Productivity is the main ingredient of any business’s recipe for success. With less input, an efficient workforce can produce more output, all while increasing profitability and reducing waste. Although profits are important to any organization, productivity is also a tell-tale sign of effective management, motivated employees and satisfied customers.

That means less absenteeism, higher morale and exceptional quality of work—just to name a few benefits. However, with so many distractions sneaking under the radar, it’s challenging to get the most out of your workday. In this article, we give you the scoop on what could be killing your team's productivity, and how to defeat it so you can regain control of your team's time.

1. Extreme organizational structures

The mid 2000s is an ambivalent time for the evolution of workplace design. While bean bag board rooms are quickly becoming an office space trend, the monolithic insanity of cubicles still reign in several organizations. In recent years, there’s been a push for unconventional workspaces to boost the creative dreaming that bureaucracy once crushed.

Although foosball tables and group workspaces encourage innovation, they can hinder efficiency. In fact, the Office Workplace Productivity Survey found that although 27% of employees prefer open-concept office settings, 86% also find that it's in the silence of working alone where they achieve maximum productivity.  

Work environments are a constant balancing act between structure and flexibility, and each style comes with its downsides in terms of productivity.

Allow your team to take time to separate themselves from the office. For instance, encourage them to go out for lunch instead of staying at their desks, work from home, and take short walks outdoors every couple of hours. This will help reinvigorate their minds and improve their long-term productivity, regardless of the work environment they're in.

2. Worshipping or fearing technology

As technology continues to advance rapidly, so does the growing fear among skeptics that machines will soon replace the jobs that pay their bills. While this may be a far-fetched worry, many companies have already invested in high-tech IT systems for data and information gathering, replacing tasks previously done by humans.

However, no IT system or machinery can beat human intelligence and insight on its own. Instead of replacing people with machines or avoiding new technology altogether, your staff should use tools made to boost efficiency.

Every day, there are lots of software solutions and web apps entering the market to help people do business better. Calendar apps sync with colleagues to prevent double-booking, video conferencing platforms reduce travel time for meetings, and secure business chat apps like Rolo let you discuss business privately on-the-go.

Slot some time into your schedule to browse the latest software and web apps and take a step back from the tried and true methods of doing business.  

3. Wasting time in the endless scroll

Whether your guilty pleasure is DIY crafts on Pinterest, foodporn on Instagram, or cat videos on YouTube, you’ve likely been a victim of the endless scroll. Social media is the king of procrastination and the killer of productivity, especially at work. Every notification pulls us back into the addictive blackhole of swiping, with each minute adding up.

The GlobalWebIndex report shows that people are spending on average 2 hours and 16 minutes per day scrolling on social platforms and many of us are guilty of it during working hours.

Aside from social media, email also puts a major drain on productivity at work. We’re accustomed to opening each notification we receive, reading it, and then engaging with the content instead of going back to our previous task.

It’s up to you and your team to be self-discipline so you can regain control of your workday. There are a few things you can try to reduce the time you spend scrolling:

  • If you have a smartphone, set a daily limit on social apps
  • Each time you take a mental break from work to scroll, set an alarm
  • Do a social media detox to break the habit of scrolling aimlessly—you’ll likely take fewer breaks and do more productive things during them
  • Set a timer to focus on a task and only check emails when it’s up

4. Lacking a sense of purpose

Employees without purpose are unhappy, and unhappy employees are a recipe for disaster when it comes to productivity. When people lose sight of their role in the company, they begin seeing work as a series of endless tasks, just to pay the bills.

Why does this happen? A feeling of purposelessness among workers can usually be traced back to poor management. If managers are unclear about their expectations or hesitate to let employees take more responsibility, then people feel their work isn’t making any impact.

Eventually they’ll feel trapped, lose a sense of value and their quality of work will plummet. There are several things both managers and employees can do in these scenarios to bring some life back into the workday.

Managers can...

  • formulate clear performance metrics and benchmarks of expectations
  • reward employees that meet and exceed those expectations
  • make more decisions collaboratively with the team instead of top-down
  • offer more challenging tasks and responsibilities to high-performing employees

Employees can...

  • voluntarily take on a project to improve or optimize a process at work
  • set a daily personal goal and review how you did before leaving work
  • introduce a workplace extracurricular they're passionate about (e.g. charity bake sales, running group, or book club)
  • request more performance reviews and status meeting with colleagues and managers

5. Unnecessary meetings

Your schedule is constantly under attack, whether its impromptu phone calls or overtime meetings, there’s always something stealing your attention away from that to-do list. While prioritizing tasks and using a planner are great first steps to achieving productivity, the real challenge is sticking to them throughout the day.

Overcoming distractions is tough, especially ones that involve interacting with colleagues. In fact, 40% of employees surveyed by the Office Workplace Productivity Survey said idle chatting at water coolers or desks is a main distraction.

One effective way to limit unnecessary face-to-face interaction is to avoid it altogether by using instant messaging to get in contact. By using a secure business chat like Rolo, you can connect with your team and get to the point quickly without wasting time in chit-chat and long meetings.  

Conclusion

Whether it's pesky notifications, long meetings, or you simply haven't taken advantage of the productivity tech on the market, you're now armed with the tools you need to defeat any distraction and prevent procrastination. By implementing these solutions, you'll do business better, get more out of your workday, reduce stress and sky-rocket your productivity.