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Three Tips to Help Your Team Work SMARTER, Not Necessarily LONGER Hours

Like other managers, one of your goals is to increase your team’s efficiency and productivity. There are good and bad ways to approach this subject. Encouraging team members to work harder is ineffective. Coming to the office early and working late into the night does not guarantee quality work or bigger achievements. This is why you need to show your team how to work smarter, rather than work longer hours. Here are three ways to accomplish this goal.  

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Shorten Meetings 

Reduce your meetings to 15 minutes or a half-hour. Any longer than this is ineffective. Decide who the decision-maker is, items to include on the agenda, and who needs to participate. Focus on meaningful conversations with a clear purpose. Use the time to share ideas, offer help, and make decisions that result in specific outcomes. Ask questions to develop the conversation. Listen to your team more than you talk. Be sure everyone contributes to the discussionIf the conversation becomes too complicated to finish in the time allotted, continue it at a later time. Present a resolution at your next meeting.  

Encourage Questions 

Remind your team how important it is to ask lots of questions. Ensure they understand what they need to do to complete projects. Clarify individual roles and responsibilities, resources, deadlines, and related issues. Point out the value of asking team members or you for answers to questions rather than potentially spending hours on research. Remind everyone that interacting with colleagues is an important source of learning. If nobody has the answer, encourage them to find it as a team. Everyone will have the information going forwardSet regular check-ins to discuss progress, answer questions, and resolve issues.  

Emphasize Breaks 

Point out how taking regular breaks boosts productivity. Suggest working for 45 minutes and taking a 5- to 10-minute break. Drink a glass of water, meditate, or chat with a coworker in the breakroom. Use half of the lunch hour to eat and half to take a walk, read a book, or have a power nap. Come back feeling more focused, creative, and productive. These actions lower stress and decrease the odds of becoming burnt out. 

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