6 Tips for Increasing Team Productivity in the Workplace
Most organizations depend on cross-functional collaboration to foster success within the workplace. More than half of employees in the workforce are a part of a team, which makes it essential to recognize the best practices to keep a group on task and achieve maximum productivity. So, let’s look at six specific tips for team members to stay on task and be productive at work.
Recognize Team Strengths
The benefit of teamwork lies in the fact that every individual has something unique to contribute. Each person has different knowledge, interests, and backgrounds, which provides a complete individual perspective. However, that doesn’t mean every team doesn’t have its shortcomings.
The first step in having a well-functioning team is to understand both the strengths and blind spots of the group. By evaluating the needs of a project and comparing them with the team's abilities, you’re now able to develop a blueprint to maximize efficiency. For example, if one employee is a math whiz (or has Birkman Yellow Interests), assign them a number-driven task over someone who admittedly needs a calculator for basic equations. Having the team take a strengths test like The Birkman Method may help uncover less obvious, more detail-driven task opportunities to ultimately help shape a specific project.
Delegate Individual Tasks
Looking at the overarching team objective can be intimidating, especially for Birkman Reds, so breaking the lofty goal into individual, manageable tasks makes for a much more productive start. Now that you have an idea of the individual capabilities of the team, you can start effectively delegating assignments amongst the group.
In assigning these tasks, it’s important to optimize efficiency while maintaining role clarity within the team. Don’t leave anything up for speculation, and create a clearcut, detailed game plan for your team to follow. Once everyone has a manageable list of tasks to complete detail out your responsibilities and deadlines and take on one thing at a time. Not only is it less stressful, but it helps inspire productivity.
Cut Down on Multitasking
Whether you find yourself procrastinating or just overwhelmed with work to do, the answer is not to multitask. You may think that taking on more than one task at a time can help you finish faster. However, the reality is that multitasking has significant disadvantages, including increased stress, trouble focusing, and decreased productivity.
Shifting your attention from one thing to another causes less clarity and more mistakes. Your mind is trying to juggle multiple tasks, which can often lead to things slipping through the cracks. Not to mention, multitasking also causes burnout a lot faster, as you’re overworking your brain to meet unrealistic expectations. When it comes to the most productive way to get things done, don't bite off more than you can chew and stick to performing one task at a time.
The one thing teams can’t function without is communication. For small and large teams alike, staying connected is crucial for team productivity. Whether it’s a weekly sync or ongoing team chat, lean on your team for help when needed.
This is not only important for the team to stay in sync but for the individual members to feel included as well. Studies have shown that feelings of employee isolation can reduce productivity by up to 21%. Without proper communication, larger teams with a majority of independent work can make employees feel secluded and alone. To combat this, create a safe and open team environment that encourages creativity and communication. Psychological safety can both improve comfort with collaboration and team productivity.
Take Necessary Breaks to Stay Focused
It’s hard to not get caught up in your work sometimes, especially when you have a lot on your plate. Once you find that productive rhythm, it can be hard to step away and break focus. However, small breaks are crucial to incorporate into your workflow when it comes to productivity and overall employee well-being.
Spending a lot of time on a computer can take its toll on your body. Between headaches, fatigue, or dry eyes, excessive screen time without proper caution can impede productivity. There are a few ways to combat this, one being to step away from your computer for a few minutes. Take a walk around the office, and grab a snack or coffee before sitting back down. Even indulging in a few pages of your favorite novel can give your eyes and mind a breather.
Another tip is to forgo the contact lenses and look into new anti-reflective prescription eyewear. Glasses provide an additional barrier between your eyes and the computer screen, which offers more protection than contact lenses. Even if it’s just having a backup pair in the office for the long screen time days, it can give your eyes much-needed relief and keep you feeling refreshed and productive.
Speaking of eyes, how others view us can also take a toll on our productivity. Birkman measures Usual Behavior, which is driven by others' perceptions of us across a personal and professional setting. The factory default that we feel most comfortable and productive in can be shifted when we feel these perceptions change, which causes stress and a decrease in productivity. Be open with your team to learn how to maneuver your stress and bring yourself back to a comfortable mindset in these instances to stay on track at work.
Keep an Organized Schedule
Nothing says unproductive quite like disorganization, especially when working in a group setting. For in-person teams, consider an accessible dry-erase team calendar to stay organized in the office. Keep tasks, deadlines, meetings, and expectations written down to minimize miscommunications within the team.
Remote teams can manage projects and individual productivity using a virtual team organizational tool. For those who don’t have the in-office team experience, this allows you to stay on top of your to-do list and view others in real-time. Leave comments, encouragement, or lend a helping hand if you see a teammate in need.
As a member of a team, you’re able to learn, collaborate, and grow in a professional setting. The possibilities are endless when you have the right tools in place to foster success. For both in-person and remote workplaces, reach out to us to learn more about how Birkman can help to maximize your team's potential.
About the Author | Brittany Buxton Naething
With a Bachelors in Communications and Journalism from Texas A&M University, Brittany couples her experience in customer relations and passion for making a difference as she works within the marketing department. Outside of work, you can catch Brittany en route to new cities, soccer fields, or at any coffee shop. As Scottish royalty, you might also find her abroad enjoying the Scottish countryside.