Maintaining the productivity of mixed work teams

We all strive to be productive and some days may be easier than others. Although it often comes down to the employees themselves, employers can do a lot to have a productive team.

In the era of hybrid work we live in, the commute to the office is one of the biggest drains on employee productivity, as many people move to areas outside cities during the COVID-19 crisis. Most companies are now hybrid, and people are generally less productive in the office due to office gossip, but I’m a huge advocate of this as it fosters camaraderie among team members. I don’t care if teams come into the office a few days a week and are 35% less productive, because collaboration is so important within teams. It’s about building strong relationships and unity which in turn will enhance efficiency as the team has greater synergy.

Synergy on difference
To ensure team synergy, regular Teams meetings are important to ensure there is a sense of collaboration. I think a policy that every organization should consider is to make sure everyone’s camera is on during virtual meetings because it brings the personal element to a concept that’s a bit strange.

Members of my teams sometimes set up Teams group calls to get things done – they can do database work and email and don’t necessarily need to talk to each other but it helps them feel like they’re in the same room even though they’re not.

Sprint work
An efficiency strategy that we really value is working in sprints because it can dramatically boost productivity. The technology sector can work in one- or two-week blocks of time to meet project deadlines, fueling the agile business model. Most companies can implement a two-hour sprint into their day to ensure 100% focus and effort to deliver high-quality work on key tasks.

Sprints also work well within teams, providing another element of motivation. Small teams of five people may work on the same task so they can allocate time and create achievable results. Turning off phones, emails, and setting up your workspace before the clock starts is crucial and ensures there are no interruptions during the blocked time.

Once the sprint is completed, employees can take a break and then focus on emails and meetings while feeling satisfied that the main task has been completed.

Workspace setup and individual productivity patterns
It goes without saying that the physical component of the business is no less important than the strategic component. Setting up a Wi-Fi network is essential, but your workspace should be comfortable. This may serve as fixed desks for some employees, but it should always be a place where you are productive.

Offering an area where employees can go, relax and socialize when they are in the office is widely appreciated. If there’s been a busy day with meetings and the team wants to play a game of football in the office or go out for coffee to reset, this should be encouraged.

It’s about giving employees flexibility and the ability to manage their day to fit their productivity patterns. Offering flexible hours can be helpful – some work well early in the day and others work better in the evening, but it’s about providing that option that suits the individual.

Incentives go a long way too. Having performance bonuses, team vacations and team member awards every quarter motivates teams.

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