Workplace Productivity: The Ultimate Guide to Increasing Productivity
If you're a project manager, no doubt you're looking for ways to increase your team's productivity. It goes without saying that a change in the productivity of a team, a division, or the business itself can have a real effect on an organization's health. Take a look at this ultimate guide from MindManager on how to measure and increase the workplace productivity of your business.
Workplace productivity: The traditional formula
For decades, workplace productivity has been measured by dividing output by input. Unfortunately, the formula was most suitable for measuring homogeneous products in factory work, such as the number of bricks an employee could produce in an hour. Contemporary thought leaders, however, began searching for other methods to measure productivity that account for the diversity of today's industries, the varied components of a given project or activity, or the different circumstances that determine the success or failure of a particular task.
Measure the outcome—not the input
When it comes to completing a project over time, you're producing something far more complex than a load of bricks. That's why, as this Entrepreneur article observes, there's been a shift away from measuring input—say time spent—and towards measuring outcomes instead. After all, an activity's successful outcome indicates movement forward in meeting company or departmental goals.
That's why KPIs (key performance factors) have seen a lot of coverage in industry news over the past few decades. Since KPIS will vary from industry to industry and from activity to activity, it's essential to choose them appropriately. Top KPIs for fitness centers, for example, look at revenue per client member, average class attendance, or client retention rates. On the other hand, when evaluating progress in project execution, a project manager may examine a team's planned delivery date versus actual delivery date, or average time to delivery on a specific type of project.
How to increase productivity in the workplace
You can start with habits that address an individual worker's performance, and then look at ways to measure your team's overall productivity.
1. Do the prep work first
Improving your individual productivity means eliminating situations where you or your workers waste significant hours getting ready to do the work rather than working on the project itself. Avoid this problem simply by setting aside time to do the prep work before you actually sit down to complete the project. For example:
- Set up your to-do lists the night before.
- Open, read, and act on your emails before you get to your office.
- Organize and schedule your day's calls and meetings before sitting down to tackle your project.
- Fill out your calendar with your agenda at a time separate from your office time.
2. Simplify your tools and avoid multitasking
De-silo the information you'll need to process in order to complete the project. Develop a workflow that minimizes the number of technologies, devices, or storage systems you use. The famous GTD method, for instance, reminds us to use a technology that collects, captures or stores all the artifacts needed to complete the project all in one place from the start.
3. Use the right technology
Most of all, use a technology that allows you and your team-members to shape, and complete each activity within a project. The technology should provide shared access to everyone who needs it during the course of the project's completion. Furthermore, the technology should also have features that allow for group brainstorming as well as monitoring and measuring objectives and outcomes.
One of the best ways to increase workplace productivity—whether you're managing your team or just working on increasing the productivity in your own daily workflow—is to use mindmapping technology. MindManager, for example, provides features that help you brainstorm with your team, manage your workflow, and set, track, and monitor KPIs.