An efficient, productive workplace is essential both to a business and the individuals that make it up. While in the thick of it, or during quiet periods, it can be easy to overlook things that could cause trouble in the future. Nobody wants to see deadlines looming on the horizon and be wishing that they had worked faster, harder, or pulled more overtime to get the work done. The following is a couple of common drains on productivity and some simple ways to solve them.
Go for a walk through your workspace, take it slowly. At some point, you will hear an exasperated groan, or frustrated mumbling, or the rapid-fire sound of someone hammering their mouse button as they try and get the same document to load for the third time in the last half hour. Every one of these sounds – plus many, many more – is the symptom of some piece of equipment not doing what it’s supposed to, or doing it slower than it should. Make note of these things, and then go looking for efficient fixes and alternatives.
Bear in mind that no all of these problems will be related exclusively to your hardware. Things like your internet provider could be letting you down, and despite NBN-related promises from the government, the truth is that some NBN alternatives are really worth looking at. The software on your computers may also be outdated, and it is worth seeing what new programs are being designed to streamline workplace processes.
Most people struggle at least a little when the pressure is high. Even those individuals who truly thrive under pressure cannot do so sustainably. Everybody has their limits and, if these limits are not acknowledged, they can result in impediments to productivity that are actually incredibly easy to avoid.
Stress is not strictly a bad thing, even at work. The critical factor in determining positive stress is perspective. If staff believe that something good will come of the stressful times, then productivity can increase. Remember, though, that everyone responds to stress differently, and that the methods for coming down from stress can vary greatly. A round of drinks on Friday might sound like a great way to let off steam, but not everyone will feel comfortable with it.
Be in tune with your staff as individuals, as well as a working whole. Staff who feel supported and heard are far more likely to step up when it comes to the crunch.
This is an insidious one. If the people in charge of a workplace begin accepting work without knowing the current workload and capabilities of their staff, the results can be catastrophic; not only for the new work but for existing projects too. When the workload feels too big, some people find it difficult to focus, others lose all motivation and the work pace slows to a crawl. Even the pressure-powered superstars can have a hard time picking up the slack.
It’s more a matter of avoidance, in this case, but it’s no less important. Being aware of what staff are capable of is important, and it may even pay to consult some of them before agreeing to more work.
This is by no means an exhaustive list. The key aspect is to maintain awareness of everything in the workspace and keep an eye out for symptoms. You can offer to stay back and complete a task for a harried staff member, but if the problem is in the procedures, then it is simply going to keep happening. Make sure you’re always looking for ways to improve existing tasks, and things will go a lot smoother when everyone is under the pump.