Even the most efficient team faces bottlenecks that hinder workplace efficiency. Think about the last time you dealt with a(n):
- Unproductive meeting.
- Unexpected interruption.
- Cluttered inbox.
- Unclear expectations.
These stressors steal time and prevent teams from ticking items from the to-do list — resulting in below-average performance and low morale.
There’s no better feeling than seeing your team ‘in the zone.’ A challenged, excited, safe and successful team is energized and productive throughout the day.
Three out of four employees value teamwork, but successful collaboration isn’t a given. It’s an environment that you need to foster.
The key is giving your team the right ingredients to develop and grow.
Think about this: if you’re trying to grow potatoes, you wouldn’t throw the seeds on an empty patch and command them to grow:
“Hey, it’s time for you to become a potato.”
You need to cultivate and nurture it; the same applies to your team. And you can start today.
That’s why we’ve put together eight ways to improve your team’s working day.
8 Ways to improve your team's working day
We’ve curated a list of the eight most effective tools and tips you can apply today to save time and boost team productivity.
1. Use a human resource information system (HRIS)
There’s no better option for companies looking to up their team’s working day than using HRIS software programs. HRIS collects, stores, and manages the database of employees.
This software empowers the human resources (HR) department by tracking and analyzing employee information such as payroll, leave management, performance and other basic attributes of current and former employees.
As HRIS provides a self-service portal, using which employees manage their vacation requests, personal information, benefits, and perks. As HRIS works as a one-stop destination for all employees' HR needs, the chances of HR managers committing admin errors affect time off or pay.
HRIS even enhances employee engagement by providing access to training resources.
As HR managers have more employee data, they plan employees’ career development and encourage them to track their progress.
Choosing the right HRIS tool makes 1:1 meetings more effective for managers and employers.
2. Limit workplace distractions
Workplace distractions cause employees to take 27 percent more time to complete a task and experience twice the anxiety.
Regular email notifications, chatty colleagues, internet surfing, noisy kids and social media browsing are some top workplace distractors sabotaging your efforts to improve workplace performance.
Keeping these distractions at bay directly impacts workplace productivity and ensures faster completion of work.
To limit distractions, employees can:
- Use noise-canceling headphones to block out outside noises.
- Use a time-tracking tool to track the time it takes to complete a particular work.
- Set aside time in a day to check social media updates and email notifications.
- Avoid unnecessary meetings and consultation.
- Take short breaks to relax.
3. Foster a culture of communication
Good communication is an integral aspect of great teamwork. Successful and productive teams regularly communicate with each other. Team members are happy sharing their ideas, brainstorming and seeking feedback.
Effective communication doesn’t mean team members always agree. Even when conflict arises, they resolve their differences through communication. Fostering a culture of open communication where employees voice their opinion and provide ideas is essential for improving your team.
Here are a few ways to foster a culture of communication:
- Be clear and specific: Set the communication tone for the team and clearly explain whether employees may contact each other after office hours and how often the team goes for team meetings. This ensures every team member is on the same page.
- Listen: Active listening is an essential aspect of communication. Team members who listen to each other are better adept at improving the team’s performance. Such members respect the opinion of others and listen to everyone before offering a solution.
- Use collaboration tools: Another way to foster a communication culture is by enabling employees to connect with offices in different cities and countries. Scribe is a great way to help employees share processes and answer those ‘quick questions.’
- Host informal meetings: Encouraging informal meetings and information-sharing between team members is essential to build a connection and improve workplace communication. Team members shouldn’t wait for the weekly meetings to meet and discuss their issues. Collaborative and productive teams communicate as and when the need arises.
4. Avoid cringe-worthy team-building exercises
Just type “How to improve teamwork in the workplace?” and Google will likely provide you with hundreds of activities, some of which might be weird team-building exercises. Formal and compulsory events no longer provide the desired results.
Building team spirit using voluntary social events in informal and low-pressure environments delivers the appropriate result. Typically, the bond employees form over lunch carries into the cubicles, and they work as a cohesive unit.
Before deciding on the team-building activities, focus on the following:
- Ensure the team building activities are relevant to the team’s needs.
- Define your learning objectives before deciding on your team-building activities.
- Consider the interest and abilities to team members.
- Ensure your team-building activity is fun and encourages employees to participate.
Choosing a team-building exercise based on your team’s interest is imperative. For instance, not every team has the endurance to complete highly physical challenges. In addition, experienced team members won’t show excitement toward a trust fall or a hula hoop circle the same way a group of interns and new joiners will.
5. Prioritize employee well-being
For encouraging your team to bring their whole selves to work, it’s essential to focus on employee well-being.
Reminding employees to regularly breathe, take short breaks, and stretch every two-three hours is a great way to break up an employee’s work day. Kicking off a meeting with a couple of minutes of meditation can do wonders for your employees as they feel energized and refreshed.
If you want to be innovative, start your team meeting with a temperature check: red, green and yellow to understand the thought process of employees and evaluate their stress levels.
Encouraging wellness day helps prioritize employee well-being. According to research, wellness programs retain top talent. Did you know 67 percent of employees working in companies with wellness programs like their job more and are likely to recommend the company to other employees?
That’s the power of prioritizing employee well-being.
6. Provide teams with ongoing learning opportunities
Can you become a perfect team member unless you know the qualities of such team members? The same is true for your employees.
While working in a team might sound natural and easy, it’s challenging, and not everyone is a natural team player.
To reap the benefits of a collaborative team, regular and proper training is the key to success.
Use tools like Scribe to build step-by-step guides, training manuals, work instructions and more. Scribe is a process documentation tool that writes your SOPs for you, complete with text and annotated screenshots.
Here’s how it works.
All you have to do is press record. This empowers not only leadership, but the entire team to share what they know. Scribes are easy to edit, share store and embed in any other tool.
Plus, with Scribe Pages, you can combine Scribes with images, media and more in beautiful, visual process docs.
Learning opportunities you create, the mre you'll enhance teamwork skills to increase job satisfaction and employee engagement.
That's what we call a win-win.
Use Scribe to help prepare materials while you conduct workshops and seminars to understand the importance of teamwork and encourage team members to become productive.
Strong teamwork skills increase workplace productivity while reducing absenteeism and decreasing turnover, helping companies earn higher profit margins.
While there are numerous ways to build a strong team, you can’t get there in a week. It takes time to cultivate and nurture a good team.
7. Appreciate & recognize employees
When employees believe their company will recognize their efforts and hard work, they’re 2.7 times more likely to be highly engaged.
Ensuring unbiased employee appreciation and recognition is essential to improving team productivity and nurturing healthy workplace relationships.
As a result, employers create performance reports regularly to recognize the best performers at regular intervals.
Today, employees expect frequent rewards and recognition rather than attending a single reward and recognition function.
When employers value employees’ hard work and efforts, they’re likely to be happier and more engaged at work. This improves the team’s working day, and they perform to the best of their capabilities.
Some types of employee recognition include:
- Informal recognition.
- Formal recognition.
- Monetary recognition.
- Social recognition.
- Non-monetary recognition.
8. Ensure workload management
Often, there will be times when team members feel overwhelmed as they have too much on their plate. With 85 percent of employees reporting overwork, ensuring workload management is essential.
One way to manage employees' workload is by deleting, deferring, delegating, and diminishing lower-priority tasks. Consider your project and identify high-priority work requiring completion.
Here are a few ways to ensure workload management:
- When two tasks of equal importance are assigned to one person, delegate one of those tasks to another team member to ensure the timely completion of work.
- If there is a task a business cannot defer or delete, look for ways to reduce the time it takes to complete a task. Focus on eliminating meetings related to the task or reduce their frequency.
- If a project does not support your company's goals, focus on deleting it.
Help your team be more efficient
Improving your team's working day is similar to cooking a recipe where the right ingredients (employees) are essential for making a tasty recipe.
From reducing the meeting time to allowing team members to collaborate more, taking care of every employee's need is essential. Teamwork is all about helping employees set the tune with each other.
While there is no single way to empower your teams to be more productive, creating a productive work environment encourages employees to work together as a cohesive unit.
Use these above-listed eight methods to make a happy, productive and collaborative workplace.
Priya Jain has been copywriting professionally for over eight years. She has attained an engineering degree and an MBA. She teaches math, spends her time running behind her toddler, and tries new recipes when she isn't writing. You can find her on LinkedIn.