What is Productivity and what is efficiency? People often confuse these 2 words. To put it simply, productivity is the quantity of work produced by a team, business or individual in a period of time. Efficiency, on the other hand, refers to the resources used to produce that work and is more concerned with the quality of the outcome and the timeframe.
Let’s think of a scenario. You started planning and doing 6 different projects at the same time. On paper (or maybe in a presentation to your boss), it looks wildly impressive and feels like you had one heck of a productive week. But, what if half of those were rejected and the quality of the final outcome didn’t meet the standards of the company? Wouldn’t it be better to spend the time focusing on 2-3 projects instead of all 6 by weighing between the urgency and importance of each project?
To sum all that up, one is about working harder, while the other is all about working smarter. Should we forgo one and stick to the other? I believe both work hand in hand to achieve the best outcome. We should always try to achieve more by setting targeted goals and then by implementing the best strategies/planning and strive to get the best results.
And of course, it’s not as easily done as said. We should always go back to basics and start building from there. Here are some ways to help us be more productive and efficient.
Getting The Best Results From Meetings
Before any meeting, first clearly identify if all the proposed topics and issues are necessary to be discussed in the meeting. Is this something that it can be resolved by the people that are present in the meeting? Or is it something that can be settled by talking to a person directly? What (or who) will give you a clear decision? For every meeting invite, it is best to have a clear agenda and strongly request that everyone needs to come prepared for it. When invitees come unprepared, the host will then have to spend a considerable amount of time explaining the reason for the meeting and trying to get everyone up to speed. Thus, consuming valuable time that could otherwise spent on other more urgent matters.
Before every meeting, to help the process move faster, you can potentially share details of one or two of the major topics in advance that would help to steer the conversation to the right direction so that when the meeting starts, you can begin by asking people to share their feedback and views immediately during the discussion. It’s important to build and reinforce a positive habit of starting and finishing meetings on time.
Building Relationships With Your Team
Most of us spend thousands and thousands of hours at work over a lifetime. That is a lot of time away from our family and friends and in fact many of us see our co-workers even more than our family. So, why not we make work fun? Or maybe getting to know our team and co-workers a little better? It’s good to be social and approachable to people. Not just to our clients, but also to our colleagues. This improves collaboration and communication better during difficult situations at work. Here are some ways to be more social and maybe more human:-
1) Hanging out with your co-workers once a week or month. Spend a little time bonding and understanding one another. Find a common interest and sign up for any social activities together.
2) Make it a point to give your neighbor a nudge or a simple ‘Hi’ to someone in the office every day. It will start off the day with a whole different vibe. It’s always great to have positive energy in the room.
3) Given that most of us are working remotely now, you can engage with your remote teams by just having a quick video call to catch up with each other’s life or just a quick ‘how was your day’ would be nice.
Spicing up your day with team activities
Team productivity is not only about the work we do, but also depends on the relationship between each team members. The more the team understand each other the more the workplace becomes a happier place. It’s not just about how happy the person ‘looks’, what’s important is how the person feels within. This will affect the productivity and efficiency of a person. When you work with different people over a period of time, there is certain to be some dissatisfaction and conflicts. To build stronger connections that also helps to overcome these, you can incorporate some team building exercises. Not only it will add some fun element but will also wash away any grudges or miscommunications between the team members.
There is no express or single way to empower teams. With small and consistent practices, you lay the foundation of a productive environment. With constant support, positivity and encouragement, you’ll see evolving positive changes in and around your team.