Every three minutes, the average employee gets interrupted somehow, according to a study by the University of California, Irvine. Also, according to that study, it can take some people up to 23 minutes to refocus!
There’s a lot that can impact workplace productivity, including interruptions, employee burnout, lack of communication, and more.
While you may not be able to account for all interruptions, you can help make the workplace a more productive space. Start by following these simple tips.
Avoid Burnout by Allowing Breaks
The World Health Organization officially recognized burnout in 2019, calling it a condition resulting from chronic workplace stress that hasn’t been managed.” Burnout is a real condition that impacts an employee’s productivity, but what can you do about it?
For one, you can allow occasional breaks to allow employees to feel refreshed. Your team might take this time to stretch, go for a short walk, or visit the break room for a few minutes.
You might think that encouraging breaks would hurt productivity since your employees are spending more time away from their desks. However, that brief respite can help them dive back into work with increased vigor and help prevent stress.
Short breaks even improve attention, as focusing too long on a task actually wears us out. Some people swear by the Pomodoro Technique, while others schedule breaks in between tasks. What works for your employees might vary, but encouraging occasional mental breaks can improve employee productivity.
Encourage Time for Family
Another way to prevent employee burnout is to allow time for social relationships and family outside of work. This means allowing your workers some flexibility.
If the COVID-19 pandemic taught small business owners anything, it’s that remote work is possible. You might need to speak with your employees to devise a way to balance work and family, whether that means allowing them to work from home on certain days, checking out early, or remaining offline during vacation time.
Encourage time for social relationships and family, so they don’t become stressed and start to struggle at work. A smart business owner understands there’s a balance between life at work and life outside of it.
Avoid Unproductive Meetings
We’ve all been there before—you’re sitting in a meeting when someone veers off-topic. Suddenly, you’ve spent twenty minutes on an unrelated topic, and you’re no closer to meeting the goal of the meeting than before. Either the meeting drags on, or you have to schedule another one.
Try to avoid unproductive meetings whenever possible. It can vastly hurt your employees’ productivity by pulling them away from projects and daily tasks.
If you can resolve something through email or Slack, you might save everyone time and keep everyone productive. If you need to hold a meeting, try to keep everyone on topic. If someone continuously veers off-topic, let them know you can answer their questions in an email or speak with them later.
Many people think that multitasking is key to getting a lot done in a short amount of time. The truth is that multitasking can result in more errors, especially when someone is stressed or overworked.
Don’t multitask and encourage your employees to only focus on one task at a time. This can reduce errors and actually help boost productivity.
To ensure no one gets stretched too thin, employees can make lists for their tasks. These can be paper lists or spreadsheets. You might even consider creating a template for them to use.
A big part of business ownership is taking care of your staff. You can do this by encouraging wellbeing in the workplace, and it’s easier than you might think.
For instance, you might want to create a quiet room for meditation that serves as a safe space for people to go when they feel stressed or panicked. This can serve as a space to escape the hectic day-to-day noise and bustle in the workplace.
You can offer yoga or tai chi classes or put up advertisements for local studios. Encourage healthy eating by offering healthier foods in the break room and vending machines. You can also run fitness challenges that promote healthy competition.
Financial wellbeing is just as important as physical and mental wellbeing. Consider offering financial workshops, counseling services, or advice to help employees feel better about their financial situation. This can take a lot of stress off of those that are struggling.
Use Productivity Apps
Smart management involves knowing when and how to utilize technology to boost productivity. Thankfully, there are a wide array of productivity apps out there.
At work, using productivity apps for Mac can help your employees manage their time, create to-do lists, track project progress, create clipboards, quickly share files, and much more.
The best part is that these apps are easy to install, and employees have access to them if they need them. Perhaps they’ll benefit most from using a timer that helps keep them on track and reminds them to take breaks or create calendars to make note of meetings.
There are hundreds of apps out there designed to improve workplace productivity, so why not take advantage of them?
Providing your workers with more access to education can help them develop and hone their skills, which can boost their productivity. For example, they could take an Excel course or typing class to improve their typing speed.
If you don’t offer the classes yourself, consider providing assistance that can help them take classes online.
In addition, you want to provide employees with the right tools and equipment they need to do their job in the first place.
Start Boosting Workplace Productivity
It’s easier than you might think to start boosting workplace productivity. Start by implementing these steps. You’ll see a difference in your employees almost immediately, and your company will also benefit from these changes.
To learn more smart business tips, check out our “Business” section.