Productive and engaged employees are at the very heart of any successful company. But unfortunately, in most companies, the average employee is productive for less than three hours per day. And with that level of productivity, achieving the goals you set out and solving problems to propel the business forward becomes much more difficult.
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However, blaming employees for being ‘lazy’ or ‘unmotivated’ is not the answer, either. In fact, it’s on the companies themselves to create an environment that nurtures productivity, creativity, and collaboration. There are relatively simple strategies and policies you can implement right now that will allow you to find out exactly how your team is spending their time and what you can do to use that time more effectively.
To help you get started with making your team more productive, let’s explore a few strategies that are all but guaranteed to produce positive outcomes below.
Track Employee Time
Even though some might be skeptical about employee tracking software, it remains the single most effective way to figure out how your employees spend their time during work hours. And while it may seem intrusive, tracking time means you can find constructive ways to make the most out of each hour that employees have each day.
Using software to track employee time isn’t as much about making sure they’re not spending the majority of their time on social media (which most employees aren’t anyway), but rather helping them identify ways that they could use their time better.
For instance, you may discover that some team members are focusing on tasks that aren’t as important to the company’s goals. Those tasks might be honest work and related to the employee’s responsibilities, but you might discover that many of them could be automated, allowing team members to focus more on creative tasks, problem solving, or developing new ideas that can move the company forward.
Leading employee tracking software solutions also offer analytics, which means you can get a broader picture of how employees prioritize their activities and what you can do better as a business, not just on an individual level.
Eliminate Procrastination on Small Tasks
In most work environments, the big projects and deadlines get the most attention. And that’s completely understandable. After all, those big goals are what the managers and leaders keep emphasizing, so most employees end up putting everything else on the backburner, which ends up halting some of the tasks that might not even take that much time for weeks or even months.
However, this process has a big flaw, which is that sometimes those seemingly minor jobs can have a significant impact on company success if they were to be completed quickly. And that’s why, as a business, you should consider ways to make sure that your team finds the time to review these types of tasks on a regular basis. And that’s where the two-minute rule can be so helpful.
The basic premise of the principle is incredibly simple: if something takes less than two minutes (it can also be five or even ten minutes), your team should simply do the task right now and then get back to the main tasks for the day they are working on. That way, instead of small tasks piling on, your team will regularly clear them out of the way and remove a lot of friction when working through various projects.
Reward Good Performance
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Recognition is a key part of keeping your employees motivated and engaged in the workplace. When people do their best and reach meaningful results, they want to know that their superiors recognize the effort it took and take the time to acknowledge the good performance.
In fact, as an employer, you should make regularly praising and rewarding your best performers a top priority. Implementing various rewards programs can go a long way to keeping office morale up and giving employees something to look towards as they are putting in the effort to overcome the obstacles they’re facing.
Whether you offer non-cash rewards such as gift cards or days off, incentivize performance through advancement opportunities, or even offer cold hard cash for those who excel, finding the right motivational tools is a key part of ensuring that productivity remains high consistently.
As a leader of a team, it’s your job to ensure that each person is operating at peak efficiency and that they have plenty of motivation to tackle the various challenges that arise throughout their workday. And the good news is that creating a work environment where people feel engaged and willing to work hard doesn’t have to come down to being a demanding or tough boss.
Instead, you can help employees find the biggest potential areas for improvement, implement good practices that help remove friction and go through tasks faster, and motivate people by recognizing their hard work and encouraging those who are putting in the extra effort.