We’ll take you through some common myths about workplace effectiveness and share tips to make your employees more productive.
Let’s face it, the internet is great for hilarious memes, but it’s not always the best for universal agreement and concise, truthful information.
Despite the consensus on funny memes, the internet lacks consensus around productivity tools and how to make your teams more successful. Conflicting ideas, strategies, and recommendations abound.
As a small-business leader and project manager, you need reliable information on what works and what doesn’t when it comes to workplace effectiveness—whether your company works fully remote, in-person, or a hybrid of both.
Let’s look at some common workplace effectiveness myths and how they’ve been debunked. We’ll also talk about the best approach for cutting through the noise and building an effective workplace.
Our recommended approach: There’s a happy middle ground between tech wizards writing code in a Silicon Valley utopia vs. worker drones toiling in Dilbert-esque cubicles.
People like having private space when they’re doing work that requires focus and concentration, and people also like open meeting space when they’re doing work that requires communication and collaboration.
In short: You need both.
Even post-COVID, tables and rows of desks are fine, as long as they’re spread out. Barriers and quiet spaces for employees to go when they need to do head-down work can also help with productivity and keeping employees safe. If your office space is too small to allow for sufficient, dedicated quiet rooms, a good workaround is to allow remote work.
Our recommended approach: The most important thing to remember when it comes to remote work is that it’s not about having employees account for every minute of their time when working remotely—it’s about whether or not they’re getting their work done.Your employees likely hold themselves accountable and truly want to do good work.
To help employees keep themselves accountable, set goals for everyone, whether they work remotely or not, and track their progress. You can also proactively set a strategy to keep employees engaged remotely. The standards should be the same for everyone, whether remote or in-person.
As a small-business owner, strategically keeping employees engaged can be a fun task to take on. Not only will it help make your work environment more pleasant and productive, but it can also help retain employees.
Our recommended approach: Planning at 80% and managing at 80% will get 100% of planned work done. Build slack into the system during the planning stage, and you’ll get everything done on a more predictable schedule.
If you take the approach of planning at 120%, you’ll not only never get to that goal, but all the extra time and energy spent on planning will also cost your team additional work. And rather than getting the satisfaction of meeting your goals, you and your team will feel like you’ve failed for falling short.
Our recommended approach: Plan/manage at 80% to get 100% of planned work done and increase morale.
As a manager, you should talk to any of your employees who are working excessive hours and find ways to reduce their workload. Keep in mind that some employees may see the office as a sanctuary or work odd hours to accommodate childcare, for example, but that’s a different situation from feeling like they have to work all hours to keep up.
Other ways you can help minimize burnout due to overwork:
- Keep an open dialogue with your employees so they can voice concerns.
- Offer an employee wellness program.
- Don’t celebrate weekend work or late nights.
- Encourage vacation and PTO.
- Offer mental health support.
- Encourage casual coffee video chats for team members to catch up and socialize.
- Make sure that your team is equipped with the right tools and technology so they don’t have to work excessively to make up for insufficient infrastructure.
Our recommended approach: Encourage your employees to take breaks by having a well-stocked break room, comfy couches or inviting communal spaces, and a wellness room for quiet reflection.
If you’re working remotely, you can also start a virtual coffee club where employees are randomly matched up to have video chats together.
You can also use (and encourage employee use of) the Pomodoro Technique, which involves taking a five-minute break for every 25 minutes of work, with 15- to 30-minute breaks every few hours.
Survey methodology: This survey was conducted in July 2020 among 384 individual contributors in small U.S. businesses (2 – 500 employees) who are now working from home at least part-time because of the pandemic.