Guest Post – By Hibox
Whether you’re managing a brand new project or just looking for ways to improve your team’s performance, we could all do with a boost in team productivity. It helps you to reach your goals quicker, waste less time on menial or pointless tasks, and solve problems efficiently.
But not all of us have the time or money to spend on long-winded solutions. Luckily, there are some quick things you can implement right away to improve your team’s productivity.
So let’s get stuck in with our six best tips and tricks to boost your team’s productivity in no time.
1. Eliminate pointless and time-wasting meetings
In 2017, the majority of employees genuinely believe meetings are useless. They’re usually too long, don’t require everyone’s presence, and are stopping them from getting real work done.
So instead of keeping up meetings for the sake of appearances, condense your several-a-week, long, inefficient meetings into a 1-hour videoconference call a week. This is particularly useful for teams who have remote members, or who need to travel for work.
Provide everyone with an agenda in advance, and ask them to prepare a 30-second to minute long update on their projects. All team members will have a clear idea of how you’re progressing and what needs to be done next. Don’t leave without actionable steps for each team member, and note them down to keep everyone accountable.
2. Learn to plan and set goals effectively
We all know that success in project management is based on how effectively you reach the goals you’ve set and planned for your team. But the first step in that is making sure you’re actually setting the right goals, and correctly measuring your team’s efficiency.
Whatever the type of project you’re managing, you’ll need to set your team clear, actionable goals. To do this, first you have to qualify and then quantify your tasks. Qualifying is simple enough – identify the essential tasks that are instrumental to the success of a project, and correctly allocate them to the team members with the skill set to match.
But to keep on track of a project, you need to quantify. This is simple for some teams, like sales – you can set numerical targets, like numbers of new leads or a financial figure. For others, like marketers or coders, it can be a little trickier. So find ways to turn their goals into targets – like lines of code written a day, or how many new advertising ideas they can pitch to you.
These targets then work like deliverables, so your team can work to real, tangible deadlines. You’ll always have a clear idea of how far your team are from completing tasks and as such, how well the project is moving along.
3. Introduce communication and file sharing tools
This is a crucial step for productivity in the modern era, and it applies to absolutely every field, sector and industry. A lot of companies are relying on inefficient forms of communication to share files and communicate. Documents can easily get lost or misplaced, and end up wasting a lot of employees’ time.
For teams working on projects or keeping up with new figures and updates, make sure you’re using a platform that lets you communicate with and update your team instantly. This type of business chat means you can solve problems and brainstorm new ideas in real time, as well as get the information you need immediately. Plus, studies show that instant chat eliminates a lot of the bias (from superiority, race, gender etc) in brainstorming, and instead offers an opportunity for all team members to share ideas equally.
So why waste your time (and miss potentially business-changing ideas) with old, inefficient methods of internal communication? All the startups and forward-thinking companies are already doing it…
4. Prioritise time management
Proper time management is key to maximising productivity. Your team may be good at what they do, but if you don’t analyse a work process and alter it, then who knows how much better you could all be doing?
It’s particularly important when it comes to each individual’s work process. Not everybody works in the same way, so it’s only natural everyone works better at different times and in different environments! What works for you may not work for your coder, or writer, or vice versa.
The key to creating your personalised time-management system is by simply starting with observation. Take a week to note down all the times you work best, and alternately when you’re sluggish and struggling with the most basic of tasks. By the end of a week, you’ll be able to see when you’re most likely to reach a state of ‘deep work’ – when you can work intensely without disruption or losing focus. The next week, schedule your workload so you work on the most intense tasks in those time slots, and leave the menial, repetitive work for when you’re in a low point.
If all your team members are working on their most productive time schedule, you’ll see the whole team’s performance improve as a result.
5. Avoid unnecessary distractions
Did you know it takes you 23 minute to refocus on a task once you’ve been distracted? That’s a pretty scary statistic if you start to count the number of times in a day a notification pops up on your screen, or you hear an all too familiar ‘ding’ from a device!
So to make sure you’re not wasting time (without even realising it), do everything you can in your power to eliminate distractions, so you can settle into a period of deep work.
If you find social media to be one of your biggest weaknesses, start by signing out of all of your accounts each morning. It doesn’t sound like much, but having to sign in each time you absent-mindedly go onto a site is much more annoying than it sounds. You’ll realise you don’t actually need to check your Instagram feed, and go back to work.
For other sites (and a thoroughly more intense approach), use an app like SelfControl to entirely block sites. You just input your biggest distractions, select a time duration for the ban, and it does the rest for you.
Now, you’ll have no excuse (or even way) to waste 10 minutes when you should have been working.
6. Use smart tools that do the work for you
There are a number of tools on the market that are designed to help teams of all sizes with boosting their productivity. There are tools that can help you with virtually anything. Of course, some will be more useful to specific departments than others, but there are some things that each and every team can use a helping hand with.
- Time trackers like Toggl can help track time on anything. Whether it’s time spent on a task (to analyse performance), or billable hours for clients, it’s a quick and easy tool to use to keep on track.
- If you aren’t already, you should be using a task management platform. For whatever size team you’re working with, you need a easy-to-use online platform to assign tasks to individuals, set deadlines and keep an eye on a project’s progress. Some of the options on market like Hibox, include internal communication and file-sharing too, so you can work entirely on one platform.
- There are a lot of companies that are harnessing the power of AI to create smart apps that take over menial, time-consuming tasks. Solutions like Julie Desk can help take over your scheduling and meetings, saving you time and effort. Other apps can help your sales team automatically qualify leads, and others can even review legal documents for you (assuming you don’t already have a team for that!)
Just by introducing a few of these steps into your office, you can save your team time spent on unnecessary or menial tasks. You’ll all be free to focus on the important goals, and keep on track. Boost your team’s productivity by just a little today, and see big results further down the line.
Any other tips? Let us know!