and weaknesses.
However, it requires effort not only from the leader but also from the members to make the team more cohesive, one of which is by team building activities together, such as:
- Games that build cohesiveness
- Team gathering
13. Allow the team to own the work they do
Giving more autonomy to decide their work style will boost productivity. It shows the increased level of trust. Creativity is also growing, so ideas will continue to grow. This strategy also helps the team to determine when their focus hours are.
14. Provide learning opportunities
Allow team members to learn and develop more. The learning process will make them more professional. Therefore, they can bring better results.
Offer the team to take an online or practical course on something they are interested in such as social media or advertising. Or you can allow them to choose their course. It will enable them to explore their potential.
15. Plan your upcoming tasks
Almost all of us don't like things getting out of control. The leader and team must plan and manage all tasks using. Besides avoiding miss-deadlines, this process makes it easier for you and your team to choose the job's priority.
But how do we get people to be more productive?
All the tips and strategies above do not guarantee that the team will immediately be more productive. One of the keys to making any process successful is to turn it into a habit. Yep, habits are the key to productivity.
Everyone has a different way of working. But regardless of work style, the effect is good for the company and the team if productivity increases. With consistency, teams can work together with less effort. First of all, we have to create new habits, and that's hard. However, complicated doesn't mean impossible, right? Now, try to implement those strategies above in your team and see the result!