Tip of the Week: Five Simple Steps Towards a More Productive Business
If asked, most business owners would likely rank “improving productivity” as one of their overall business goals—and for obvious reasons. Often less obvious, however, is how to go about accomplishing this particular goal. Here, we’ve put together five different but equally effective ways to do so.
Include Wellness Initiatives in Your Benefits
It should come as no surprise that any person’s productivity is going to be intrinsically tied to their overall state of being. Do they feel healthy? Are they stressed? Research has shown that the answers to these questions are directly tied to workplace performance, and it probably won’t shock you to hear that the better off your employees are, the more your business tends to benefit from it.
Therefore, any investment that you make into the overall well-being of your team can be considered, at least tangentially, an investment back into your business. Consider adding support for fitness programs and other holistic health activities into your benefits package if at all possible, and try to shape your company culture to focus more on your team’s well-being.
Simplify, Simplify, Simplify
What do your current business goals and objectives look like? What strategies do you have in place to accomplish these goals and objectives? While everyone loves it when a plan comes together, making that plan too convoluted only makes it less attainable.
When establishing business goals on any scale, you really do want to keep it simple. A straightforward plan with clear and achievable benchmarks established makes it far easier to not only communicate this goal, but determine the benchmarks and tasks that need to be met and fulfilled in order to accomplish it. A good way to do this is to follow the SMART goal format:
- Specific - What exactly is it that you want to achieve or accomplish?
- Measurable - Which metrics will determine your success?
- Attainable - Is the goal or benchmark you’re setting something that can realistically be accomplished?
- Relevant - Why is it that this goal is important to the greater mission or purpose you are striving towards?
- Timely - When specifically should this goal be accomplished?
Following this format will help you to make simpler, and critically, more effective goals for your team to strive for.
Streamline Notorious Time Wasters
On a related note, we all know that there are certain things in the office that eat up time—and sometimes, these things don’t necessarily need to be involved when there are alternatives available. Does a conversation really require a full meeting, or could it be conveyed perfectly well through an email, or even an instant message? Has a certain process grown to be too clunky to actually be of any value? Identifying these kinds of time sinks and reevaluating your approach can help nurture more opportunities to accomplish other things.
Likewise, it is important to strike a balance in your company culture. While the type of casual conversation associated with the water cooler is important (some might argue, critical) for team morale and collaboration, it is important not to overcorrect and have camaraderie turn into commotion. The same goes for activities like personal social media usage during work hours. Limiting these potential distractions to a reasonable, healthy level can help keep employees more engaged while actively working.
Invest Time in Evaluating Your Goals
Back on the subject of your business’ goals, you don’t want yours to go stale. Circumstances change all the time. Your goals might have to do the same in response. Make sure you are taking the time every so often to examine your progress towards accomplishing the benchmarks you’ve set and making tweaks to account for the situation you are in at a given time. Let’s say you had set a goal—ideally, using the SMART method described above—that pertained to a certain project, but the team member who was leading the charge suddenly had to go on leave. How will you adapt your process to account for this change, and how will this impact the goal you’ve set? Checking in and reconsidering what is reasonable will help you be more productive by simply maintaining your team’s motivation.
Discourage Hustle Culture
Hustle culture may sound like something to strive for to reach maximum productivity, but the opposite is often true. “Rise and grind,””work hard, play hard,””your goals don’t care how you feel,” and other mantras like them don’t always inspire productivity the way they can inspire workplace burnout and disconnection.
Want to know what can inspire and enable productivity? Things like a healthy work/life balance, breaks, and vacation time. It all ties back to the wellness aspects we discussed earlier. A well-rested and refreshed worker is a worker who can usually accomplish more than one who is, to use another maxim, “burning the candle at both ends.”
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