Working on a team with different personalities and skill sets can be challenging. Previously we discussed ways you can improve team communication, however communicating well is just one piece of the productivity puzzle. Another piece is how efficient you are in a work day. The amount of work that gets done in one day can be hindered if you’re not set up for success.
With multiple individuals on the same team, or even working on the same project, it is important to stay on track especially when there are deadlines that need to be met. That’s why we’ve come up with ways you can improve team efficiency, and make the most of your work day.
Each member of your team has strengths and weaknesses. When collaborating, get the best results by playing on each member’s strength. Assigning tasks based on the strengths of your team will achieve the best results. Asking an individual who excels at analyzing data to write copy won’t be efficient, and the work may need to be edited, or completely re-worked, creating more work in the long run. It’s also important to know what each team member is working on. We can’t read minds, and having too many people working on the same item, and some items left stagnant, will bring unnecessary confusion and delays.
While it is important to promote professional development, for time pressing tasks or projects involving multiple departments, delegating and playing on strengths is key for timely completion and quality results. It’s also important to ensure that everyone on the team has all the materials necessary to understand the tasks at hand and accurately complete their part(s).
Open-ended projects are great, but we live in a fast paced society, and those projects are probably far and few between. Setting realistic time-frames and deadlines will allow employees to build their schedule accordingly and work to meet those deadlines. This is especially important if one aspect of the project needs to be completed before another can be worked on.
If your company has multiple ongoing projects, multiple team members, or simply needs help staying on track, consider utilizing a project manager app, such as Basecamp. Basecamp, and other similar apps, allow projects and their components to be uploaded to one space and individual can be assigned their roles accordingly. Employees can track their progress and make notes in the program so everyone stays on the same page. Project management apps are an easy way to track progress and ensure deadlines are being met.
Only Meet When Necessary
Meetings are a great way to keep in touch and stay current on needs of the organization, but they can be very time consuming and unproductive. Having daily face-to-face meetings may seem like a good idea but they hinder productivity and can interrupt a steady work-flow. Not to mention, the larger the team, the longer it can take to get every employee in the conference room – and can become a huge time-waster.
If you absolutely feel you must meet with your team in person, try to keep the meetings short and succinct. Meeting once on Monday morning and again on Friday afternoon is a great way to start and close the week – establishing the main goals of the week and then learning what was accomplished. Most communication can be done via telephone, e-mail, or instant messenger and is less likely to interrupt a work-flow.
Take Regular Breaks
Working efficiently means taking breaks. As counterproductive as it sounds, continually working throughout the day can impact the quality and quantity of output. By doing constant work for an allotted period of time (45 minutes or so) and then taking a short break afterwards, you are allowing yourself a chance to re-charge and re-focus. Taking a break can also provide insight to a problem that needs to be solved.
Encourage your team to take breaks throughout the day. If you have a team full of workaholics, think about starting an incentive program. One idea would be to start a walking program – promote physical and mental wellness by starting a friendly competition to see which employee can take the most steps during their breaks for a month, and reward the winner with a small gift card or hour off of work.
Keep a Positive Attitude and Outlook
Tying into mental wellness is a positive attitude and outlook. A happy worker is a productive worker, and not only will a negative attitude impact the one employee, it will likely impact the whole team. Managers and Supervisors can’t force team members to be happy, but it’s important for those in leadership roles to maintain a positive attitude, and foster an open environment while leading by example.
Negativity begets negativity, and promoting positivity in the workplace will inspire employees. Even when team members are struggling, keeping a positive outlook about the outcome of their work and guiding them in the right direction will improve their work and result in an overall greater accomplishment and will aid in building trust and respect.
Whether your team needs a boost to complete day to day tasks, or the skill set to complete an imperative project, these tips will set you up for success. By working to improve team efficiency individual employees as well as your overall company benefit. When you have a high level of team efficiency, ultimately you work smarter and can achieve more.