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5 Steps to Higher Productivity

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As a manager, you’re always on the lookout for ways to get more out of your team. Productivity begins with investing – investing more time in your people and in giving them the tools they need to succeed. Here are five steps you can take to enhance efficiency and get the most out of every work day.

Use Productive Hours for Important Tasks

When you assign team members tasks, it’s important to give them autonomy and a sense of independence. However, each individual’s most productive time should be spent on priority projects that yield the greatest reward. Begin by discussing work habits with each team member to find out when they feel the most productive. Usually, people are at their best when they are fresh in the morning, but some are night owls who will prefer to come in later and stay later. Monitor time-sensitive, priority projects to be sure team members are giving them their optimum hours and attention. You will always have to put out fires and address emergencies as they arise, but if your workers are focusing their energy correctly, these will be easier to address.

Track Accomplishments

Always have a variety of planners (daily, weekly, hourly) and constantly cross reference them to make sure you’re on track. Keep your team in the loop and communicate changes and shifting priorities. Recognize that long term goals are essential, but short term ones have their own importance. When you track accomplishments as they happen, workers can see the immediate impact of their efforts. “Sometimes I challenge my people by telling them I doubt we can get something done by noon,” says manager Trey Manning. “You’d be surprised at how many people double their efforts and delight in proving their boss wrong.”

Use a Temporary, Just-in-Time Workforce

As workplaces become more project-focused, it is essential to be nimble and able to get the people you need right away. Maintaining infrequently used skill sets can be costly and ineffective. It’s often more cost efficient to bring in people for each project. AppleOne Employment Services provides solutions based on your company’s specific needs.

Exchange Ideas

A healthy workplace is one where workers feel like they are a part of something bigger and that includes the industry your business specializes in. Encourage employees to cultivate relationships with suppliers, government agencies and other organizations in your industry. Exchanging ideas and collaborating with outsiders keeps your workers sharp and abreast of new technologies and developments. Keep on top of what your competition is doing. When a competitor develops something ahead of you don’t feel defeated--use it as a means to mobilize your team to do something better.  

Learn to Recognize Burnout

Burnout on the job can come from a heavy workload, staff shortages or over-committing. The leading candidates for burnout are idealistic, hardworking perfectionists who develop unrealistic job expectations. These professionals have a hard time balancing their work obligations with home life and often tend to take their work home. Symptoms include withdrawing, losing focus, and becoming increasingly cynical. Educate your employees about managing stress and establishing appropriate boundaries between work and personal lives. Set goals that are realistic and be sure they are aware of counseling services and other resources available.

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