One of the biggest workplace challenges these days is managing the collective workload of a team. Working as a team is not easy with the clashes due of individual differences. Everyone who has ever work on a school project can relate to that. A team works best only when it is managed to work effectively, more so in an organizational setup. A manager/boss needs to set a strategic vision while working keeping the goals and expectations in check. A team should have set goals and it is critical that every member of the team understands his/her priority tasks.
There are a number of critical factors that contribute to effective team productivity such as goal-setting, communication, individual autonomy, etc. First and foremost there is a need to rethink the daily meeting. ‘No meeting days’ are becoming increasingly popular. Though it is given that meeting is essential to regulate the team’s work, managers also need to understand that simply taking about what is being done and how it can be done is not enough to make these meeting productive. Team meeting should be short, precise, interactive and organized. Any manager should avoid one-sided long meetings. Every meeting should have an outcome.
Secondly, it is given but crucial that there should be effective communication between the colleagues and the workers and management. Differences between people should be acknowledged and less stressful environment should be created. Team members should interact with each other about time management and project development. It is also important to understand that helpful behavior is important within a team but helping others all the time came be tiring to a person. It shouldn’t cut back on an individual’s own productivity.
Various research works have also illustrated that while brainstorming can be innovative ideas and better work communication within a team, it can also lead to disputes or create a space for only a few outspoken members of the team. Another major factor contributing to team productivity is the necessity for regular downtime during long work hours. These downtimes are regulated to create better cycles of work and fun at the workplace. Vacations and regular recreation activities help put the churning work wheel in the backseat while the team members find the time and space to reenergize and even bond among themselves during these group recreational activities.
Research has also helped pin some particular behavior patterns among the members of the team that boosts their and the team’s overall productivity. Every individual member should prioritize their work and take accountability for the overall progress of the group tasks. A to-do-list goes a long way to help the brain even when the list is not completed. It helps a person to keep tabs on their daily and overall progress. A person should avoid taking work into their personal spaces otherwise, they will have no disengagement from their work, probably causing anticipatory stress even in absence of any work. Multitasking is a hazard for both the person and team productivity. It shifts focus and disintegrates thinking and executive processes within a team. Brian Tracy, a researcher, and productivity expert warns the managers and workers about the ill-effects of the use of social media on team productivity. He states researches that show that every time a person’s goes online or checks into his/her social media, their dopamine level. It cuts back into their productive time and energy. It results in the work overload that people are increasingly complaining about. So unless your work profile explicitly demands you sit online and reply to emails or messages on various social media sites, workers should shift their days to offline mode.
It is essential for team productivity that members should focus on ‘what’ is right rather than disagreeing over ‘who’ is right. The team members should focus on knowing their customers, reach the best product value and increasingly make effort to attract their target costumers and not settling for available customers. Each member of the team should respect and value their time, plan out their work and stick to the timelines to avoid getting caught up in the cycles of procrastination.
Defining tasks, taking on responsibility, removing distractions, creating healthy workplace environment and having a smooth management are some of the few ways to increase team productivity.