12 Bite-Sized Tips to Increase Your Team’s Productivity

You at a crossroads – you seem to be doing all right as a manager, but your team is not on top of the performance scale. The pressure mounts as the deadlines approach, but the pile of work doesn’t seem to reduce. You might be facing a productivity crisis or just a temporary blues even the most amazing teams face encounter from time to time.

Here are 12 small, yet highly actionable tips to help you increase you team’s productivity and break the vicious cycle.

1. Embrace Walking Meetings

Get outside and talk things on the go. Walking meeting increase creativity and boost efficiency as your brain gets a healthy dose of oxygen. Besides, research proved that being around nature drastically reduces stress levels. Not to mention that sitting all day long is slowly killing you.  Here’s how you can do a walking meeting the right way.

2. Encourage Timely Breaks

You can either encourage everyone to use the Pomodoro technique and give out cute timers for each team member; or take advantage of the natural ultradian rhythm and offer your team to work in 90 minutes sprints and take longer breaks afterwards.

3. Set Communication Standards

Mindless emailing eats up a huge chunk of productivity time. Increase your teams autonomy and reduce the amount of approves a person needs to proceed with the task. Clearly outline the three big Ws of efficient communication: what information is always important to share; when should your team post updates; where this information and updates should be posted.

4. Don’t Micromanage

You’ve hired some excellent talent on board. Now let them do the job. There’s no need to watch and comment each step they make. Micromanagement kills creativity and the team’s morale.

5. Host a Workshop: Point Out Productivity Killers

Don’t preach, but educate. If your team is relatively small, give some valuable feedback on each person’s performance and help them optimize their time schedule and beat the most common distraction factors.

6. Set Small Attainable Goals

Don’t make your team feel crushed under a mighty yearly plan or a very abstract task of say “increasing sales”. Instead, break each project into short, step-by-step, easy to accomplish goals.  Your team should be able to cross them out with ease, thus feeling more motivated by their daily accomplishments.  The power of small wins is huge says Teresa Amabile in her study.

7. Help Your Team to Prioritize and Then Prioritize Again.

As any to-do lists eventually grows too long, it becomes difficult for your team to concentrate on the job with mounts of side tasks on the background. Offer everyone to create 3-point personal to-do list for the day with a simple task manager and always communicate the top team priorities, so that everyone new which task to put as #1 on their agenda.

8. Send Out Personalized “Thank Yous”

Don’t stick to praising the team as a whole. Acknowledge individual performance and acclaim personal accomplishments and ideas with a quick “thank you” email.

9. Have All the Necessary Tools at Hand

Keep all the login/pass data stored at the secure cloud app like 1password for quick access. Keep a separate list with PDF to Word converter, image converter, video and time zones converter in case you have clients scattered in different parts of the world. Use existing IFTTT recipes or create new ones specifically for your team to optimize time spent on repetitive actions.

10. Establish a System of Public Accountability

Being publicly accountable e.g. in form of a visible task board triggers willpower and makes each team member work harder to meet the set up peer standards. A healthy dose of competition never spoiled anyone.

11. Discourage Multitasking

It’s no news that multitasking does more harm than good. Remind your team of that simple fact and encourage them to focus on one step at a time.

12. Invest Into Creating a Good Company Culture

The most successful teams are those who know each other very well.  In this case, sharing ideas and collaboration always goes with ease.  Put some real effort into bonding and building a friendly environment where everyone feels comfortable and respected.

Image Credit: Flickr / Sarah Korf’s page / cropped, resized 

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Written by:
Dianna is a former ESL teacher and World Teach volunteer, currently living in France. She's slightly addicted to apps and viral media trends and helps different companies with product localization and content strategies. You can tweet her at @dilabrien
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