5 Ways to Increase Productivity in the Office

Photo Credit: Sean MacEntee on Flickr

There is nothing more important when it comes to maintaining a successful business than having productive employees. Unfortunately, there are a lot of things that can create distractions in the office that lead to a less productive work environment – and most of these things are on each employees desk  or computer. Here are five ways to increase productivity in the office.

1. Make Meetings More Efficient and Effective

Meetings can be the biggest time wasters within an organization. We’ve all been to them –meeting after meeting where you discuss things over and over. Then a month or two down the road, you sit down to yet another meeting and nothing from the previous one was accomplished.
Meetings need to be both efficient and effective. Some ways to do this include the following.

  • Try to schedule meetings only on a specific day or two as opposed to having employees who are in meetings on and off every day of the week.
  • Only invite people who will need to take action on items discussed in the meeting so others can continue working on their own projects.
  • Don’t let the meeting veer off of the main point of discussion.
  • By the end of the meeting, make sure that each attendee has been assigned a specific task to accomplish the overall meeting’s goals.
  • Have one person who will keep track of each individual who has been given an assignment so they can check up on them periodically before the next meeting to make sure tasks are being completed. This way you don’t schedule a follow-up meeting where you find out that no one has accomplished their assigned tasks.

2. Encourage employees to check email periodically instead of constantly.

If you create an environment where employees are expected to respond to their manager’s and colleague’s emails  immediately, then they will be trapped in a cycle of stopping what they are working on and answering emails. This can lead to less focus on their assigned tasks due to the constant distractions. Everyone has their own workflow, but help encourage employees to only check email at scheduled times by not getting aggravated when they don’t answer you immediately.

3. Implement an office wide project management system.

If your employees are constantly having to go back and forth trying to figure out who is assigned what or read through lengthy, cluttered spreadsheets to find out their assignments, then they are wasting valuable time that could be spent completing their projects instead.

The same thing goes if they are having to spend hours in meetings trying to figure out what has been done by other employees on a project in the previous month before they were assigned to it. And if you add in delayed communication between on-site and off-site employees and contractors, you could be looking at a week’s worth of productivity down the drain at the start of each month.

If your company suffers from this, online project management software is the answer. It will allow project managers to assign projects to employees every month, allow people to add notes to projects along the way for everyone assigned to a project, and allow everyone to keep tabs on who is assigned what. This can prevent a lot of headaches, including the ultimate nightmare of finding out at the end of the month that a project slipped through the cracks.

4. Communicate as openly as possible with your employees.

When employees feel like there’s something going on around the office that they don’t know about, they are going to start talking about it amongst themselves. As company conspiracy theories run high, so does the amount of non-stop chatter. Keep office gossip down to a minimum by simply being open when communicating what is going on around the office in terms of department and employee changes. The less there is to speculate about, the more time there is to get work done.

5. Make sure your employees are happy with their roles.

Happy employees are generally productive employees. One of the biggest sources of frustration can come from employees who feel they are underutilized. During semi-annual or annual employee reviews, take the time to talk with your employees about what they would like to be doing in your organization and what goals they would like to accomplish. You might be surprised by how many people are willing to take on more work in a different department to grow or satisfy new interests vs. staying stagnant in the same positions and working on the same tasks from year to year.

What other ways can you think of to increase employee productivity in your office?

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