Doing the work you are supposed to do has never been harder. We live in a world filled with distractions and easily accessible entertainment. With so much hyper-stimulation in our lives, slowing down and concentrating for a few minutes requires herculean efforts.
On the other hand, being productive in a modern office environment comes with its own set of challenges. So, what can we do to summon the willpower necessary to do our best work? How can we escape the vicious cycle of chronic procrastination and just get things done?
In other words, how can you become more productive at work? How can you make each day at the office count? How can you achieve the results you are after?
To answer these questions, we need to understand the conditions that make us productive. Here we will take a closer look at the topics of individual and group productivity at work.
List of Contents
The role of productivity in the workplace
To put it simply, productivity is the general term used to describe the amount of work output by individual workers, teams, and departments within companies and organizations. It is viewed by employers as a highly desirable quality in knowledge and creative employees. It is the holy grail for companies and organizations that rely on the productivity of each individual in order to be successful.
Historically, through the advancement of technology (computers, software, email, applications) office workers were able to increase their productivity significantly compared to past decades. But at the same time, many knowledge workers struggle to be productive due to distractions such as social media and digital content, as well as personal issues like occupational burnout, depression, and chronic procrastination.
But at its core, productivity is not just about work volume. We have to consider the fact that at the end of the day, success is measured by the results that we can achieve.
There are many factors that affect the productivity of office workers. Personal motivation, wage, work environment, benefits, rest and leisure, and overall life satisfaction play an important role in individual productivity while management, office communication, company culture, and Inter-coworker relationships strongly affect the productivity of teams and entire departments.
How to increase your productivity at work
There are two basic conditions that you need in order to have high work productivity.
Energy and concentration.
If one of these is lacking, chances are you are not going to be doing a whole lot of quality work. So the most basic thing you can do is to ensure you get quality rest, plenty of sleep, eat healthy, and focus on work. Of course, we at Office Topics know very well that it is not as simple as that. So here you can take a look at some useful productivity tips and strategies that you can adopt today.
#1. Wake up early. Among the productivity tips at work, this is one of the most widely reported productivity hacks by highly successful people. And it is pretty simple. Just wake up a bit earlier to get some things out of the way so you can get to work.
#2. Plan your tasks for the day. Dedicate at least ten minutes to imagine how your workday will go.
#3. Do your MITs first. MIT stands for ‘most important task’ and you should focus on those. If you are wondering how to improve your work performance and productivity, then simply spend your first hour at work focused on the most important project without any distractions. This will put you in an effective work mode for the rest of the day.
#4. Don’t multitask. Focus on one task at a time, starting with the most important ones. Multitasking is associated with stress, reduced productivity, and anxiety. Take on a new work task only when you have finished the previous one. Otherwise, you will get lost in multitasking and sabotage yourself.
#5. Track your workflow. Keep a tab on the time it takes you to perform certain tasks. This way you will gain a better understanding of your working pace.
#6. Set deadlines. Based on the time it takes you to finish certain tasks, start setting your own deadlines so you can do more work in a shorter span.
#7. Take small breaks from time to time. This will energize you and you will return to work more focused.
#8. Be organized. Bringing as much order as possible into your day will actually make you more creative and inventive. This way you will be more productive.
#9. Bring order to your email. Use tags and create folders to organize everything. Unsubscribe from sources that are distracting and minimize the spam.
#10. No lyrics. If you have to listen to music to concentrate, opt for something low-sound with no lyrics. Listening to your favorite emotionally charged tunes might actually be taxing and distracting.
#11. Stay hydrated. You might the type to forget about the basic human needs when you immerse yourself in work. Just fill a bottle of water and keep on your desk. Take a sip or two from time to time.
#12. No food on the desk. Make your workstation/desk a no-food-zone. Don’t be tempted to snack on something while you work. Instead, take a reasonable break and have a wholesome meal for lunch.
#13. Declutter your desk. Take a good look at what you have on it and get rid of things that you don’t really need. Maybe keep one or two sentimental items but make sure the rest is gone.
#14. Leave personal matters for the after-hours. Don’t distract yourself with things that you are unable to solve at the time anyway because you are at work.
#15. Use your commuting time to do something useful. Check your email, reply to a few messages, whatever. Avoid that mindless state of scrolling through your social media.
#16. Minimize distractions. When you arrive at work, turn off the social media notifications. Answer only to emergency calls and messages
#17. Learn to delegate. Carefully delegate tasks and outsource them when possible. This way you will have more time to work on the really important stuff.
#18. Don’t be a yes-man. You have a role in your team that comes with certain main duties. In case someone is trying to push a task on you that interferes with those duties, then politely decline.
#19. Efficiency through technology. Is there some piece of software or hardware that can make your work easier? For example, do you have to alt-tab a lot? Then ask for a second monitor. Just think of how much time this will save you in a year.
#20. Solve similar tasks in bulk. For example, have a designated time to take care of mundane recurring tasks. This way you won’t skip them and forget doing them the next week.
#21. Back up your work regularly. That feeling of losing something you’ve worked on for hours is absolutely soul-crushing and it can ruin your day.
#22. Learn software shortcuts. Do you use a lot of software in your line of work? Then it is high-time you learn all the shortcuts to start saving time. All of them.
#23. Eat smart. Resort to foods that keep you alert and energetic, with plenty of protein and complex carbohydrates. Don’t be tempted by greasy and sugary meals that will make you want to nap for a couple of hours. Visit the office health section for more tips on eating healthy.
#24. Move more. Walk more. Exercise regularly. Do cardio. Be active. This will translate to your ability to focus on work and be more productive. You will feel better and you will look better.
#25. Prioritize your tasks in a sensible way. Make sure there is constant progress on the most important things.
#26. Find ways to isolate yourself. Do you need complete isolation to focus better? Maybe do a work-from-home day or just lock yourself somewhere in the office and tell everyone to give you a few hours.
#27. Fix your sleep pattern. Do you have a messy sleep schedule? This shouldn’t go on. Consider how much sleep you need to function properly the next day and make sure you get those precious Z’s.
#28. Reach for inspiration. Make a habit of reading something inspirational each day. A daily dose of positivity can go a long way.
#29. Reward yourself. Especially when you complete some important work. This way you will be more inclined to do even more great work.
#30. Don’t fall into procrastination. Instead, rewire your mindset toward the idea that getting over with unpleasant tasks will free you from their mental burden.
#31. Mistakes and risks are okay. Don’t beat yourself up about past mistakes. Instead, take the most important lessons and focus on improvement. And don’t be afraid of calculated risks. Remember that without risks, there are no rewards.
#32. Use caffeine strategically. Don’t sip on coffee just because you like it. Otherwise, your body will build resistance to caffeine and it won’t be as effective when you really need that power boost.
How to increase team productivity in office settings
If you have the willpower and internal motivation, then you will surely be able to increase your personal productivity.
But what about influencing others and increasing the entire office productivity? The modern workplace is very complex and it can seem hectic at times. How can we motivate the people we work with to do more, be more proactive, and work towards achieving the results that benefit them personally as well as the organization they are a part of. Well, here are some of the best office productivity tips.
#1. Fewer meetings. Too many meetings have been associated with lower productivity. A lot of talk with no action. Think about all the work meetings that happen throughout the week and how many of them are essential.
#2. Minimize group distractions. If you are wondering how to increase productivity in the office, then you have to start by eliminating the distractions. Don’t interact with your coworkers when they send you distracting content. They’ll probably get the message and stop bothering you. And try not to be a distraction yourself. Think twice before sending that cat video in the team chat.
#3. Collaborations. Collaborate with your coworkers more often. As they say, two heads think better than one. Teamwork is fun and it is an essential part of improving office productivity.
#4. Automation is your friend. Consider what processes at work could be done in a more efficient manner and look into automation solutions. There is so much software that you can resort to. Financial, customer management, communication, etc.
#5. Templates and procedures. Create templates for repetitive tasks such as reports, tickets, mass emails, and so on, so everyone can benefit from them.
#6. Hold small daily meetings. Is your team easily distracted? Do they need constant reminders of what is important? Start your workdays with small meetings and discuss what needs to be done for the day.
#7. Spread positivity. Even if you are the most negative person on the inside, act optimistic and spread positivity among your coworkers. This will boost team morale and should translate into improved productivity.
#8. Communication efficiency. Establish a clear line of communication with your team. Set proper channels for the types of information that is being exchanged if you are serious about increasing productivity in the office.
#9. Talk about productivity. Ask your colleagues how they stay productive and if they are even aware of the idea that they can do something about it.
#10. Leave negativity behind. If you have clients or colleagues who are only trouble, then maybe it’s time to ditch them.
#11. Effective brainstorming. Do brainstorming sessions the proper way. Everyone is allowed to say whatever they like and no idea is too wild.
#12. Smart project management. Think carefully about the people you involve in your projects. Don’t include a person just because. Make sure everyone involved serves a purpose.
#13. Give space and ownership. Some people need space to thrive. Don’t breathe in their necks. Let them do their job and grant them ownership of their projects. This way they will feel free to be creative and become more diligent and reliant.
#14. Smart delegation. Learn more about the people you work with. What are their strengths and weaknesses? Use your newfound understanding
#15. Boost morale. Did somebody do a good job? Praise them. Do team members seem cold and self-absorbed? It is time for a team-building event. Is there a hint of demotivation? Gather your team members and discuss your plans, future projects, and the direction of your company.
#16. Set goals and targets. Big projects can seem scary. So you have to set milestones for your team. Break down your big plans for growth and success into smaller chunks that are easier to manage and complete.
#17. Regular feedback. In case you are in a managerial position, make sure to give regular feedback to your team members. This way you will show them that you care about their performance. And make the effort to ask them about feedback as well. This will increase their engagement.
Related Office Topics
Personal and work-related habits can have a profound effect on your productivity at work. If you follow some tried and tested office productivity tips, then you will be able to bring yourself to high levels of alertness and energy through concentration, daily routines, and even multitasking.
Resting periods and small breaks can also have a profound impact on your ability to be productive as this allows you to recharge your energy and restore your mental fortitude. Resting and relaxation are important factors for the prevention and delay of occupational burnout, which is considered a strong productivity and creativity killer.
In the “Habits” section of Office Topics, you will find useful guides that help you make behavioral changes that can make you more productive, and therefore, more successful.
Creativity (in the sense of ‘inventiveness’) is another highly desirable quality in individual workers and managers. Alert and creative individuals are often noticed and promoted due to their superior problem-solving skills and ability to form new and valuable concepts.
Creative thinking finds application in the optimization of processes which is why it can be considered an indirect driver of productivity. It is generally considered that the creativity of a person can be evoked if they are provided with certain resources and levels of autonomy.
This section of the site is dedicated to boosting the inventive and ideation qualities of team members.
Personal and external motivation are highly correlated to one’s ability to perform their work duties at peak levels. On the other hand, the lack of motivation is a strong productivity killer. Organizations and companies invest in a wide variety of motivational factors in order to increase the satisfaction levels and productivity of their employees.
The most commonplace motivational aspects include social and health benefits, paid leave, incentives, workplace improvements, and amenities. In recent years, gamification of the work processes and integrated services have also been introduced.
The ‘Motivation’ section aims to carefully outline what employers, managers, and employees can do to motivate themselves and others in terms of professional goals and productivity.
Individuals, teams and departments can increase productivity in the office through improved efficiency. Depending on the nature of the work and the company’s financial capabilities, efficiency can be improved through technological solutions and various strategies.
For example, a company’s financial department might decide to invest in a software that reduces certain operational costs or the architectural department of a building company might benefit from a 3D printer. Outsourcing is another common strategy that has been used by companies in the last few decades.
The ‘Efficiency’ section is dedicated to strategies and methods that optimize the work of teams and departments which ultimately leads to higher productivity.
Technological advancements have revolutionized efficiency and production. Nowadays it is common for companies and organizations to invest in technological solutions in order to boost productivity.
In certain areas of production and professional fields, technological automation has entirely replaced the need for human involvement. In turn, many specialists are looking into ways to boost their efficiency and productivity through technology.
This section is dedicated to figuring out viable applications of technology that can improve the work output of individuals, teams, and departments.