Here’s why you should focus your energy on boosting team productivity (and how to do it)

We know it’s a cutthroat environment out there. A huge number of Australian companies are being squeezed by tougher competition just because the amount of businesses is increasing. Sure, it makes sense, but what do you do when you really need to gain the competitive edge to survive?

Boosting productivity at work plays a big part in making companies more efficient and competitive. And, right now, the door of opportunity is gaping for seriously passionate leaders looking to raise the stakes. We’re saying this because 47% of companies today are worried about lagging productivity while one-third of the country’s workforce is falling below the national productivity average.

If you’re a HR Manager, Top Manager or CEO, don’t let your company turn into one of those grim stats. Yes, any leader can step up and positively influence the productivity of their workforce. But, the question is, how do you trump those textbook management techniques and make a real difference?

First, it’s important to understand that increasing workplace productivity isn’t about magically creating more hours in the day. Being a ball-breaker and setting tougher targets isn’t going to help your cause either. Even the experts say you’ve got to encourage teams to work smarter, not harder to raise productivity at work.

So, here are our productivity-boosting strategies to help you build a smarter and more productive team.

Ensure employees are engaged in their work 

Almost everyone knows disengaged employees lead to poor productivity at work. A Deloitte report says American businesses lose a massive US$300 billion worth of productivity every year because of disengaged workers.

There are so many ways to engage your workforce it’s impossible to list them all. But, to give you an idea, some of these might include recognising hard work and successes, providing opportunities for career development, encouraging teamwork, providing support, ensuring everyone is aligned with the company’s mission and offering everyone the chance to be heard through regular catchups.

Practice the art of delegation (responsibly)

Make sure you know where to draw the line between your essential duties and tasks that can be carried out by your team. Delegating tasks means you’ll find more time in the day to do the type of ‘value-add’ work that actually boosts productivity in the workplace.

One study by the Harvard Business Review showed that a manager who delegated administrative work to spend more time supporting her team increased sales by as much as 5% over three weeks. Matching the right tasks to employees’ skills could also make people feel a whole lot more empowered and motivated – great for productivity.

Provide support where needed  

Leaving staff to drown during busy periods could send productivity plummeting thanks to things like burnout, exhaustion and poor morale. Think about it this way, Japan’s culture of long working hours isn’t doing the island nation any favours – the country’s productivity stats are flagging at the bottom of the G7 and well below OECD averageJapan even has a specific word for “overwork death” – they call it Karoshi. Hiring temporary and contract workers could be a fast and cost-effective way to keep productivity on a high when the going gets good.        

Set goals     

Like anything in life, it’s hard to get results when you don’t know what you’re aiming for. And the same goes for your staff. Setting short-term and long-term goals means staff will have a clearer focus on the company vision while that extra kudos along the way could push them towards the next big target.

boost team productivity with goals

Use technology to your business’ best advantage

It’s 2019 and technology is really shaking up the way we work. That’s right, we’re no longer slaves to emails or the nine-to-five grind. So, why not think about how cloud-based platforms such as Trello and Slack could make your team work more collaboratively. Or, make sure your team is properly equipped for remote working (or more flexible hours!) Did you know remote workers are 13% more productive than people who work exclusively in the office? Flexible working hours could also do wonders to help keep staff on the ball with a healthier work-life balance.

Encourage a work-life balance

Sure, natural logic says you’ll be more productive if you work more, but this is actually counter-productive. Overwork costs up to $US190billion in healthcare spending in the US alone! You shouldn’t doubt that encouraging a strong work-life balance will boost productivity in the workplace – it’s not rocket science. Your staff will feel less stressed if you make it easier manage work and personal commitments while they’ll feel more energised at work if they take a well-earned break from time-to-time.

Need inspiration? Flexible hours, gym memberships, social activities and limited use of digital communication tools outside working hours could make a real difference to your team’s work-life balance.

Yes, raising productivity to gain a competitive advantage could be an easy win in the current market. But don’t forget it all starts at the top. As a leader, it’s your job to identify the possibilities for fuelling productivity in the workplace and most importantly, it’ll be down to you to lead by example.

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