How to Increase Productivity From Your Creative Team
Productivity is something every business owner wants to increase, but typically struggles to figure out the right formula. When it comes to creative teams, the last thing you want is to squelch their creativity in some way. Finding the right balance between pushing them to improve and encouraging them to dream isn't easy.
About one-third of employees are disengaged on the job, and lack of employee engagement costs companies somewhere between $450 and $550 billion each year. What if you could turn those numbers around and ensure everyone on your team felt engaged and productive, no matter the season or other outside influences?
Part of productivity involves the worker and how well they focus and apply themselves. Not everyone has the same level of drive. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to enhance the productivity of your creative team.
1. Encourage Collaboration
In a study of over 1,000 companies, researchers found companies that encouraged collaboration between employees gained workers who were five times more likely to be high-performing. This makes sense, because working with people from different departments and with different skill sets spurs creativity and new ideas. Instead of only working with the creative team, if leaders pull in ideas from sales and leadership too, the brainstorming alone inspires new and exciting transitions.
2. Improve the Work Space
Even minor improvements to the workspace may help workers not get as distracted. While open concept offices are popular right now, some people work best in a quiet area without distractions. Allow for the advantages of an open concept while still providing pods or separate offices where people can go when they need to get away from the hustle and bustle of the office.
Other things that help people perform at maximum capacity include ergonomic office furniture, such as desks that convert from sitting to standing and a variety of tools like mouse pads with wrist supports or comfortable chairs.
3. Update Your Break Room
Everyone needs short breaks from work here and there to recharge and return to the task re-energized. Is your break room a pleasant place for workers to spend time? Or is it a dark, closed-off dungeon of a room? Think about ways to enhance your break room space. Adding frameless glass panels brings in more natural light, for example, while still allowing the space to be set apart from the rest of the office.
4. Offer a Long Lunch Break
The modern office has shifted to a results-driven place. That works sometimes, but it can also create employee burnout. When employees step away from the task at hand, they may find they come back with a fresh perspective. There is a big connection between how engaged employees are and whether they get a lunch break or not.
About 20% of American workers think their boss will see them as lazy if they take lunch breaks too frequently, and others worry about what co-workers think. Create a company culture that encourages regular breaks and understands breaks are important for refilling the creative well. Encourage your creative team to get outside and take a walk, too, or even visit a nearby museum.
5. Allow Remote Work
In a survey of over 3,000 workers, 65% felt they were more productive at home because of fewer distractions and interruptions from colleagues. Not to mention the stress of commuting to the office and the strain of office politics.
Remote work is highly desirable and may even help your company attract some of the top creatives in the industry. The idea of working from home is quite attractive because of the savings in transportation and clothing costs, not to mention more time with the family thanks to the lack of a commute.
6. Encourage Five-Minute Meetings
Have you heard of a stand-up meeting? This is a quick, five-minute meeting (no need to sit down) where everyone gets on the same page and can, therefore, work more productively through the rest of the day. The leader can highlight a task that needs to be completed that day, update the group on goals or get an update from a vital component of a project. Five-minute meetings in the morning help avoid the onerous emails back and forth and the trips to co-workers' desks to find out where they are on a project.
7. Use Project Management Software
Project management software allows workers to see which tasks still need finished and who is working on what. And yes — project management software is even beneficial when everyone works under one roof. There is no lag time in figuring out where others are in their tasks. Team members see at a glance where everyone is and what still needs completing.
For jobs where many different elements need to come together, look for project management which shows elements of the project or at least allows for uploaded files. This lets the writers see where the graphic designers are and the marketing professionals to see what everyone is working on at any given time. It's a seamless way of coordinating bigger projects and breaking smaller tasks into manageable parts. It also avoids a scenario where an important piece of the puzzle goes missing.
8. Develop a Company Culture for Improvement
Does your company inspire your workers to improve? You must invest in your employees with training and team-building workshops. Think about the long-term impact you want these programs to have on your team. Do you want them to work together like a well-oiled machine? That might not happen after one trust-building workshop, but it might happen after three workshops and a retreat. Think of these tools as investments that help your brand in the long run and build the best creative team and best employee bank in the business.
In addition to team-building tools, consider productivity enhancers such as challenging your workers to get "one percent better" in time or talent with each task. Reward success and those who strive to learn and do better for your company. Offer software that helps them with productivity but doesn't invade their privacy. For example, a timer they can use on their desktop for spurts of work and break time is a welcome tool, but software that tracks their every move and makes them feel jittery isn't.
9. Reduce Stress
It only makes sense that a stressed worker is a less productive worker. Stress impacts our focus and ability to stay with a task for long periods of time. Reducing the stress for your team is a vital part of creating a productive group. The standard advice for combating stress includes exercise and activities such as deep breathing and personal activities the person enjoys.
Get out of the office as a team and take a walk and get some fresh air. If things are getting particularly heated in exchanges between team members, encourage them to take a break alone for a bit and reconnect after they have time to de-stress. Host a yoga class during lunch time or plan classes for after-hours in activities the person might enjoy. Insist your team takes their lunch and frequent breaks to step away from high-stress situations and come back refreshed.
Trust Your Team
If you've hired well and worked at building your team, it's time to step back and trust them to do what they do best. Many managers make the mistake of micromanaging their employees. This isn't a good use of your time and it frustrates highly skilled workers — many will just leave and go somewhere they feel more trusted to complete the tasks they're more than capable of completing. Give them the tools needed to grow and then allow them the freedom to become more productive and valuable to the team.