Businesses are always looking for ways to increase workplace productivity. For the most part, we tend to look for solutions that are very practical and aimed directly at a specific productivity problem. While these practical solutions are important, there is something to be said for the ideas that are a little less on the nose.
Subtle changes to workplace culture can make for significant improvements to productivity. These changes might not address any single problem completely, but they make for a culture that is more conducive to a happier, more efficient work environment.
Forget the Work/Life Balance
The idea of striking the correct balance between work and life can be a little overrated. People get an idealized version of this in their head, and they feel like they are failing because they don’t have everything they want in their career or in their life away from work.
Some people like to work more. Others might not want to dedicate quite so much time to their career. Empower your employees to choose the lifestyle that works best for them and encourage an open dialogue to help them strike the right balance. As long as their productivity remains high, you should have no problem encouraging the work/life balance that suits their individual preference.
Start Meetings with a Moment of Focus
Team meetings could be more productive. One of the worst culprits of inefficient meetings is a lack intention at the beginning of the meeting. You need to have a plan and a clear idea of what you want people to take away from the gathering.
Another point of difficulty is to get your staff aligned and focused at the beginning of the meeting. Start meetings by asking your staff how they feel and get them to rate how they feel about the about the day ahead. By taking this moment at the beginning of the meeting for feedback from employees, you are taking a step to make sure every person is present in the room, both physically and mentally.
Promote Intuitive Solutions
Modern business culture places a high value on solutions that are driven by hard data. In many cases, these are the best solutions. But you can’t crunch the numbers for every decision that is going to be made. Encourage your staff to follow their intuition. There are times that intuition can lead you astray, but the best innovations often come from intuitive thinking.
You can’t force your employees to live healthier, but there are things that you can do to promote better health. Providing healthier snacks and foods is a great way to get your employees to eat better. Encourage your employees to take short breaks when they are feeling burnt out or stressed. You could also promote gym memberships and exercise.
Be Careful with Autonomy
We all want to give our employees more autonomy. It means that you can trust them to do more without your direct supervision, and it can be empowering for the individual. However, you want to be careful about giving a person too much autonomy too quickly.
You can encourage higher levels of autonomy by opening a direct line of communication with your employees and initiating conversations about their duties. A conversation is not a directive. Instead, it is letting employees know that you trust them enough to get the job done, but are interested in hearing about how things are going and if you can help.
Leading through hierarchy and dictating how things should be are old school. The trends are leading towards employees having more say; they know if they’re feeling overwhelmed or not.
Small changes to the company culture and the way you do things can add up to big returns in productivity. As a leader, you can only do so much to mandate these kinds of changes. However, you can start by setting a good example and think outside of the box. By following some of these steps, and promoting these ideas, the shift in culture should naturally spread throughout the company.