Productivity Boost: 5 Ways to Work Smarter
Monday, 7th of March 2018
Monday, 7th of March 2018
Productivity has become an issue for businesses across the globe. The UK’s levels of productivity at work lag behind similar developed nations like the US, France and Germany. This is still true despite regular predictions that the UK would soon rise out of its productivity slump, which originated in the financial crisis of 2007.
Some managers and bosses might like to assume that poor levels of productivity are simply down to staff not working hard enough. The truth is that the majority of staff do work very hard – you only need to look at rising stress levels to see that employees are overworking themselves, if anything. In fact poor productivity has more to do with lack of investment in training and resources than anything employees are doing.
Nevertheless, many employees are working too hard when they could boost productivity by working smart instead. If you would like a way to boost your productivity, here are five great ways that you can do it.
“Workers are typically more productive when they have more variation in their tasks.”
One of the first things to note that can make a dramatic difference to productivity is working to a proper schedule. This is most effective in businesses when managers take responsibility and get involved to plan shifts and schedule workloads. Using software that plans shifts allows for much smoother running of businesses – staff know exactly what is expected of them and what they need to be working on, while managers can stay on top of what is being worked on and can even reassign people to priority areas if need be.
It is often helpful to sequester work in blocks of time – this can also mean that one member of staff is expected to do the same task for too long. Workers are typically more productive when they have more variation in their tasks.
Far too many people equate ideas like a working lunch or a longer working day with better productivity – but it turns out that this is flawed thinking. Rather than spending all day at your desk trying to force yourself to be productive, it is actually the case that taking a break is good for our productivity.
This means that both employers and employees should be changing their mind-set with regard to breaks. Not only is it important that staff should take a proper lunch break in order to give themselves time away from their work, it is also beneficial for them to take a quick break once per hour.
Distractions are one of the real scourges of the modern work environment. And one distraction that can cost us in terms of productivity are emails. If you work on a computer then it is likely the case that emails will pop up with notifications, making them extremely difficult to ignore. The issue is that they then take you away from what you were working on. This can be problematic.
Instead, it’s a good idea to close your email application or turn off notifications and just check your inbox every hour. Extremely urgent emails are very rare, and given that there will never be more than an hour before you read one, it’s not something that you need to be worried about. And the kind of productivity boost it can provide for you will make a very noticeable difference.
One thing that can hold businesses back is that they do not focus closely enough on the tasks that are most important to them. It can be easy for staff to get distracted by tasks that are simply ‘urgent’ rather than genuinely important to the success of the company. This can again be a time where managers need to communicate closely with staff on what’s really important for the overall success of the business. Doing the important tasks as soon as possible will ensure that the things that will help the business succeed are always completed.
This might not necessarily be a popular idea, but time tracking can really help a business to improve its productivity. In many cases it can actually help to see how long a task genuinely takes to be accomplished properly – then appropriate time can be assigned to complete the work.