Learning the fine art of productivity is not just to do with tools or processes, but it’s about what goes on beneath the surface. While many employees have been working from home, they’ve had to learn how to operate under their own initiative.
Some people will find it difficult to stay productive as they head back to work, but this is where we can use subtle tools and techniques to ensure that our employees remain productive.
Understanding the Benefit (and Hindrance) of Tools
When it comes to the right tools for managing a workforce, there’s a lot to choose from, but this is why we’ve got to remember that tools are not purely something to do the job for us, but they are there to take the heavy lifting out of the equation. It all depends on the work your employees do.
Everybody is productive in their own way and we can’t force them to work in one way. For example, people that need to create a lot of content may benefit more from writing the words and then later on adding images and supplementary content. This is why so many people would benefit from dictation software to ensure that they actually can do the word count within a very quick time frame, meaning they’ve done the hard stuff first.
Productivity and distraction are mortal enemies. Working in a noisy environment can be a very challenging situation, especially for those people who have felt the need to return to the office. So many people choose to listen to music while they work because it can help them get into the flow, but we’ve also got to remember that we can manage the noise level through the layout of the space.
Office acoustics can help you to manipulate the noise flowing through the office with several techniques. Understanding a little bit about how sound works can help you greatly minimize that “bleeds” into other areas. There is a lot that employees can use to further benefit their focus. Binaural beats at a rate of 40 Hz or higher will stimulate their brains in the right way. Some people don’t like binaural beats because their very essence can become distracting, however, it’s a good idea to start using them at a very low level or use one of the many videos on YouTube that have binaural beats combined with calming music.
The Power of Color
Colors are another key component that we can all benefit from in the office environment as colors will elicit different emotions from individuals. One of the most calming colors is blue, which can help people to focus on tasks. Therefore, having blue colors in the office can help in a subtle way.
You may feel that in order to retain productivity you need to completely cover the space in blue, but it’s all about the little details. Blue pictures or a blue statement wall could help with the overall productivity.
Providing the Right Energy Levels
The energy levels of your employees is something you can’t necessarily control. However, you’ve got to give them a variety of options that will help them to ensure that their energy levels stay even. Providing the right snacks will always make a big difference. Some people think that if they want to maintain their energy they’ve got to have copious amounts of caffeine, however, it’s important to communicate the right nutrition lessons. Perhaps you could hire a nutritionist to give some great information on how to elevate and maintain certain energy levels.
But while energy levels can partially be controlled by food, the reality is that rest is just as important. Giving your employees the opportunity to power down will always make a big difference. Small breaks such as those naturally built into the Pomodoro Technique will help to keep your employees’ productivity high.
Adding Natural Elements to the Space
We live in such an urbanized world that we can forget that, as humans, we were meant to be out in nature. Sitting under fluorescent lighting is not good for anybody, and while an office environment is predominantly urban and contemporary in feel, you don’t have to deny your office of any natural elements.
Take inspiration from those businesses that have installed a water fountain or a specialized garden for break times. You could also add some plants and flowers to the office, and even if you can’t do this, some images of natural settings can provide a very minuscule change that can have a positive impact on the overall vibe of the space. Remember, when we are incorporating more nature, it’s going to help us be healthier. Plants purify the air, therefore improving the air quality, so our employees and ourselves are going to feel slightly fresher.
It is such a difficult balance to get right, but one that is so important for you and your employees. When we are too hot we are not able to focus but also when we’re too cold, our fingers don’t work as well as they should. While people are more productive in warmer environments, you’ve got to remember that the temperature has a vital impact on our abilities to stay focused.
We also need to make that office environment something that can improve our sense of vitality. To ensure your team stays motivated, you’ve got to put a lot of components in place. Temperature is something that we are all sensitive to, and therefore, if we look at manipulating temperature we need to think that everybody has their own sensitivities.
Keeping productivity high is not just about the overt tactics but it’s about ensuring that you can keep your team productive without them realizing that they are in full flow. Appealing to their senses and also giving your employees a wide variety of options is crucial, especially as we enter hybrid working as part of the New Normal and need to offer our employees much more than we think they need. Productivity? It’s a very subtle notion.