The concept of “working” has changed drastically over the past decade. Tasks that were once relegated to a dark cubicle can now be completed virtually, so much so that in a 2017 survey, 43% of Americans claimed to have spent some time working from home throughout the year. Projects, too, have undergone a sort of metamorphosis. But instead of becoming more siloed, the majority of project-related tasks require increased connectivity.
Both the changes in workplace environments and increased connectivity mean that people need to be more efficient and more organized than ever. So to help you out, we’ve rounded up our top ten tips to maximize productivity — everything from actually taking a lunch break to consolidating communication.
1. Get Organized
Nothing hinders productivity quite like disorganization. And we don’t mean a messy desk (although that can become a problem, too) — we’re referring to things like haphazard project management, overlap on task assignments, and inefficient meetings. Especially with the increase in people working from home, organization and planning amongst teams is more crucial than ever. We recommend utilizing project management and communication software like Slack or Hive to help get your team’s ducks in a row.
2. Take Time for Lunch
This may sound obvious, but people forget to actually take a lunch break. Research shows that people who take regular, 40-minute-plus lunch breaks perform better at their jobs afterward when compared to those who opt out. So, go ahead, have your cake and eat it, too (cake for lunch is normal, right?); you and your team will be better off because of it.
3. Be Honest
This should go without saying, but it needs repeating: Always aim to be as honest as possible in every team or business discussion, transaction, decision, you name it. Honesty is a hallmark of effective, productive, growth-based leadership.
Why? It’s simple: Honesty promotes healthy change while dishonestly breeds a culture of secrecy and scarcity. Surveys and studies show that people who work in an environment where they don’t trust or believe their fellow employees are unhappy and dissatisfied. That doesn’t sound productive.
4. Use AI
AI (Artificial Intelligence) has become a buzz-word over the last decade. But how can it help you at work? You can use AI to automate certain email response, filter through qualitative tasks, and predict workload throughout the week. Hive integrates AI in the platform itself, providing real-time notifications powered by machine learning which will alert you to anomalies in your team’s productivity, therefore maximizing productivity.
5. Take Naps
Fun Fact: People who are working while sleep deprived greatly underperform. Falling asleep at your desk might be some people’s worst nightmare, but it could be time to rethink that mentality. Research shows that small, even twenty-minute nap can give you as much energy as a cup of coffee. So, if you’ve got the resources, go the way of Google and look into installing a special relaxation space for employees.
But, obviously, napping is still no substitute for a good night’s sleep. If you’re starting to notice one (or more) of our team members looking chronically tired, think about scheduling a one-on-one meeting to see how you can help balance their workload.
6. Create Boundaries
Boundary setting is an important, if not the most important, part of cultivating trust and productivity on a team. Setting boundaries ensures that team members respect each others “on” and “off” times, i.e. when it’s OK to contact someone after hours, and appreciate the specific tasks that each person is assigned.
7. Streamline Communication
Bouncing back between email, Instant Messenger, G-Chat, and other tools can waste a ton of time. You can also easily lose tasks or vital to-dos in the shuffle. The solution is simple — have your team agree to communicate in one place and medium, like Hive. In 2019, Hive is debuting Gmail and Outlook integrations to make your lives easier.
As a team leader or manager, it’s easy to slip into the headspace of speaking rather than listening. In your next meeting, take a minute to listen more closely to your teams needs — it will help you manage effective, productive teams, who in turn will manage and execute successful projects. You can even think about actively limiting the time you speak in any one particular meeting, and ask questions to ensure everyone has a chance to voice their thoughts.
9. Become a Problem Solver
If you’re looking into productivity tips, the odds are high you’re likely already a “problem solver” in the traditional sense. Leaders and managers should, at their core, be problem solvers. You need to look at your team from a 10,000-foot view, while also being in-tune with the smaller scale projects, problems and pain points. Communicating openly with your team about issues and roadblocks is key.
10. Know the People You’re Serving
Now, this tip’s an interesting one, mostly because it’s funny (and alarming) how often it gets overlooked. When you’re running your team, everyone’s proverbial North Star should be how they’re working to serve the customer. Not only does this help unite everyone with a common goal, but it also fosters a sense of community and continuity — you’re all working together to move the project forward and maximize efficiency.
Take These Tips And Run With Them
Now that you’ve got some insights on how to work better as a team, the next step is integrating these tips into your work life. Start by focusing one tip every few days, and report back in the comments below on positive changes you start to see!