One of the golden rules for business efficiency is getting the most bang for the buck. This can also apply to managing and cultivating productive employees.
As business owners try to stretch their finite resources as far as possible, employees can become overworked, drained and unproductive. There are, however, strategies you can employ to help you enhance their enthusiasm, drive and productivity without having to crack the whip.
1. Enable a flexible workforce.
Just because you can work from 5 a.m. to midnight doesn't mean your employees can too. (And I wouldn't recommend working those types of hours either—resting and recharging is important for a business's growth.)
Individuals typically have their own peak hours, so try working in alignment with those to magnify their productivity. Consider creating schedules with your employees and then track their success by task completion, not hours. This can help encourage a results-oriented environment that is based on how much individuals each believe they can achieve.
Reevaluating this action plan on a 90-day or quarterly basis can help ensure that output reflects maximum potential, and can lead to more productive employees.
2. Empower employees to make their own decisions.
It can be time consuming to delegate roles to employees only to have them return to you with a million questions. You may be delegating the labor tasks but the decisions are effectively returning to you, which can create a bottleneck for productivity.
One way to avoid this is to empower your employees to make their own decisions. You can define not only the task parameters, but also what you want in an outcome. Instead of handing employees a script to follow, consider telling them that you want 50 sales made by the end of the week. Then, your employees can take the initiative to research potential buyers and make on-the-spot decisions to win their business.
3. Encourage employees to set up personal "library hours."
Email can be another inhibitor of productivity. With urgent notifications constantly being thrown in front of your workers, they can spend all day putting out little fires instead of being truly productive employees. This distraction can prevent them from prioritizing the work you both want to see completed.
Luckily, there are online devices and apps that establish “library hours," or times when email services and websites are selectively blocked. This can create scheduled sections of the day dedicated to uninterrupted work, even from you, so employees can focus on the goals that are important to them.
Calendars are also helpful in making to-do lists and prioritizing. These tools can assist your employees in making the most productive use of their time.
4. Offer your team collective down time.
Sometimes, the best way to make your team more productive is to make them do nothing.
Down time can be vital to strong mental health. Allowing your employees the chance to recharge their batteries can help them feel more driven and alert when they are working. Try planning collective, periodic breaks for the entire office. This can help your employees be more effective when they get back to work and also build rapport within the work community.
5. Establish a point person for tasks and projects.
Assigning a big project to a group of employees without establishing a point person can be a productivity crusher. When no one knows who is spearheading the work, there can be finger pointing between teammates when the due date comes.
Instead consider identifying who is accountable for getting the project done when you assign tasks. Not only can this provide the opportunity to delegate roles and present a more productive use of time, but it can also empower productive employees to make decisions and pursue tasks that interest them.
6. Feed your employees' passions.
When your employees are passionate about what they are doing, they may be more likely to feel more empowered and invested in their work.
Aligning your employees' personal goals with those of the company can give them the chance to build up their skills in areas that both interest them and advance the business. When they are fully invested in their work, employees may be more committed to seeing the job through, putting in the extra push that makes them proud to put their names on the final product.
7. Hold employees accountable to their work.
If employees know that they will be held accountable for their work, they may be more likely to complete it. Publicly praising your employees in front of their colleagues can serve as incentive and motivation to work hard. You could provide an opportunity for employees to be vocal about their daily goals and whether or not they are fulfilled by the end of the day. This may help encourage them to finish their to-do lists or else risk letting their teammates down.
Overworking employees may not be the best way to increase their productivity. These strategies can help enhance your employees' efficiency and also create a collaborative work environment that makes them excited to come to work every day.
Learn more ways to get business done.
Photo: Getty Images