March 27, 2017
Here’s a quick stat: The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the average American spends 8.8 hours in the workplace. That’s a little more than the average seven hours an American sleeps at night. The point here is that we spend more time at work than with our families. Just as even a single family member’s unmotivated and dejected attitude affects the morale of the household, imagine what a dozen unproductive and unmotivated employees can mean for your startup.
The bigger question is: how do you boost employee productivity at your startup? We’ve dug past the routine advice and brought together five hacks, tips, and suggestions that will get things in order for your firm. Read on.
1. Track Time
Nothing puts the house in order like time tracking; trust us. Of course, you can’t (and should not) nag employees about their time utilization gaps too frequently. Time tracking is meant as an aid for you to identify slackers before they become a real problem. Plus, these tools help you understand how your employees are spending their time, and in many cases, will enable you to identify critical pain points (for instance, slow work machines, too few coffee dispensers in the vicinity, etc.). Treat time tracking tools as early warning indicators of trouble, so that you can help employees channel their work time toward value-adding activities.
2. Gamify The Work
In contrast to conventional rewards and recognitions that have a long-term and more structured orientation, the concept of gamification of work is all about creating fun-filled, short duration, frequent competitions among workers, aligned to their core work areas.
An IT support business running week long competitions among technicians to solve the most tickets, a sales manager publishing a leader board of salespeople who do the most meetings and calls in a week, a ‘winner of day’ fame wall in a call center showcasing the executive who contributes the most to meeting daily targets – all of these are very generic examples of creating games out of work. The key here is to infuse some fun and humor into the mix, keeping things competitive.
3. Music Gets Things Done
Research has proved that listening to certain styles of ambient music helps improve brain performance, concentration, interest and helps employees get more work done. Music also infuses a sense of liveliness in the work atmosphere and helps bring in a sense of creativity.
Of course, it’s a challenge creating a workplace where everyone is in sync with the music, the volume, the timing of the music, and so on. If you foresee issues such as these, look to encourage the use of headphones for personal music enjoyment. See how it goes for a week or more.
If your startup has only a few team members, it’s worth agreeing on some music genres that you can play for most of the day. Similarly, ambient music is a good option for startups that require creative work and brainstorming. For operations that require a lot of talking, frequent short meetings, and active collaboration, it can get challenging, though.
4. Get a Hold on Meetings
Agreed, face-to-face meetings are important. However, the average workplace spends way too much time on meetings. Then, meetings often start late, and take more than the budgeted time, because ‘keeping it short’ is not exactly what most speakers are good at. To make your startup workplace’s meetings more productive, and less of a hit on employee productivity in general, do all you can to motivate everyone to:
- Only call for a meeting when that’s the best way to get something done;
- Keep meetings right at the beginning of the day or end of the day (nothing inspires swiftness and brevity better and more naturally);
- Keep meeting start times at odd times, such as 10:20 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.;
- Take a mid-meeting stock of agenda items that are covered and pending.
5. Be Different
It’s human nature to slack off when faced with the same routine, every day, weeks and months at a stretch. Sometimes, it works to motivate employees to do something apart from work during their work day. Here are some ideas –
- Peer bonuses, business unit wide appreciation e-mails, surprise snacks – all of these help bring a new dimensions to the ordinary workday, and keep employees engaged and productive.
- Many companies have accessible gyms and workout rooms for employees to work up a sweat.
- Some companies provide opportunities and aids to employees to help them explore their hobbies and indulge in experiences unrelated to work.
For startups, more than anyone else, there’s a lot of benefit to be had out of experimenting with hacks and methods that promote employee productivity. Try some of these out, and think up your own ways to get more out of your existing team.
Joydeep Bhattacharya is an internet marketer and owner of the SEO blog, SEO Sandwitch. He has been associated with SEO, SMO, PPC, ORM and other activities related to online marketing for the past 5 years.