Let’s face it. Your employees are going to get distracted. They’re going to read news websites, check social media, talk with coworkers and travel to the Keurig to make their umpteenth cup of coffee. Even the most productive workers have a hard time staying focused the full eight hours a day.
You may feel there’s nothing you can do, especially when faced with contenders like Instagram, Reddit and Candy Crush. Yet, while workplace distractions aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, there are ways you can engage your team members and keep them motivated. Read on to learn how you can improve workplace productivity and reach new levels of success.
1) Trust in your team members
You hired your employees for a reason – because they’re qualified, have extensive experience and share a love for sloths (you have to admit they’re adorable). Now it’s time to step back and trust them to do the job they were hired to do.
If you’re constantly breathing down their neck, popping up in their cubicle and messaging them to check on the status of a task, how can they possibly stay focused and deliver projects on time? Give your staff the space they need to succeed and learn.
We’re not saying you should give employees the run of the place and never follow up on tasks. Instead, assign yourself to-dos to check on the assignment’s status in a project management tool like Basecamp. Never go overboard – check in with employees once a week or once a day for more urgent deadlines. Your team will be more productive and work more effectively when you’re not interrupting them every hour.
2) Reduce employee stress
It doesn’t matter how many raises or bonuses you hand out or the quality of your health benefits package – at the end of the day, if your staff feels stressed, productivity will suffer. Employees suffering from high stress levels are less engaged, less productive and take more sick or personal days than employees with lower stress levels.
A Global World Benefits survey from professional services firm Towers Watson revealed that workplace engagement levels significantly decrease when employees experience high levels of stress. The study of 22,347 employees across 12 countries found that over half of employees experiencing high stress levels reported they were disengaged. In contrast, only one in ten employees with low stress levels said they were disengaged.
So, how you can minimize stress in the workplace and improve productivity? You can reduce stress levels by encouraging more breaks. Regular breaks help your team members stay focused, clear their head and return to a project with a new, fresh perspective. Employees are most productive when they work in roughly 60 or 90-minute spurts followed by a break.
Despite the clear benefits, many employees are reluctant to take breaks, especially when a fast-approaching deadline is looming over their head or they’re juggling a million things at once. Take short breaks yourself and lead by example. If possible, create a quiet area or break room where your staff can rest, stretch out or chat with coworkers. You could even rally the entire team to go for a walk around the facility and get those creative juices flowing!
3) Encourage team bonding
It would be nice if all employees got along swimmingly and became best friends forever, but unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. If two employees don’t see eye to eye, it can cause friction in the workplace and damage productivity. 60-80% of all difficulties in the workplace stem from strained relationships between employees. It’s your job to encourage team bonding and keep your workplace from feeling like a war zone.
Make it a point to schedule regular team-building activities where employees can share and solve issues and discuss mutual interests. These activities could take place during staff meetings or you could even schedule a retreat for the entire office or department depending on your budget.
If problems still arise and a work conflict is hindering productivity, it’s time for you to take action and step in. Never assume you understand the situation because of whispers or gossip you hear around the office. Go directly to the source and ask both employees or anyone directly involved about their take on the issue.
Give each side the benefit of the doubt and listen to their concerns. Once you’ve heard them out, ask if they have any ideas for resolving the issue and moving forward. Keep in mind that employees don’t have to be friends to work together. But they will need to collaborate and be in the same room together without a staredown.
4) Move to the cloud
More businesses than ever are moving to the cloud to create new efficiencies and save time. In fact, 69% of enterprises have at least one application or a part of their infrastructure in the cloud.
By moving your data and applications into the cloud, you can streamline all avenues of communication. Cloud computing allows work to be done anytime, anywhere – all your employees need is an internet connection. Outside of the cloud, employees have to call or email attachments, eating up precious time and resources. In the cloud, employees at locations across the country can collaborate and see documents being updated in real time.
And, as the demand for bring your own device (BYOD) policies increases, a cloud migration has never been more critical to the viability of your business. BYOD models empower your employees to work on their own devices and stay productive outside of the office, improving productivity and ensuring exceptional IT efficiency guide.
Interested in learning more about how the cloud helps you maximize efficiency and gain a competitive advantage? Discover the benefits of a scalable, cost-effective cloud solution by downloading our IT efficiency guide below.