Team productivity drives success to companies in all industries. The role of the team leader is to help the team achieve better results without a professional burning-out. How do you increase team productivity and keep a healthy atmosphere in the office?
In his mid-30s a struggling writer named Eddie Morra had nothing except an alcohol dependence and a few unpublished novels. Eddie’s wife gave up a miserable life with an unsuccessful novelist, and his publisher was about to break the contract with him and leave him without a job.
Everything changes suddenly when Eddie takes a ‘magic pill’ that makes him incredibly productive. In one night he finishes his novel which turns out to be a success. With new pills, Eddie’s life gets better and he reaches the peak of his career.
You’ve probably recognized the protagonist of the well-known Limitless (2011) movie that was perfectly portrayed by Bradley Cooper (if not, we highly recommend that you watch it!). So if you watched this film, you’ll understand this obtrusive thought: how poor our everyday productivity really is!
Unfortunately, there is no magic pill to make you and your team twice as productive as you are now. However, motivated teamwork, a bunch of productivity tips and a collection of special productivity tools can also create magic.
In this article, we bring together tried-and-proven tactics and tips that will help you improve your personal productivity and boost the productivity of your team. Read on and beat the productivity weaknesses that your teammates are going through right now.
What is team productivity?
Team productivity is the quantity of work performed by the team during a certain period of time. Team productivity depends on an array of different factors. First of all, it is the productivity and skills of each member of the team. Second, the clarity and attainability of goals set by the company in general and team leader in particular. Also, the work environment, the level of motivation, and communication inside the team also affect productivity.
When speaking about teamwork, productivity usually describes the quantity of work, while effectiveness describes quality. However, being productive is impossible if long working hours don’t bring any palpable results. High performance of work is a crucial part of team productivity.
It’s also important to remember that productivity is a relative measure and it can’t be taken as profitability or revenue.
How to track and measure the productivity of your team?
As team performance is a relative measure, there is no unique formula to calculate it. This is why managers often use the general labor productivity equation for measuring both personal and team performance:
This formula is very straightforward and in the end, you don’t exactly know what can be considered as a perfect result. The correlation between total output and total input works mostly for companies that produce goods. Hence, it won’t be as useful for businesses that provide services or IT solutions.
While looking for ways to measure the productivity of your team, bear in mind that total outputs for different teams vary. Team performance depends on the specifics of your industry and what exactly your team is doing inside the company. The more exact numbers you put together, the better.
How to measure the performance of different teams?
Sales team. The sales team productivity results in the number of generated sales (obviously), signed contracts, activated accounts, etc. Compare these numbers with the number of working hours invested in work. Marketing team. The productivity of the marketing department is more difficult to measure. Brand marketing is a long-term investment compared to sales where you may see the real numbers. In this case, track the number of leads and customers delivered by different marketing channels (social media, AdWords, mailouts, newsletters and more).Customer support team. The productivity of the support team may be highlighted as the number of tasks and issues resolved for some certain period of time.
11 ways to increase team productivity right now
In this article, we have gathered 11 of the most simple and effective ways to boost the performance of your team. The more of them you apply to your everyday work, the sooner you’ll start getting measurable results in productivity.
1. Delegate responsibilities
Even though you’re a great professional with outstanding skills, the day has only 24 hours. This means that you can’t do all the work by yourself (unless you’re Hermione Granger or doing things by half measures). Don’t be afraid to delegate work to your team. In this way, you’ll increase personal productivity, save more time on important tasks and show trust to your team. Why else have you hired these talented peers?
2. Listen to your employees
Salesforce reports that employees who know that their voice is heard feel 4.6 times more motivated to perform better at work. Organize joint and personal meetings with your employees and listen to their ideas, feedback on new improvements or atmosphere in the office. Although keep in mind that frequent and time-consuming meetings are able to kill personal and team productivity.
3. Create and foster loyalty
Realizing the fact that your work is appreciated gives professional fulfillment and motivation, right? And professional fulfillment leads to higher productivity. So don’t hesitate to complement the great work of your team. And of course, your team should know how much value you put into their work. Remember: being a good boss may require support or even compassion from your side.
4. Organize effective and open communication
Open and clear communication is very important for successful and productive work. Lack of communication between the departments or even inside one team may lead to gaps in the final product and money losses for the company. Make sure that the processes of sharing updates, thoughts, and ideas as well as the сollaboration inside the team run smoothly.
5. Increase employees engagement
According to Gallup’s survey, highly-engaged businesses experience 17% productivity growth and show a 21% higher profitability. That’s why the most successful companies aspire to bring employee engagement into the center of their business strategy. Do your employees feel engaged?
6. Discover the strengths and weaknesses of your employees
Discovering people’s strengths will help you match them with the right tasks. And keeping them away from the unsuitable workflow will help you beat low productivity and avoid professional burnout. Get to know your employees and assign them the tasks where they can tap their full potential. In this way, you’ll increase the productivity of team members.
7. Set attainable goals
Nothing motivates better than knowing the fact that each following day you get closer to the final goal. In the best case scenario, your employees should be aware of both the company’s goals and their personal targets. The long-term business goals should be divided into attainable milestones. Otherwise, you run the risk of low team productivity caused by an inability to measure the results of hard work.
8. Provide learning and training opportunities
Often even the most hard-working people fail to improve their performance because of the lack of knowledge. This doesn’t mean that they’re non-professionals, it’s just that new and more sophisticated technologies, products and solutions pop up every month, and mastering them and using them in everyday work may drastically influence the team productivity. Let your employees learn something new. Who knows, maybe the key to higher productivity lies somewhere outside the office walls?
9. Schedule weekly meetings with employees
Meetings are considered to be one of the main time eaters throughout a workday. On the one side, they help quickly collect updates and find solutions to complicated tasks. On the other side, recurring meetings distract from work especially when people start going off topic and forget the real reason for the meeting. The Harvard Business Review surveyed 182 senior managers in a variety of industries and 65% of them said that meetings keep them from completing their own work. While 71% think that daily meetings are unproductive.
When planning the next meeting with your team ask yourself: do you really need to distract all those people from what they’re doing? Appreciate the time of your employees. Try to be short, when running meetings and invite only those who should be involved.
10. Create a positive work environment
It’s hard to believe that the work environment can become the bottleneck in a company’s growth. As it turns out, the office atmosphere can change a lot. And uncomfortable chairs have nothing to do with that. Ongoing noise, distracting talks, and even rumors have a negative effect on team productivity. If you’re a boss, keep the atmosphere friendly and conducive to productive work.
11. Be a good example of a team leader
You don’t have to be Miranda Priestly (The Devil Wears Prada) or Buddy Ackerman (Swimming with Sharks) to make people be more effective at work. It’s actually the other way around, in order to inspire your employees to perform better you should become a prime example of a mindful leader.
Lead the charge, do chitchats, help, teach, support and motivate your team. Present splendid time-management skills and a high level of professionalism. Always show how much you appreciate the work of your team and the results won’t be long in coming.
What should never be done
To maintain a high level of team productivity and a healthy atmosphere at the office, it’s better to avoid the following:
Putting pressure on your employees.Criticizing (especially publicly).Shouting (never, under no circumstances)Demonstrating your disappointment.Making people work extra hours if they can’t.Announcing war to procrastination.
By the way, procrastination might be inspiring and useful when limited:
How to improve team performance: The best productivity tools of 2019
When Veronica Gilrane, the manager of Google’s People Innovation Lab, asked 5600 Google employeesabout their productivity, she discovered an interesting fact. More happy and productive teams do at least three things differently from their colleagues.
First, they practice interpersonal chit-chatting before meetings or during breaks. Second, many of Google’s 10 000 employees work in different time zones. This is why team leaders regularly change the time for a weekly meeting. This approach can also be useful for those working in the same office, as some people are productive in the morning, while others ‒ after lunch. And third, Google’s most productive employees always try to be present, active and attentive during team meetings.
In addition to the mentioned tips and Google’s hacks to higher productivity, we gathered 5 of the best-in-category productivity tools to boost team effectiveness. All the tools were chosen based on the personal experience. If you have amazing productivity tools which helped your team, PM me and I’ll add them to the list.
1. NetHunt CRM for organizing your work with clients
NetHunt is both a CRM software and productivity tool that is integrated into Gmail. You need a CRM to keep your team on the same page regarding the relations with current or future customers. NetHunt CRM stores all the updates in the communication with clients as well as the overall progress of sales and marketing processes.
Why else does your team need CRM?
- Give up spreadsheets and save time on more important tasks
- Don’t waste a minute on navigating customers profiles
- Synchronize workflow between different departments
- Track sales and performance per employee
- Close deals right in your inboxSchedule follow-ups, bulk emails and more.
2. Chats and instant communication with Slack
Slack enables clear and effective communication inside the team. It aligns the work process of team members by providing an opportunity to send instant messages. Slack is integrated with a bunch of other services like Trello or Gmail, and it notifies you when something important happens in any of your workspaces.
3. Productive conference calls with Google Meet
Google Meet is a simple and free tool to schedule video or audio calls. It helps gather teams that are spread all over the world. If you’re out of the office for a business trip or some of your employees work remotely, Google Meet will ensure effective communication and productive teamwork.
4. Trello for planning and organizing teamwork
Even the busiest people and teams get their daily agenda organized with Trello. This app boasts an intuitive and playful interface with columns, cards, lists, and tasks which you can share with your team. You may also create notes or visualize your calendar. Trello won’t let you miss a meeting or break the deadline.
5. Jira for time tracking
With Jira, you can measure the time which your team invests in various tasks. Jira helps estimate the performance of every employee. It gives you updates on how much time left for a specific task to be done. Although you may use it to split bigger tasks into small ones and delegate them to different people. Jira visualizes the entire workflow of your team in general and occupation of every employee in particular.
Find more productivity tools and their alternatives here. All in all, team productivity depends on many things, but you can always improve it with the right approach, a few performance tips, and helpful tools.