Effective ways of improving productivity at work
A typical employee spends eight to nine hours at work every day. Considering the fact that, as an employee, you spend more time at work than with families and loved ones, it is important that you do work that counts.
The workplace isn’t a somewhere you simply get paid for showing up every morning, what really matters is the amount of meaningful work that gets accomplished. What determines whether you become a top performer, get a raise or a promotion often boils down to your level of productivity at work. Remember that this is why you were employed in the first place.
Productivity in today’s workplace is no longer what it used to be. According to Forbes productivity, today, focuses on how well you are able to adapt yourself to optimising your performance at work.
Workers who come to work every day, are the first in the office and the last to leave, are busy all day, rarely take breaks, skip meetings, take lunch at their desks, never miss deadlines and always complete their tasks usually seem like the most productive employees. This is, however, not always the case. Why? Because, more often than not, such workers always produce the same kind of work and rarely push boundaries.
Productivity is about creativity, ingenuity, innovation and delivering real value. Not blindly completing tasks on-time. It goes beyond that. Companies with employees who don’t push boundaries and do what is known as evergreen work will stagnate and eventually die. So, how then do you increase your productivity at work?
1. Cultivate great work ethics and skills
According to a Global O.C Tanner survey, more managers around the world are beginning to de-emphasize a hundred percent efficiency in tasks and focusing more on great work that achieves real results and isn’t just about current initiatives. What does this mean for you as an employee? Simple, stop trying to be perfect. Rather, focus more of your energy on improving outcomes.
Forbes advise that you spend “…less time blindly completing tasks and more time questioning, thinking, and collaborating.” To be productive in today’s workplace, you:
- Cannot afford to isolate yourself
- Must ask inquisitive questions that spur innovative ideas
- Take time to stop and ideate
- Consult with colleagues and supervisors about the solution and incorporate diverse knowledge and viewpoints into your work.
- Break big tasks into small chunks
- Commit early to something very important
- Set your schedule for the next day the night before you leave the office
2. Take short breaks
The human body is not configured to be static and motionless over a long period of time. Sitting at your desk for hours poses a grave danger to the body. This is why you need to take frequent breaks at work, especially if your job is not one that takes you out of your workspace or the office frequently. According to a report by Quantum Workplace, employees are 14 percent more engaged when provided time off to recharge.
Sitting in a spot for too long leads to a significant drop in lipoprotein lipase (LPL), which is the enzyme responsible for breaking down fat in the bloodstream and converting it to energy and causes a buildup of fat cells. In simpler English, a lack of movement could sap you of much-needed energy.
Consider taking short walking breaks. It reinvigorates your mind and body and ultimately helps you become more creative and productive at work.
3. Healthy snacking to stay focused
Staying productive at work requires that you feed on healthy snacks. As the popular saying goes: you are what you eat. This is especially true at work because healthy employees are more productive.
According to a research by the Health Enhancement Research Organization (HERO), Brigham Young University and the Center for Health Research at Healthways, employees who eat healthily are 25 percent more likely to have higher job performance.
Instead of a heavy lunch or carb-laden food and drinks that may lead to fatigue, try to choose a high-protein snack or a healthy snack. The carbs will keep you energised, and high-protein snacks will help control your appetite and keep your blood sugar at normal levels. Remember, better health is about making better choices.
4. Learn to say “NO”
One of the hardest things to do at work is saying an emphatic “NO” to your colleagues. You don’t want to be labelled as being uncooperative or selfish. That’s understandable but you really need to learn to respectfully decline invitations and/or offers.
Asked to sit in a meeting that, frankly, doesn’t require your attendance? Skip it. Also, avoid multi-tasking. Rather, concentrate on working on one relevant task or project at a time and you’ll achieve better results.
Whatever you do, learn to say NO to distractions at work. According to research by SentryPC, “Internet surfing of non-work related nature results in up to a 40% loss of productivity each year for American businesses.” How? See for yourself:
- 64% of employees say they visit non-work related websites each and every day on the job
- 70% of all pornographic website traffic occurs during the nine to five workday
- 92% of stock trading happens during the work day
- 30% of employees said they watch sports online while at work
- 25% of those surveyed said they have shopped online while at work rather than doing so at home
- 46% of workers said they actively look for a new job on the internet during work at their current job
5. Do more of the things that make you happy
According to a study by the Social Market Foundation and the University of Warwick, happiness led to a 12% spike in staff productivity.
Shawn Anchor, the author of ‘The Happiness Advantage,’ also found that the “brain works much better when a person is feeling positive.”
People also tend to be “more creative and better at solving problems” when they are happy. In addition, research has proven that happy workers collaborate and work more effectively toward common goals. It follows that your productivity levels would greatly increase if you do more of the things that make you happy.
At work, some of those things that make you happy could include building strong relationships with co-workers, helping out co-workers, meditating for at least two minutes every day, and reflecting on three things to be grateful for at work. The Harvard Business Review (HBR) for shares some more ideas on staying happy at work.
Delivering the best value to your employer and making a difference for customers or clients should be your major goal on the job. To achieve this, you must commit to a better work ethic, healthy eating, regular breaks and doing more of what makes you happy.
It may seem ironic but you really need to do more for yourself, if you’ll indeed deliver better value to your employer.
What productive tips have you been using lately? Tell us in the comment section.