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7 Strategies to Increase Productivity in the Workplace

7 Strategies to Increase Productivity in the Workplace

As an employer, you know that increasing productivity in the workplace can be very beneficial for your business which is why you always strive to get the best out of your employees.

You also know that it’s not always the easiest thing to do.

Productivity in the workplace refers to how efficiently and effectively your employees achieve the goals and tasks set out for them.

Depending on the type of business you run, what constitutes as employee productivity may look a little different from company to company. Increased productivity could mean achieving a higher customer satisfaction rate, meeting earlier deadlines, or creating products in a more timely manner.

It’s worth noting that productivity shouldn’t always be measured by the amount of hours someone works. Instead, it should be measured by the work they put into their hours.

For instance, just because someone stays back and does a lot of overtime, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re being more productive than someone who has only worked the standard 40 hours. They both may have achieved the same amount of work, but it just took the former longer to do.

So, how can you increase productivity in the workplace? Here are seven strategies to try out:

1. Arm Employees with the Right Tools

Providing your employees with the right tools to do their work is a given. But the type of tools you arm them with can make a world of difference to how they work.

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An example of some tools you could use:

Be mindful when selecting tools and make sure you weigh up all of your options.

You may be inclined to go for the brand that is cheaper, but if it has less features and capabilities than one that costs a little bit more; then you may find that your employees will have to put in twice the effort or take twice as long to complete the task. Which, in the end, won’t save you as much as you had initially thought.

Here’re more productivity apps options you may want to consider: 18 Best Time Management Apps and Tools (2019 Updated)

2. Invest in Training and Development

As an employer, it’s in your best interest to ensure that your employees grow and develop while they work for you. Sometimes, the nature of a job may change and naturally, you’d want your employee to be able to keep up. Investing in training and development can ensure exactly that.

Not only is it beneficial for them, but it will be for the company as well. Up-skilling your employees will not only widen their skillset, but it can spur them to do a better job. Your willingness to invest in developing their skills shows them that you’re committed to their growth and development, which will hopefully inspire them to invest just as much hard work into the business.

A more knowledgeable and skilled group of employees can help shape the future of your business. In order to compete with the best and succeed, you have to keep up with trends and changing methods. Investing in training and development can encourage growth at an individual level and at the business level as well.

3. Avoid Micromanaging

In an employee’s eyes, there is nothing worse than an employer that micromanages.

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Not only does micromanaging demonstrate to your employees that you’re a little bit controlling, but it can also indicate that don’t trust them enough to do a good job on their own. And if there’s a lack of trust, then how can you expect your employees to be motivated to work productively?

Once you allocate a task or project, set your expectations, offer some instructions, then let your employees be. Always be available if they need to ask questions, but let them take control of their own work.

By not monitoring their every move and telling them what and how to do things, you’re allowing your employees to learn and to make decisions for themselves.

Another reason why you should steer clear from micromanaging is that by not hovering over your employees’ shoulders while they do complete their assigned tasks, it frees up time in your busy schedule to catch up on your own work.

4. Establish Transparency

Your employees are the heart and soul of your business, keeping them engaged and in the loop is imperative to the operation of your business.

A lack of transparency towards your employees can decrease productivity in the workplace. If you leave employees in the dark with company information, then it could damage any trust built.

The level of transparency that can be offered to employees is different in every business. What you choose to share is, of course, up to your discretion and business policy. However, at the very least, information such as results and updates on what’s going on in the business should be shared to encourage a productive workplace.

Conducting regular catch ups is a good way to keep transparency across the company. It doesn’t have to be anything formal or take too much time. Depending on the size of your business, you can do it by departments and do casual team huddles every morning where everyone discusses what they’re doing and employees are updated on company-wide news.

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5. Authorize Flexible Work

Being able to skip the rush hour commute and working in the comfort of your own home is something many office workers dream of. According to the Future Workforce Report 2019[1] which surveyed over 1,000 US hiring managers, remote work has become the new normal. By 2028, it is believed that 73% of departments will have remote workers with 33% of full-timers working remotely.

Implementing a flexible workforce can become an added perk that motivates employees to work more productively. Having this flexibility is not only attractive to those who want to work at home, but also for parents and employees who have other commitments that may run at the same time as regular work hours.

For the employees who’ve proven their hard work, you can reward them by negotiating a schedule which allows them to work remotely once a month or so. It establishes trust and gives them a sense of independence. It also opens up a new way of working which could possibly see a more productive result for some workers.

6. Promote Health and Wellbeing

Employees’ health and wellbeing plays a significant role in increasing productivity in the workplace. Your brain is like a muscle, the more it works without a proper rest, the quicker it can tire out. And the last thing you want is for one of your employees to tire out.

Drinking lots of water and maintaining a healthy diet is also important for keeping focus and concentrating at work. While you don’t want to dictate what your employees eat, you can encourage a balanced diet by providing healthy snacks such as fruit and nuts.

A great way to promote health and wellbeing is to make sure your employees actually take their lunch breaks and to do so away from their desks. Office workers lead sedentary lifestyles, so permit your employees time throughout the day to stretch their legs or to get some fresh air.

7. Create a Comfortable Workspace

Most people who work full-time in an office spend a huge chunk of their waking hours chained to their desks. Which is why it’s important to ensure that they’re working in comfortable surroundings.

Research has suggested that environmental factors such as lighting, temperature, and noise conditions can impact concentration and productivity in the workplace.[2] And employees who are happy with their physical environment are more likely to produce better results.

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As an employer, you can make arrangements to ensure that the office is organized for optimal productivity:

Check that there is fresh air and natural lighting coming from windows. If you don’t have the luxury of a window, install good quality light bulbs that don’t give off fluorescent lighting.

Another worthwhile investment is ergonomic equipment. While they seem expensive at first, it could actually save the business more in the long run. Think of the time and money saved on compensation for back problems or carpal tunnel syndrome.

Final Thoughts

There are many perks to increasing productivity in the workplace. It can drive profits, reduce operational costs, maximize resources, and improve customer service. Other notable things it can bring are a boost in employee engagement and an overall happy and healthy work environment.

Engaged employees are some of your business’s best asset. When an employee puts more effort and zeal into their work, they take pride in what they’re doing and are happy to be part of a team. Not only can this be economically beneficial, but it also reduces the chances of them moving onto another company.

Increasing productivity in the workplace is something every employer aspires to do, but it’s not always the easiest thing to deliver. You have to motivate your employees to do their job the most efficiently and the most effective way possible and to do that, you need strategies in place.

While the aforementioned seven may not magically transform your employees to be the most productive bunch overnight, implementing one or a few can drive them in the right direction.

More Articles About Workplace Productivity

Featured photo credit: Damian Patkowski via unsplash.com

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Dinnie Muslihat

Writer, content marketer & productivity enthusiast

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Last Updated on September 24, 2020

17 Ways Learn New Skills Faster and Enjoy the Process

17 Ways Learn New Skills Faster and Enjoy the Process

In the movie The Matrix, everyone was intrigued with the ability that Neo and his friends possessed to learn new skills in a matter of seconds. With the incredible rise in technology today, the rapid learning in the movie is becoming much more of a reality than you realize.

The current generation has access to more knowledge and information than any before it. Through the internet, we are able to access all sorts of knowledge to answer almost every conceivable question. To become smarter, it’s more about the ability to learn faster, rather than being a natural born genius.

Here are 17 ways to kickstart your Matrix-style learning experience in a short amount of time.

1. Deconstruct and Reverse Engineer

Break down the skill that you want to learn into little pieces and learn techniques to master an isolated portion. The small pieces will come together to make up the whole skill.

For example, when you’re learning to play the guitar, learn how to press down a chord pattern with your fingers first without even trying to strum the chord. Once you are able to change between a couple of chord patterns, then add the strumming.

2. Use the Pareto Principle

Use the Pareto Principle, which is also known as the 80 20 rule. Identify the 20% of the work that will give you 80% of the results. Find out more about the 80 20 rule here: What Is the 80 20 Rule (And How to Use It to Boost Productivity)

Take learning a new language for example. It does not take long to realize that some words pop up over and over again as you’re learning. You can do a quick search for “most commonly used French words,” for example, and begin to learn them first before adding on the rest.

3. Make Stakes

Establish some sort of punishment for not learning the skill that you are seeking. There are sites available that allow you to make a donation toward a charity you absolutely hate if you do not meet your goals. Or you can place a bet with a friend to light that fire under you.

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However, keep in mind that several studies have shown that rewards tend to be more motivating than punishment[1].

4. Record Yourself

Seeing yourself on video is a great way to learn from your mistakes and identify areas that you need to improve. This is very effective for any musicians, actors, speakers, performers, and dancers.

5. Join a Group

There are huge benefits to learning in a group. Not only are you able to learn from others but you’ll be encouraged to make progress together. Whether it’s a chess club, a mastermind group, or an online meet-up group, get connected with other like-minded individuals.

6. Time Travel

Visit the library. Although everything is moving more and more online, there are still such things called libraries.

Whether it’s a municipal library or your university library, you will be amazed at some of the books available there that are not accessible online. Specifically, look for the hidden treasures and wisdom contained in the really old books.

7. Be a Chameleon

When you want to learn new skills, imitate your biggest idol. Watch a video and learn from seeing someone else do it. Participate in mimicry and copy what you see.

Studies have shown that, apart from learning,[2]

“Mimicry is an effective tool not only to create ties and social relationships, but also for maintaining them.”

Visual learning is a great way to speed up the learning process. YouTube has thousands of videos on almost every topic available.

8. Focus

Follow one course until success! It’s easy to get distracted, to throw in the towel, or to become interested in the next great thing and ditch what you initially set out to do.

Ditch the whole idea of multitasking, as it has been shown to be detrimental and unproductive Simply focus on the one new skill at hand until you get it done.

9. Visualize

The mind has great difficulty distinguishing between what is real and what is imagined. That is why athletes practice mentally seeing their success before attempting the real thing[3].

Visualize yourself achieving your new skill and each step that you need to make to see results. This is an important skill to help when you’re learning the basics or breaking a bad habit.

Take a look at this article to learn how to do so: How to Become a Person Who Can Visualize Results

10. Find a Mentor

Success leaves clues. The best short cut to become an expert is to find an expert and not have to make the mistakes that they have made.

Finding out what NOT to do from the expert will fast-track your learning when you want to learn new skills. It is a huge win to have them personally walk you through what needs to be done. Reach out and send an email to them.

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If you need help learning how to find a mentor, check out this article.

11. Sleep on It

Practice your new skill within four hours of going to sleep.

Josh Kaufman, author of The Personal MBA, is a noted rapid learning expert. He says that any practice done within this time frame causes your brain to embed the learning more rapidly into its neural pathways. Your memory and motor-mechanics are ingrained at a quicker level.

12. Use the 20-Hour Rule

Along with that tip, Kaufman also suggests 20 as the magic number of hours to dedicate to learning the new skill.

His reasoning is that everyone will hit a wall early on in the rapid learning stage and that “pre-committing” to 20 hours is a sure-fire way to push through that wall and acquire your new skill.[4]

Check out his video to find out more:

13. Learn by Doing

It’s easy to get caught up in reading and gathering information on how to learn new skills and never actually get around to doing those skills. The best way to learn is to do.

Regardless of how unprepared you feel, make sure you are physically engaged continuously. Keep alternating between research and practice.

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14. Complete Short Sprints

Rather than to force yourself into enduring hours upon hours of dedication, work in short sprints of about 20-30 minutes, then get up and stretch or take a short walk. Your brain’s attention span works best with short breaks, so be sure to give it the little rest it needs.

One study found that, between two groups of students, the students who took two short breaks when studying actually performed better than those who didn’t take breaks[5].

15. Ditch the Distractions

Make sure the environment you are in is perfect for your rapid-learning progress. That means ditching any social media, and the temptation to check any email. As the saying goes, “Out of sight, out of mind.”

Before you sit down to learn new skills, make sure that potential distractions are far from sight.

16. Use Nootropics

Otherwise known as brain enhancers, these cognitive boosters are available in natural herbal forms and in supplements.

Many students will swear by the increased focus that nootropics will provide[6], particularly as they get set for some serious cramming. Natural herbal nootropics have been used for thousands of years in Ayurvedic traditions to improve the mind and learning.

Find out more about brain supplements in this article.

17. Celebrate

For every single small win that you experience during the learning process, be sure to celebrate. Your brain will release endorphins and serotonin as you raise your hands in victory and pump your fits. Have a piece of chocolate and give yourself a pat on the back. This positive reinforcement will help you keep pushing forward as you learn new skills.

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The Bottom Line

Learning a new skill should be exciting and fun. Whether you use online courses, real world experience, YouTube videos, or free online resources, take time to learn in the long term. Keep picturing the joy of reaching the end goal and being a better version of yourself as continual motivation.

More Tips on How to Learn New Skills

Featured photo credit: Elijah M. Henderson via unsplash.com

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