How do you make your team more productive? It’s a question that has plagued the mind of many business leaders over the past centuries. It’s probably a question we’ve been wrestling with since we first stopped traveling as hunter-gatherers and settled to farm. However, according to one world-view, the answer has always been the same. It’s all about the tools you equip them with. Here, we’re going to look at a few tools that might make a big difference in the hand of the modern worker.
For some employees, their job is about roughly fulfilling the same duties from the moment they clock on to the moment they clock out. Others, however, have a much more diverse working day and a lot of different goals they’re aiming towards. It can become easy to lose track of certain tasks amongst the mix, which can result in not meeting longer-term goals. There are a bunch of to-do list apps such as Wunderlist that can make it easy to note down tasks as they get added and ensure you’re never letting easy-to-solve tasks slip through the cracks.
For a lot of people, their to-do list may constantly be full of more tasks than they can achieve in any one day. When a worker is bogged down with too much responsibility, they can choose wrongly and waste a lot of time on work that could have waited, or they could find themselves stressed out by the sensation of being overworked. However, tools like the Priority Matrix allow people to organize their work by both how important it is and how urgent it is. That way, they can ensure they’re always workings on the tasks that need to come first and feel less guilty about pushing other tasks to the back of the queue.
It’s not exactly an actual software tool like those mentioned above, but if you want your employees to be at their most productive, it has been suggested that allowing them to determine how, where, and when they work can be the most effective solution of all. Remote workers, for instance, tend to be more productive than in-house teams. This doesn’t apply to all situations, of course, but when people have the freedom to choose when and how they work, they tend to work at the times that are most conducive to work, rather than times and places they are likely to be bogged down by distraction. As remote working becomes easier thanks to the spread of digital technology, it might be time to consider implementing it in your workplace.
When it comes to flexible work or shift work, then helping your employees schedule the best possible time to work can be important to how productive they are. As such, scheduling platforms like ShiftSmart may be able to help you find your team’s best working times. It can also help you avoid the problems that often come with a less organized shift system. For instance, when employees are given shifts or have them taken away just before or on the day in question, then it can badly affect their motivation and morale, which will, in turn, make a decrease in productivity a lot more likely. Clear communication of the schedule is always recommended.
When it comes to helping your team be engaged in their work, there is only so much you can do on your own. Trying to engage your employees directly can help them feel more recognized and give you the opportunity to address their concerns. However, improving communication between your team and those that they work with can be much more effective. Using communication tools, be it IM systems or ticket support systems, can help people be more organized in how they ask for help or resources and make sure that people who need to stay in touch have a space where communication is easily fostered. Often, our barrier to being more productive is how easily we can get in touch with an rely on our co-workers when we hit a roadblock in our work.
This tool isn’t necessary for everyone, of course. However, if your workforce does a lot of work that sees them typing and publishing on your behalf, then you may be surprised how much of their time gets spent hunting for typoes and other errors in their own work. Furthermore, people do not tend to self-edit very well, and a second pair of eyes is likely to help them spot mistakes they might otherwise miss. Instead of taking another employee’s time, however, you can instead use tools like Hemingway and Grammarly. These can find misspellings, grammar issues, and even readability issues that can help your writers much more quickly and thoroughly complete their work, while also helping them to a better standard for you.
Lastly, just think about how much time your employees spend each day dealing with email. If their job involves any communication with the outside world, then it’s likely they spend most of their time with an inbox several pages long. Teaching them how to effectively sort and format their emails into different categories can help, as can setting thirty minutes for email twice a day, so they’re not interrupting their work to keep checking their inboxes. There are tools that can help you both organize your inbox and how you send messages. For instance, Boomerang for Gmail can help you send out emails on a schedule, so you can type them up whenever you’re free, but send them when best makes sense for you.
Not all of the tools mentioned above are going to work for everyone, of course. Depending on what kind of business you run, what kind of work schedule you have, and so on, some might be more effective than others. You have to take the time to consider how your team works and how you can best equip them to meet their roles effectively.