Managing a company involves balancing a dozen metaphorical spinning plates at the same time. One thing that can make managing infinitely easier (or absurdly difficult) is productivity. Productivity is the amount that a company can produce of their chosen product or service in a given period of time. Often (but not always), the more productive you are, the more money you can make. The following will explore some of the things you can do to help improve productivity in your workplace.
Plants In The Office
You might think the idea of putting plants in your office, causing productivity a bit silly at first, but once you look into the science of it, you’ll be more than happy to spend a few dollars for some plants. Plants breathe in carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen. Humans breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide. What this means is that if you have an environment full of humans without any plants, there’s likely going to be a lot more carbon dioxide in the air over time (think of that icky stale air feeling). Beyond fostering an oxygen-rich environment, plants also remove toxins from the air and boost mood. These three benefits work together to create greater productivity, better focus, higher levels of creativity, and lower levels of stress and anxiety. As a bonus, they also absorb sound contributing to a quieter work environment.
High-Functioning Communication Lines
When it comes to things that slow down productivity in the workplace, communication lines are at the top of the list. If people cannot get the information and work they need from other team members, they can’t do their work. Full stop. If someone needs their work approved before they can move onto the next step and no one is answering their emails or calls, they can’t work. No exceptions. If someone has a question they want to run by someone in another department that will change how they will approach their work and haven’t heard back, they can’t do their work. This is especially critical if you have remote workers who can’t ambush someone at their desk to get what they need. Limit your communication methods to one or two or maybe three different methods and ensure that those lines are high-functioning. For example, if email is one of the methods, make it clear that everyone is expected to check their email regularly. Any more than three different methods of communication used within the office, and you’re running the risk of people missing messages because they have too many platforms to keep an eye on.
Critically Examine Your Meetings
Meetings can suck away time faster than anything else in the workplace. Foremost, keep your meetings small; if someone doesn’t need to be there, don’t invite them to the meeting. Make it clear that anyone who feels like the meeting isn’t needed for them can leave. If someone needs to hear the outcome of the meeting but isn’t part of the decision-making process within the meeting, you can send them a quick email when it’s done. If someone doesn’t feel like they’re contributing in a meeting, make it clear they’re allowed to leave. If you don’t make this clear, you run the risk of several people attending a meeting because they got the invite (and feel obligated to attend for their job’s sake) who are sitting there thinking about all the other things they could be doing.
Allowing people to leave meetings whenever they feel like they shouldn’t be there will quickly illustrate to those who plan or host meetings who actually needs an invite. Furthermore, avoid having regularly scheduled meetings. These can be the worst time-sucks of all. Don’t have a meeting unless there is something that people need to talk face-to-face to address or figure out. If you have meetings every Thursday regardless of what needs to get done, you might find a lot of Thursday mornings to be a complete waste of everyone’s time.
Look Into Software
Many businesses look into software when they’re first starting out but don’t continue to check back and see if there are huge improvements in the industry’s software fields. Software, if appropriate for your work, can end up saving people a lot of time, meaning your staff have more time to focus on their work. OEE points out that software can drastically improve workplace productivity in a lot of ways, but foremost, does so because it can provide data about performance. If you’re keeping track of outcomes using software, you can take all that data and line it up and realize that people get far less done on Thursday mornings (what a coincidence, that’s when you have your pointless regular meeting) and Friday evenings (when the shipments come in). You can then use this information to rearrange the factors that are negatively influencing productivity.
Learn About Colour Psychology
This is another odd point that most people don’t think about that can make a huge difference in productivity. Colours, particularly if there are big areas covered in them (say, the paint on the walls or the carpet), have a big impact on people’s mental states. Think about the mood and energy that best contributes to the work that’s happening in your office. If you want to boost creativity, you might want more orange; if you want quick reaction times, you’re looking for reds; if you want a calm environment, blue might be the colour for your office. Despite grey being one of the worst colours for workplaces (it makes people feel dull and lonely), it is one of the most common colours used in offices.
Studies have shown that taking breaks actually does increase a person’s productivity. Beyond this, breaks help prevent burnout which will result in weeks of minimal or non-existent productivity. If people don’t give their mind and body breaks of their own volition, their bodies will do it for them.
The above tweaks should help you increase positivity in your workplace. Of course, every company culture is different, and this means that you also need to be taking into consideration your workplace’s unique energy and aims.