5 Ways to Make the Work Environment more Productive

Posted on July 19, 2012 by Leave a Comment

Whether you’re in a brand new business or a decades-old company, finding efficiencies in the workplace should be a priority. Refinement like this starts with your human resources. Why? Because productivity gains among employees grow exponentially to every other dimension of your organization. The tried and true practices here are designed to help you make the gains you need.

1. Think Tank

Brainstorming: What’s the problem? How can we solve it? What’s the next-best way to solve it? Why might that fail? Flickr/Paul Mayne

Every company has opportunities for additional revenue streams, and issues that must be resolved. No one person can manage all of these things on their own. Enter the think tank. Mediated brainstorming sessions allow employees to come together and generate ideas for productivity improvements.

An effective think tank should have clear ground rules for unjudging collaboration and effective solution identification. Probing questions can be very specific (eg. "What was the most frustrating thing you did today?") or very general (eg. "How could we bolster our brand and business?). As employees succeed at working through problems in mediated sessions, they’ll be more comfortable repeating the process unsupervised and on-demand.

2. Reliable Equipment

A productive and collegial work environment demands technology that is in good working order. When tools break, or technology is too slow or out of date, employees can quickly grow frustrated, bitter, and disengaged.

Spending a little bit of money on the things you need to succeed—and the training to ensure your employees know how to use them—not only saves in maintenance and productivity costs, but also helps prevent turnover.

3. Desirable Rewards

Nothing temporarily livens the spirit of employees like rewards. Whether it’s extra time off, a free meal at a nice restaurant, or cold hard cash, offering your employees some incentive to complete transactions makes the office more productive. Even if it’s not an effective long-term solution, the occasional reward is a compelling reminder to employees that they generate value for the organization.

4. Affordable Subcontractors and Services

The best organizations know how to recognize strengths and weaknesses. Business that develop their strengths and enact measures to mitigate their weaknesses will prosper, while those that fail to do so will struggle or fail. Outsourcing, subcontractors, and services are an excellent way to compensate for weakenesses in an organization.

For example, if your company specializes in digital advertising and media, it would often make sense to enlist outside contractors, software, or services for practices like payroll and maintenance. This allows you to focus on the products and services you are developing and not worry about extra branches of your business. It also allows you to pivot quickly without facing innappropriate terminations if and when there’s a sudden market change you must react to.

5. A Clear Mission

In the children’s game telephone, where a circle of participants pass a whispered message from one person to the next, the ultimate message is always obfuscated. Why? Because the phrase lacks clarity. The same problem can arise in a work environment when it comes to organizational values and an overall mission.

As employees are empowered to work independently, they can begin to lose the overarching message and purpose of their organization. It’s therefore vital that correspondence is created at every level of the company, to ensure that everyone is on the same page. Company meetings, shared spaces, common software, casual conversations, and group e-mails can all serve as effective ways to share this information.

Ultimately, a workplace that can quickly identify, evaluate, and respond to its challenges is one that will grow to be more productive. Workplaces that fail to react are at risk of failing completely.

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