Productivity is the ultimate goal of any project, but getting there can be difficult. A number of different factors can disrupt your workflow, ranging from simple human nature to an environment that increases idle time.
Luckily, many of the roadblocks to productivity can be avoided through a little planning and preparation.
As you begin a new project, consider the tips below to ensure that your team stays on task as much as possible.
1: Unnecessary Meetings
Meetings are unavoidable, but they sometimes become too much a part of a person’s daily routine. You should only hold a meeting if there is something productive that will come out of it.
If you have a regularly scheduled meeting and there is little to discuss, it is better to cancel the meeting and connect via email or through your project management software.
This allows you to focus on things that actually need your attention. Doing this also reduces the amount of time you might otherwise waste while preparing for a nonproductive meeting.
If you can reduce the amount of time your team spends in unnecessary meetings, your project will become much more efficient.
Email is another thing that you can’t escape in the working environment but which can be made more efficient.
The average employee checks email at least twice per hour, often stopping in the middle of an ongoing project when they hear the notification alert go off.
Rather than encourage immediate follow-up to each individual message, you should suggest to your team members that they schedule a time when they can go through their emails.
Spending 30 minutes to an hour answering messages in one solid block allows for much better productivity in other areas.
3: Outdated Technology
It’s hard to stay current on office technology, but it’s also essential.
The last thing you want to do when undertaking a new project is to have employees wait extended periods for their old computers to boot up or to use out of date project management software.
You should keep an eye on the warranties for all your office hardware and the update schedule for your software. If the warranty is expired or the software hasn’t provided any updates for quite some time, it may be a good idea to upgrade your technology.
4: Lack of Movement
If you have a project with a looming deadline, the natural urge is to stay at your desk until you get it completed.
However, long hours sitting in one place and staring at a computer screen can decrease productivity while increasing the risk of mistakes.
Encourage your team members to follow the “20/20 rule” – every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away. Additionally, make sure that people take time to get up and move once in a while.
Working at a standing workstation can help, as can taking a 15-minute break twice a day to move around and get away from the desk.
To a certain degree, coworkers chatting about life in general while standing around the water cooler or in the office kitchen can be healthy – it allows them a chance to take their mind off work for a moment.
Too much chitchat, though, can kill productivity. You don’t need to pass any mandates about this. Instead, just keep an eye on team members who seem to do more talking than working.
Speak to them gently and encourage them to focus a little more on the task at hand.
There are many ways to stop productivity killers before they derail your project. By using the tips and tricks outlined above, you can keep your team on task and on schedule.