It's that time of year again. Offices throughout the country are filled with employee betting pools, interoffice trash-talking and constant score-checking to keep up with the day's games. The growing excitement during this time can make it somewhat challenging to keep the office focused. Check out our tips below to learn how to be productive as a team without missing out on the fun.
According to a study done by Atlassian, a company that develops project management software, employees spend an estimated 31 hours in unproductive meetings each month—almost an entire full-time work week.1 Make a point to review and reduce the number of weekly meetings that your team is required to attend. Demonstrate respect for others' time during necessary meetings by starting promptly and concluding in an efficient manner.
When it comes to maintaining a successful work-life balance, flexibility is the key. Netflix's former chief talent officer Patty McCord is one of the great minds behind the hugely influential company culture presentation from 2011.2 "We don't track hours worked per day or per week,” she states. “So why are we tracking days of vacation per year?"
Even if unlimited PTO isn't an option for your team, consider offering flexible scheduling or providing a work-from-home option each week. Demonstrating consideration for your team's schedules can easily motivate them to stay focused and work efficiently when their needs are met.
Encourage collaboration and involvement.
Establishing a collaborative culture is one of the biggest challenges in business, but it can lead to increased productivity when members of a team are working together towards a common goal. Some employees may be hesitant to speak up and become more involved without a little encouragement. It's your responsibility to make your team feel comfortable sharing their ideas and, when appropriate, implementing the proposed solutions.
To do this, it's important to make sure that everyone understands the roles of their respective team members and the driving forces behind each person's contributions. Once there is a clear understanding of each individual's responsibilities and areas of expertise, it becomes easier to empower them to share what they know, helping your team to work more collaboratively and efficiently towards a collective goal.
Listen to your team.
As a leader, it's easy to lose sight of what the members of your team actually enjoy doing each day. There are always projects that aren't necessarily fun but still need to be done at the end of the day. That doesn't mean you shouldn't find out what types of work your employees thrive on, what they're excited about and where their talents truly shine within their roles. Ask them about their recent work, and find out what they enjoyed about it—as well as what they didn't. The more you know about your team's talents and frustrations, the easier it is to assign projects that keep them happy and on task, resulting in a more positive and motivated work environment for everyone.
Offer growth opportunities.
Take the time to ask your team about their plans and ideas for the future, and provide relevant advice or suggestions when appropriate. Encourage them to explore professional conferences, course offerings and certifications that will expand their professional knowledge and contribute to their personal development even beyond your organization. Employees who believe their employer is invested in them often become more loyal—and therefore more inclined to remain with the company—more engaged while in the office, and more willing to put aside distractions in order to help the bottom line. Emphasizing a people-first work culture and a feeling of mutual investment is key in learning how to increase productivity as a team.
1 Retrieved on October 30, 2017, from atlassian.com/time-wasting-at-work-infographic
2 Retrieved on October 30, 2017, from slideshare.net/reed2001/culture-1798664