Thousands of books on management are published and bought daily, and there’s a wealth of information available for anyone. After sifting a little bit through the literature, one begins to see that, although people vary on a lot of different things and a lot of different management styles, there are specific ideas on how to improve workplace productivity that stay the same all across the board. Here they are, in no particular order:
- Hire people that fit in with company culture
A company is made up of people, and getting the right people for your team—the type of people that fit your core culture—can be a long but invaluable process. Getting the right person for your team culture results in increased productivity and overall motivation, according to Keith Tatley, Founder of Manager Foundation. Hire people who will energize everyone else, people who are self-motivated, professional, and approachable, or dynamic and full of ideas. Whoever fits your company culture will be the best choice for you and your company as well as overall productivity in the office, so make sure you choose wisely!
- Give your employees clear goals with OKRs
OKRs (Objective and Key Results) are great tools for setting, communicating, and monitoring quarterly goals and results in organizations on a company-wide as well as on a personal scale for each employee. Let employees in on the company goals and let them set their own goals accordingly. “OKRs are clear vessels for leaders’ priorities and insights,” John Doerr says in his book Measure What Matters. “By clearing the line of sight to everyone’s objectives, OKRs expose redundant efforts and save time and money.” Be transparent and communicate the company goals to your employees and watch them become rockstars.
- Empower employees; don’t micromanage them
Ever had a boss that wouldn’t stop looking over your shoulder, literally or figuratively speaking? Sometimes both? Nothing kills motivation and productivity more than micromanagement, for the simple reason that people don’t work like machines. If you manage people less, you’ll likely get better results because people are more motivated by autonomy than by money. And by learning not to micromanage, you cut off a vicious cycle at its root. When managers hover, employees get nervous and perform a little worse than they usually would, which in turn makes managers continue to hover. Trust your employees to be independent and know how to manage their time. If you have good employees, then they will. If they don’t, then maybe it’s time to look into changing your recruitment process to make sure you get people who fit into the company culture.
- Make sure everyone is healthy
This honestly sounds like simple, common sense, “no duh” advice but a lot of people forget to take care of their bodies. Sniffly, sick employees aren’t the most productive employees in the world. The occasional office health drive and annual check-ups are critical for healthy, productive workplaces. Employees that have a little too much (ahem) fun over the weekend might need detox kits to help them pass routine health checks or just keep their systems healthy and toxin free. Remind employees that too much drinking and partying over the weekend lowers their immune systems. Think about setting up a nice juice bar on Monday mornings to help them power through the hardest day of the week (next to Friday).
- Make sure workplace conditions are optimum for productivity
Meaning the temperature shouldn’t be too hot or too cold, that people have comfortable chairs and desks that don’t give them stiff necks and backs at the end of the day. There are scientific ways to make sure that the monitor is tilted at the right angle or set at the right brightness setting. The right workplace environment also has a lot to do with people, which again brings us back to our first point: you want to know that your employees fit into the company culture. You don’t want to bring anyone defeatist or gossipy or someone who complains a lot into your team, because that sort of thing spreads.
In the end, there is no one size fits all solution to increasing productivity in the workplace. Everyone is different and different things work for different people, different companies. The main, most important thing is to try different things until something sticks. And love what you do! Happy people are the most productive people in the world. That’s proven by science, too.