A productive team is critical to any successful business. When employees are engaged and working efficiently, they get more done, provide better service, and drive growth. However, with constant distractions, ineffective processes, and low engagement, productivity can easily decline.
As a manager, you play a key role in creating a motivating environment where people can thrive. But this takes strategy and effort. You need to actively remove obstacles, provide the right tools, and nurture a positive, energetic culture. The good news is small changes can have an outsized impact on output.
In this article, we’ll highlight eight powerful yet practical ways to boost productivity across your team. From optimising workflows to leveraging technology, these tips can help everyone produce better results. Employees will be more motivated, time will be used more wisely, and the entire organisation will reap the benefits.
While some methods require more investment than others, they all share a common ingredient: strong leadership. With your support and guidance, a culture obsessed with productivity can flourish. So let’s get started with eight impactful ways to help your people work smarter and drive superior outcomes.
9 Ways To Increase Your Employees’ Productivity
Set Clear Goals and Expectations
The first step to better productivity is defining what success looks like and communicating this clearly to staff. Set specific, measurable goals that align to wider business objectives. Ensure everyone understands what they need to achieve, why it matters, and how they’ll be assessed.
With clear goals and expectations, employees can prioritise effectively and track progress. This focus helps minimise distractions and time-wasting activities. Regularly reviewing goals also reinforces their importance while identifying any obstacles.
Some best practices include:
- Set SMART goals – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound.
- Align individual, team and company goals to motivate.
- Use OKRs – Objectives and Key Results – to define goals at every level.
- Review and revisit goals frequently to maintain focus.
The more clarity your team has around expected outcomes, the better they can organise, manage time and deliver efficiently.
Optimise Workflows and Processes
For sustained productivity gains, examine workflows and processes to identify and eliminate inefficiencies. Look for redundant steps, delays, switching costs and sources of friction. Optimise these workflows to create clear handoffs, minimise interruptions, and reduce low-value effort.
Some areas to review include:
- Communication channels – Are messages getting lost across multiple platforms? Streamline flows.
- Task management – What causes unfinished tasks and delays? Improve handovers.
- Decision making – Are decisions slow or unclear? Empower people.
- Reporting – Is data scattered? Centralise it for easy analysis.
- Meetings – Are they unfocused? Create agendas and ground rules.
Even small fixes add up when made across multiple workflows. Keep optimising to remove anything impeding progress. This enables staff to complete high-quality work faster.
Provide the Right Tools and Technology
Equipping people with great tools is crucial for unlocking productivity. Assess if staff have the resources and technology to efficiently perform their roles. Identify gaps, frictions and manual processes that tools could simplify.
Some potential solutions include:
- Communication software like Slack for better collaboration.
- Project management tools such as Asana to coordinate work.
- Automation software to eliminate repetitive tasks.
- Hardware upgrades like new laptops or monitors.
When rolling out new tools, ensure everyone receives training. Get feedback to continue improving tools and workflows. With the right technology, people can reduce busywork and focus their time on high-value priorities.
Use Productivity Software
One of the most effective ways to increase an employees’ productivity is to use productivity software. There are many different types, all with their own unique features. And they aren’t hard to find either. With research and inquiries, it’s easy to discover Workpuls or some other effective productivity software. With features such as time tracking, this type of software is really helpful for employees who are easily distracted by things like social media, websites with flashy interfaces, or unnecessary notifications. What’s great about these types of programs is that you can install them on every computer in the office so that no one has an excuse not to be working! Also, the best types of this software will allow employees to take notes and record information as they go along. This is great for those who like to remain organized and track their progress throughout the day.
Promote Health, Wellness and Energy Management
Employee health and wellbeing has a massive, but often overlooked, impact on productivity. Issues like chronic stress, poor sleep habits, lack of exercise, and unhealthy diets all impair focus, decision-making, creativity and motivation.
As a manager, model and encourage behaviours that build energy, sharpness and engagement throughout each day. Some ideas include:
- Start meetings with quick team energizers.
- Encourage short breaks to refocus attention.
- Provide standing desks, exercise balls or space for movement.
- Subsidize healthy snacks and lunches.
- Discourage after-hours work communications.
- Share tips for better sleep habits, diet and stress management.
When people take care of their bodies and minds, they’ll be more resilient, positive and productive at work. So support healthy behaviours and help remove barriers to wellness.
Support Work-Life Balance and Flexibility
Along with wellness, allowing flexibility and respecting personal lives is key to sustained productivity. Rigid schedules with little room for needs outside work drain motivation.
Instead, provide flexibility where possible and encourage people to establish boundaries that optimise their energy. Some examples include:
- Offer flexible start and finish times.
- Allow remote or hybrid work options.
- Discourage after-hours emails and calls.
- Avoid excessively long work weeks.
- Permit time off for medical appointments, family needs, etc.
- Track output and results rather than face time.
With balance, employees can manage personal and professional life in a sustainable way. This pays off through better focus when working.
Foster an Energizing, Collaborative Culture
The overall work environment impacts productivity immensely. People thrive when energized by meaningful work, shared purpose, and great colleagues. As a manager, champion values like trust, accountability, inclusion, innovation, and growth.
Some culture-building strategies include:
- Celebrate wins and milestones frequently.
- Encourage team lunches, events, and socialising.
- Drive open communication and feedback.
- Give kudos and recognition consistently.
- Inspire people with company vision and progress.
- Promote mentoring, coaching, and communities.
- Allow creativity, humour and personality to shine.
When the culture motivates and ignites passion, people will drive productivity themselves. So put extra care into nurturing the environment.
Provide Ongoing Mentoring and Feedback
Employees thrive when they have support systems and advocates helping them improve. As a manager, provide regular mentoring and feedback tied back to goals and development areas.
Schedule dedicated one-on-one time with each person to:
- Review recent performance and productivity.
- Recognise achievements and wins.
- Discuss any challenges or roadblocks.
- Set goals and blueprint next steps.
- Suggest training opportunities.
This support keeps people progressing. It also builds trust that you want them to develop and maximize potential. Don’t underestimate the power of engaged managers.
Empower and Challenge People
Finally, productivity skyrockets when people feel empowered and challenged in their roles. Push employees to take on new responsibilities, lead projects, and make more decisions. With the right support, they’ll rise to the occasion.
Some tactics include:
- Issue stretch assignments to build skills.
- Encourage team members to identify issues and solutions.
- Let people take ownership of projects from start to finish.
- Allow autonomy in how they accomplish goals.
- Solicit input on decisions that affect them.
- Develop informal and formal leadership opportunities.
By empowering your team, you demonstrate trust in their abilities. This unlocks discretionary effort, creativity, and initiative – all of which compound productivity.
Boosting employee productivity takes strategy, care, and open communication. Some solutions require investment, while others centre on management behaviour. Set clear goals, optimise processes, support wellness, foster culture, provide coaching – these efforts compound.
While the specific methods differ across teams, the fundamentals are universal. Remove obstacles, equip people, motivate regularly, and help employees maximize their potential.
Productivity is never “fixed” – it requires ongoing fine-tuning and vigilance. But the payoff for putting people first is immense. Employees will respond with better focus, discretionary effort, creativity and meaning – driving outcomes to new heights.
So take an honest look at your culture and processes. What roadblocks can you remove today? Use the tips here as inspiration to build an environment where productivity thrives. Your people will soon be achieving more than they imagined possible.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are some low-cost ways to improve productivity?
Some low-cost strategies include setting clear goals, streamlining communication, optimizing workflows, allowing flexible schedules, giving recognition, and providing coaching and feedback. Improving processes and management practices often has a huge productivity impact.
How can I motivate employees to be more productive?
Motivation comes from clear goals, progress tracking, recognition systems, an energizing culture, empowerment and challenges. Foster pride in great work. Celebrate wins frequently. Provide learning opportunities. Give people autonomy but support them. Productivity will improve dramatically.
Why is it important to promote health and wellness at work?
When employees are unhealthy, stressed or burnt out, it severely impairs cognitive function, focus, engagement and output. Encourage positive health habits related to nutrition, movement, sleep, and energy management. A healthy body and mind is a more productive one.
What are some signs that processes need optimization?
Indicators include employees constantly frustrated with convoluted workflows, too many duplicate tasks, key tools missing, decisions getting bogged down, lack of role clarity, and time wasted due to unclear handoffs. Streamline and simplify workflows to eliminate these productivity killers.
How can managers demonstrate empathy while driving productivity?
Acknowledge employees are whole people with lives outside work. Avoid unreasonable demands. Listen empathetically to challenges and provide support. Allow flexibility when possible. Focus praise and criticism on work outputs, not personal attributes. Model healthy boundaries yourself.
Why should managers encourage autonomy and empowerment?
When employees have agency over their work and decisions, it builds skills, ownership and motivation. Set clear goals, then give people latitude in how they’re achieved. Support continued development. Empowerment and trust lead to far greater productivity than micromanagement.
How often should productivity goals be revisited?
Set goals quarterly or semiannually. Then revisit progress monthly in one-on-one meetings, adjusting targets if needed. Regular check-ins ensure goals stay relevant. They also reinforce priorities and identify roadblocks early when easier to correct.
How can productivity be measured effectively?
Use specific metrics aligned to goals, like sales numbers, customer satisfaction, output per hour, response times, rankings, budget metrics, etc. Track productivity indicators over time. Measure team and individual productivity to identify high and low performers. Data guides optimal resource allocation.
What time management strategies help productivity?
Tactics like tracking time spent on tasks, batching similar work, blocking time in calendars, minimizing meetings, starting with priorities, taking breaks, setting reminders, and avoiding distractions all significantly boost individual productivity for knowledge workers.