We all want to get more done in less time. After all, time is the most precious resource we have…why waste it?
But it’s always easier said than done. So how can you be Mr. or Ms. Productivity and really make the most of your time?
In our last blog post, we revealed a few helpful productivity secrets of the world’s top CEOs and executives.
But what about team productivity? What can you do to motivate your team members and maximize their productivity, as well?
Here is our advice on the matter…
1. Have Employees Plan Their Days
Knowing exactly what you are going to tackle for the day makes it much easier to be productive—and also facilitates team collaboration.
For that reason, at SUCCESS agency, each employee is required to submit a Daily Plan at the start of the day, outlining what they plan to accomplish and the time that they estimate each task will take to complete. If someone submits a Daily Plan that is a complete deviation from what they end up accomplishing in the end, that could be a sign that something needs to change.
At SUCCESS agency, we also have what we call “Morning Rundowns,” where the entire team comes together at the start of the day to discuss collaboration needs and each person mentions what they plan to do that day.
Daily Plans and our Morning Rundowns help hold each team member accountable and is one way of ensuring that everything gets accomplished that needs to.
2. Use the Right Tools
The right tools can make the difference between a business that prospers and one that fails.
As a remote-based agency, we use a number of tools to communicate and ensure team productivity. Things like Slack, Basecamp, Google Sheets and Teamwork are just a few of the tools that help to keep our team members organized and fully aware of what needs to be accomplished.
Determine what tools best fit the needs of your company, and make sure that all team members know how to use them properly. If something is particularly complicated to use, consider creating a video tutorial. That way, you won’t end up explaining how something works over and over again.
3. Set Goals and Keep Track of Metrics
You should be setting both team goals and individual goals. What do you want your team to achieve in the next six months—or year?
Each team member should also set their own goals for what they want to achieve. Setting both long-term and short-term SMART goals, and keeping track of metrics, helps give employees something to work towards.
Meet with each team member to discuss their goals. Have them write the goals down and then track them to ensure that they are completed.
4. Introduce Gamification
Everyone likes to be rewarded for hard work. Providing incentives for your employees to work hard, complete their work in a timely fashion, or achieve certain goals, will undoubtedly increase their motivation and productivity.
The reward can be something as simple as a $10 Starbucks gift card once a month. Even compliments can go a long way.
At SUCCESS agency, we have “Small Win Friday,” where each Friday, we all mention something successful that happened that week (often something we noted in another team member). Recognizing and appreciating the hard work of other team members is one simple way of encouraging and motivating one another to continue to succeed.
5. Set Objectives for Meetings
Meetings have a bad reputation. But when done correctly, they have the potential to boost team productivity and streamline business processes and workflow.
Before each meeting, determine what the objective is and what you want to accomplish. Set a time limit for the meeting, as well. Then at the end, write down the next action steps and who is in charge of following through with each action.
6. Time Tasks
Do you ever feel like, if you are given five hours to complete a task, you will take five hours to complete it, but if you have only 30 minutes to complete the same task, you can somehow get it done in 30 minutes?
There’s a reason for this. According to Parkinson’s law, “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion,” or in other words, the time it takes for us to complete a task is dependent on the amount of time we have.
One way that you can use this to your advantage is to encourage your team members to set time limits on tasks. Have them keep track of how long it takes them to complete things.
At SUCCESS agency, our Daily Recap helps do exactly this. Similar to the Daily Plan, the Daily Recap is, just as it sounds, a recap of what each person did that day and how long was spent on each task. This helps to make sure that everyone completes what they set out to achieve in the time they initially estimated and if not, is at least aware of how they can better allocate their time moving forward. If someone spent three hours on a task that should have taken one hour, the Daily Recap helps to make people aware of that.
At the same time, take Parkinson’s Law with a grain of salt, and remember that sometimes, more time is needed to complete a task, if you want the result to be high quality. Rushing to complete something just to get it done is not the answer. Encourage your team members to simply remain cognizant of time to help ensure that everyone is being as productive as possible with the time they have.
7. Define Expectations
Set rules and standard operating procedures. What do you expect from your employees? Make this clear and don’t assume that they already know.
At SUCCESS agency, all employees are expected to read, understand and abide by our policies and procedures, which are available online.
Also help your team members prioritize by explaining what their key areas of focus should be. Explain how long you expect certain tasks to take. Some tasks might require a higher quality of work than others (and thus will take longer to complete), while other tasks might not be as important, so you’ll want (and need to ask) your employees to spend less time on them.
8. Provide Feedback Regularly
What are your team members doing well? What might they need to work on? Meet with each person one-on-one on a regular, pre-determined basis (like once a month or once every two months) and have an honest, open discussion about what they are excelling at and what they could improve upon. The worst thing you can do is allow your employees to believe that everything is going great and you are pleased with their work, when you aren’t.
Sure, confrontation can be hard, but if you establish a regular time for feedback, your employees can come to expect it and they will know that they aren’t being singled out.
9. Don’t Micromanage
While you want to be making sure that your employees are being as productive as possible with the time that they have, the last thing you want to do is micromanage. Tell your employees what you expect from them and monitor their results, but don’t control every aspect of their work.
As a manager, it can be difficult to relinquish control, but doing so is crucial to letting your employees be their most productive—and happy—selves.
10. Let Employees Work from Anywhere
Some employees work best in a more structured environment, like an office. But others are most productive working from a bustling coffee shop or a coworking space. Meanwhile, some people thrive when working from the comfort of their own homes.
It’s unrealistic to assume that your employees are all going to be productive in the same environment. So let them choose their ideal workspace, wherever that may be.
11. Let Employees Work Their Own Hours
On that note, if possible, give your employees the freedom to work their own hours. Some people work best at night, while others work best during the day. If possible, let employees work during the hours that they are most productive.
At SUCCESS agency, we have certain hours of collaboration during which all employees are expected to be “in the office.” But otherwise, everyone can set their own schedules and choose the hours that they work.
Maximizing team productivity is crucial to the overall success of your company. The first step is leading by example. Make sure that you have instilled productivity habits (link to blog post: What World’s Top CEOs…) yourself before expecting your team members to do the same.
Then…hold your team members accountable for their actions. Delegate tasks to make sure that people are aware of their responsibilities. Make it clear who has to achieve what and by what date. Define expectations. Establish a system of goal-setting, and then track those goals. Above all, give your employees the freedom and flexibility to work autonomously.
If you can achieve all of that, your team will also achieve success.