Productivity is often the go-to measure of success for a business – and why shouldn’t it be? Efficiency and work standards inform every other metric for results. As a project leader, it is up to you to plan, prioritise and streamline the work of your co-workers to achieve the best possible outcome.
If your team is struggling to accomplish set tasks during the day, it can be useful to take a step back and consider time allocation, as well as your workplace culture. Is this a matter of boosting team morale? Or are the designated workloads too much for one person to handle? There is no golden rule guaranteed to increase productivity, instead, it must be closely monitored and improved on every step of the way.
Say No to Micro-Managing
Put simply, you need to let go. Have faith in your team and their capacity to do the best job possible. It is crucial for managers at every level to stop focussing solely on the numbers and controlling the work of every employee, down to the last detail.
Step back where possible to build a culture of trust, that way if a co-worker has a question or concern they won’t hesitate to reach out for your support. Micro-managing is not only considered intimidating and undermining by many professionals but will burn you out in the process.
Lead by Example
Adult learning is best fast-tracked by example. Exhibit the great workplace practices yourself, before you begin to allocate tasks to others. Be smart when it comes to prioritising your time; a long lunch here and there is fine, but you’ll have no right to complain about productivity if you start to slack off during work.
Ever heard the saying, treat others how you would like to be treated? Well, behave how you would like others to behave. As the leader of your team, you are responsible for setting the standard when it comes to great work ethic, so set the bar high! Prioritise your workflow and encourage your co-workers to do the same.
Have Open Lines of Communication
The conversation should be ongoing; an honest and open dialogue is the best solution to inefficiency. This will not only help to instil mutual respect between all parties but ensure that any roadblocks in your project are overcome with the right approach for all involved.
Transparency lets your co-workers know that they are valued, being heard and listened to. Open door policies are a tried-and-true way to enhance productivity by capitalising on positive communication. Let your team know that you’re happy to answer any questions, especially in the initial stages of your project. Then, turn the tables and ask your co-workers questions as well. Encouraging independence builds more excitement and enthusiasm.
Kick-start Your Important Work Early
There’s a common theme in many articles on the internet that you should start small and ease your way into the day. While of course, productivity looks different depending on the person, it can actually be more beneficial to start on your most important work, early on. This will not only set the tone for the remainder of the day, but ensure that your project grows with strong momentum.
Encourage Professional Growth
Productivity is considered by many to be the act of moving forward and achieving. From this, it goes without saying that encouraging growth in your team is a great place to start. Before you can change an action, you need to address the attitude.
It’s important for professionals to stay updated with current industry trends and practices. This will help your team members to stay ahead, and give them a sense of pride and authority. Adult education is a viable pathway to sparking renewed interest. Encourage internal workshops and further education to expand on industry knowledge and bring fresh skills to the table. There are endless opportunities to learn project management online and resource allocation in a night class, for complete flexibility.
Be a Poster for Work-Life Balance
In this digital age, personal and professional lives are more blended than ever. This means that often we check our emails first thing in the morning and last thing before bed. Remote workers are particularly engaged in their work and can struggle at times to switch off back to their personal life. This will leave your team drained of energy, creativity and ultimately, productivity.
Take into account the life situations of your co-workers in light of their efficiency. Downtime is just as important as time spent on the job, allowing you to recharge, reflect and gain a new perspective. A flexible work arrangement is a valid solution, but it also comes down to monitoring workflow closely.
Give Your Co-workers Independence
Eliminate or delegate the low-priority tasks to balance them with activities that add real value. This gives your team permission to make decisions with impact and embrace more responsibility. The most productive professionals are the people who genuinely care about their work standard and place of employment. As an aside, still ensure that you block set time for each member to get daily work done as well.
Helen Sabell works for the College for Adult Learning. She is passionate about adult learning, further education and encouraging professionals to learn project management online.