Americans have every right to feel tired. Most of us work over 40 hours each week.
And compared to the rest of the world, Americans work 137 hours more than Japanese workers, 499 more hours than French workers, and 260 more hours than British workers each year.
But do longer hours lead to workplace efficiency? Not at all, according to recent studies. In fact, those who work long hours end up with extra problems such as insomnia and nail-biting.
There’s a way to work fewer hours and be more productive at work. But you must create a plan and then follow it carefully.
If you’re looking for ways to learn how to be more productive, keep reading. We’re sharing our eight favorite tips for improving efficiency in the workplace.
1. Workplace Efficiency Increases When You Reduce Clutter
Clutter causes anxiety, overwhelm, and even depression. That’s not helpful when you’re trying to be more productive at work.
Have everyone go through the entire office to eliminate all clutter. Any documents you need to keep for legal reasons but no longer are necessarily needed at the office can be sent to a document management company.
Shred any other documents you no longer need. Don’t forget that eliminating e-clutter is just as important as physical clutter.
You can follow the same system for eliminating e-clutter as you do regular clutter.
2. Learn How to Prioritize
One major problem when learning how to increase productivity is determining which tasks are most important. That’s hard when everything seems incredibly important.
Start by making a list of all important tasks. Identify which tasks are important versus which tasks are urgent.
Assess which urgent tasks hold the highest value to the company as a whole. If you’re still stuck, go with the task that takes the longest to complete and is the most difficult.
Eliminate or delegate any tasks that you can so you have more time to focus.
3. Properly Train Employees
It’s hard for an employee to do their job well when they were never trained properly in the first place. Make sure you set up a system to ensure all employees receive proper training when they first arrive.
Then offer employees opportunities to continue their education. Employees work harder and smarter when they know what’s expected of them and they know how to get the job done.
They also work harder when they know they have a stake in their future. No one works hard when there’s no room for improvement or advancement.
4. Improve Communication Throughout the Entire Company
If you’re looking to be more productive at work, work to improve communication throughout the entire company. There are several ways you can improve communication in the workplace.
Start by encouraging your employees to contribute their ideas. This makes employees feel they’re a valuable asset rather than a cog in a wheel.
And it doesn’t matter if that employee is on the janitorial staff or the CIO. Let everyone have the opportunity to share their ideas in a safe environment.
Try holding a town hall meeting to share updates about the direction the business is heading. It’s hard to feel motivated as an employee when you’re kept in the dark about what’s going on.
Instead, share information readily and answer their questions. These strategies work because the more everyone feels they’re part of a team, the harder they’ll work because they actually care.
5. Manage Meetings More Efficiently
Most meetings are so poorly planned, they’re kind of a waste of time and energy. While you may not be able to avoid meetings altogether, you can change how they’re run.
You can try conducting meetings while standing up. Obviously, if someone needs to sit they can. But if most people are standing, the meeting ends that much more quickly.
Set an agenda before the meeting and e-mail it to everyone prior to the meeting. That way, you stay on target and everyone has a chance to prepare ahead of time.
Put time limits on how long the meeting and each agenda point last. And only invite those who absolutely have to be in the meeting. Let non-essentials keep focusing on their work.
6. Improve Workplace Conditions
It’s much easier to be more productive at work when your employees have the right tools and equipment to perform their duties efficiently and on time. It’s worth it to invest a little money to purchase high-quality, modern software and hardware to increase productivity.
And it’s not just about productivity: using outdated software and hardware doesn’t look all that great to your customers, either.
Noise and Temperature Levels Are Important
But there’s more to improving conditions than just investing in decent hardware and software. Make sure noise levels aren’t too high so people can concentrate.
Keep the temperature between 68 and 70 degrees F. If it’s too cold or too hot, employees end up fighting to concentrate and spend more time trying to cool down or heat up.
7. Schedule in Breaks
Watch the movie, “The Shining” and you’ll quickly learn that “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” No, your employees probably won’t go on a murderous rampage if they’re overworked, but you’re not going to get the best out of them, either.
Scheduling in periodic breaks throughout the day helps employees move around a bit. Sitting too long contributes to various health issues, some of which are very serious.
And staring at a screen all day is bad for your eyesight.
Taking a break means an employee has a moment to take a few breaths, refocus, and get their blood flowing again.
8. Encourage Healthy Eating Habits
You are what you eat. There’s plenty of evidence that eating healthy foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables helps to keep your mind and your body healthy.
Keeping plenty of healthy food options around at work ensures your employees have healthy options to eat throughout the day rather than grabbing chips because they’re quick and easy.
But snacking periodically also helps boost blood sugar levels that tend to lower in between meals. That means your employees stay mentally clear and keep their energy levels up longer.
Learn Relaxation Tips
There are a lot of ways to improve workplace efficiency. The trick is to find systems that work for you and to keep improving them.
And make sure you and your employees learn tips to lower your stress levels. Stress leads to health problems which means sick days and lowered productivity levels. Click here to learn a few relaxation tips your whole office can use.