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Do you want to get more out of your department? Do you feel like you’re potentially leaving results on the table? If so, it may be time for a shakeup. Greater productivity could be on the other side of a few tweaks and changes.

3 Ways to Improve Productivity

When you think about the concept of productivity, it helps to attach some specificity to it. Think about what productivity means to you (and set concrete goals with specific metrics). For example: 

  • Is improving productivity about producing more physical units of a product per day? 
  • Is it about getting on the phone with more warm sales leads each day? 
  • Is it about utilizing ad spend more efficiently? 

It’s up to you to define what optimal productivity looks like so each individual team member is acutely aware of what’s expected. But regardless of what your goals are, here are several techniques you can use to squeeze every last drop of productivity out of your team:

Create More Functional Workspaces

Today’s office workspaces are often designed with beauty and aesthetics as the number one priorities. Functionality usually comes second. But that’s a big mistake.

There’s nothing wrong with having a beautiful or trendy office. (It can certainly be an attractive feature for employees who want to work in a place that makes them happy.) However, you can’t let form overtake function.

One of the biggest issues we’re seeing right now in the business world is an overabundance of open spaces. While open layouts were all the rage for a decade or two, we’ve come to realize that the noise and movement in these floor plans can negatively impact focus and productivity. If you have an open layout, there are things you can do to make the space more functional. 

“Minimize the intrusive effects of noise and movement by breaking up the wide-open spaces with bookcases, plants, shelves — anything that provides a change from row after row of desks,” Bond Collective suggests. “You can also incorporate a sense of privacy by separating work areas with large pieces of furniture, like filing cabinets or storage lockers.”

Even if you don’t have an open floor plan, there are ways to improve the functionality of individual workspaces. This may include investing in more ergonomically-friendly desks, chairs, and computer monitors. Or it might look like giving people more space to work. Ask your employees for feedback and they’ll certainly give you ideas. 

Leverage Automation

When in doubt, look for a way to automate processes. This is a sure-fire way to accelerate your productivity in a scalable way.

Artificial intelligence, cloud computing, and the growth of the Internet of Things (IoT) all pave the way for easier processes. For example, if you’re a fleet manager, a tool like Cetaris automates many of the fleet maintenance tasks that typically require lots of careful analysis and planning.

Incentivize and Motivate

There are plenty of elements of your business that you can automate and make more efficient. But in order to truly maximize productivity and output, you need the help of your human team members. And when it comes to people, there’s a softer side that must be accounted for.

As business owners or managers who have our earnings directly correlated to sales and performance, we’re very motivated to make things happen. So it’s often difficult to understand how employees feel. 

If they’re earning a fixed salary, working harder and trying to be more productive actually seems less appealing than moving at a steady and predictable pace. They simply don’t care as much, because they don’t have as much at stake.

If you want to light a fire underneath your team, try incentivizing them with things that get them excited. Money is obviously one option, but it’s not always the best. You can motivate people with time off, perks, recognition, etc. Just make sure you’re giving people a reason to care.

Small Tweaks, Big Changes

Sometimes it’s the smallest little tweaks that lead to the biggest changes. You don’t have to overhaul every single process or totally rewrite your company handbook. It could be as simple as redesigning a workspace, integrating a new tool, or coming up with a brand new incentive program. Don’t overthink this! Come up with a plan, execute on it, and then iterate until you get the results you’re looking for.