The goal of any leader is, ultimately, to increase output. In the current volatile business climate simply maintaining allows other key players in the industry to gain advantage.
However, simply brandishing a whip and telling your team to ‘work harder’ is far from a sustainable way to truly up productivity. Whilst you may see a small increase in output in the short term, of course any leader worth their salt will know that this simply cannot last, or will be at the detriment of quality and diligence.
Truly increasing productivity isn’t down to one thing; like most elements of effective leadership, the concept should be approached with finesse and an overarching view of the business’ key functions – one of which should always be to ensure that workers are treated well and with respect. Simply pushing them to their limits will lead to high turnover, poor well being and ultimately a complete breakdown in function.
But then what works? How can leaders actually up productivity without compromising other areas? Read on to find out…
Most workers aren’t performing as well as they can, but the truth is that it’s not their fault. Often, good workers simply pick up small voids left by others. This may be as simple as watering plants, or fixing the printer when it jams, yet these little incremental tasks take them away from their actual jobs and waste time. It may take just five minutes to fix a printer jam, but this one task takes them out of whatever they were doing and it may take more than half an hour to get back into the productivity ‘zone’. If you want to ensure that all workers are operating at 100%, take away the fluff that surrounds their core function.
It sounds counterproductive, yet ensuing that workers are taking the time to mentally decompress between big tasks is massively beneficial to productivity. A survey conducted by Tork in the US last year found that those who took a fifteen-minute break between big tasks to decompress were not only 38% happier at work, but also 22% more productive; the study also found that the quality of their work was better. So, to do more, professionals must work less.
Set small goals
It’s all well and good aiming for a grand company objective – yet often this is vague and sets no roadmap to strive for. Your workers don’t need to know that they’re aiming for ‘excellence’ in customer service. This is a given, and provides absolutely no aide in getting there. Instead, set smaller, far more achievable goals with tangible roadmaps to success. Instead of ‘excellence’, why not ‘Upsell THIS service to 10 customers today’. This is easily achievable, and ups productivity through proper guidance.
Consider work-life balance
No professional is at their best when they can’t mentally divide themselves for their work. Burned out workers get ill, they let things slip and their wellness evaporates, along with their drive and purpose. ONS research suggests that work-related stress was the single largest cause of workplace absence last year. And if you’re their manager, it’s your fault, not theirs. Fight this by ensuring that they aren’t messaged about work outside of work hours, that they go home on time every day, and that they don’t work in evenings and weekends. By dividing these two worlds, they’ll be far more refreshed and ready to work.
Good teams work together to achieve goals, and as a worker, knowing that you have a vast network of expertise that you can call upon if you’re stuck is a massive advantage. But this doesn’t come naturally. Workers are far more likely to simply try and keep their workloads to themselves – so it takes the promotion of collaboration from managers to make it happen.