Possibly one of the biggest “Holy Grails” of business is to maximize workplace productivity. Workplace productivity is essentially a science that has been studied for decades, with many hits and misses throughout the years. In many cases, the reason for this is that workplace productivity is often both counterintuitive and lacks a “one-size-fits-all” answer. While there is a definite science to maximizing productivity, with no one right answer for every business, there are also some key elements that remain the same. Here are 4 ways to make your workplace more productive.
1. Cut Down on Meetings
There is a wealth of evidence that suggests that meetings are one of the biggest time wasters in the corporate world. That’s not to say that meetings are not important or that you will ever be able to cut them out entirely, that doesn’t mean there aren’t a wealth of ways to rethink meetings and conduct them differently so as to maximize productivity in the workplace.
2. Use Tech
One way to cut down on meetings is to use one or more of many products available today that help manage projects and keep everyone on the same page. In today’s mobile world, it is becoming harder and harder to get everyone in the office at the same time, but with the wealth of work management tools available it’s also not necessary. Just as home automation is cutting down on the hours we need to spend performing household tasks, business automation is also helping to accomplish more and more business tasks automatically. While it may be difficult to keep up with all the latest products available, maximium productivity is often dependent on taking advantage of all the latest tools available to keep everyone running full steam ahead.
3. Give Employees Freedom
There was a time when the whole world went to the office at 9:00 am and left at 5:00 pm, without question, without fail. Those days are long gone, with many, if not most, employees saying “good riddance.” It may seem like what is good for individual employees is bad for the company, but that is not necessarily the case. While businesses do benefit from having their employees all under the same roof for at least a portion of the day, allowing employees to have some control over their own schedule can help you get the best from them. In addition, employees themselves know when they are and are not likely to be most productive. By not forcing them to come into the office during times when they are least likely to be productive, you are not paying them to sit around the office and procrastinate.
4. Encourage Employees to Take Breaks
More and more businesses are coming to understand the idea that humans are just not capable of going hard at it for 8 straight hours a day. Maximum productivity is actually achieved by a blend of periods of focused attention interspersed with “brain breaks” or leisure activities. Google is probably most famous for their leisure activity facilities on their many campuses world-wide, but leisure activity items like ping-pong and pool tables are making their way into more and more corporate break rooms.
Executives have long been known to take a mid-day break to get in a round of golf or a game of racquetball and it turns out that what is good for executives is also good for employees. Even having office vending machines in the work space gives your employees the chance to take a break and nosh.
The science of maximizing productivity in the workplace has come a long way since the 1950’s, when many of our modern workplace practices were first established. Since the tech world is a relatively new field, it is also often the leader in workplace advancements with other white collar businesses lagging behind. While many practices of the tech world may seem unorthodox, they may also prove to be setting the pattern for the work force practices of the next generation, who may well prove to be the most productive of all.