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How to Increase Workplace Productivity

workplace with bright fresh flowers

When employees miss deadlines, struggle to stay on task, and come into the office half asleep, it’s easy to say they’re the problem. They’re being so lazy. They simply don’t care. However, what you may not realize is that you’re creating a work environment that crushes productivity!

Whether you’re an employer looking to motivate your office workers or a work-from-home employee looking for ways to stay focused, we have a few tips that can help.

Tips for Increasing Productivity in the Office

It’s easy for the office to become a place your workers dread. However, we probably don’t need to tell you these negative emotions will not help your company succeed.

Creating an office where your employees feel respected and valued will not only help workers, it will improve the company as a whole.

Add Flowers and Plants

It’s no secret that spending time in nature can help us feel refreshed. Just think about how you feel after a walk in the park! The tricky part is figuring out how to bring these valuable natural – and their benefits – to our workspaces. Fortunately, recent studies have shown that adding flowers and plants to the home and office can provide us with the boost of nature we need.

Don’t believe us? Check the research.

To better understand how flowers and plants impact office workers, researchers at Texas A&M University completed an eight-month study. In the study, they placed participants into one of three office environments: one with fresh flowers and plants, one with sculptures, and one with no decorations.

Researchers then asked the participants to perform similar tasks. Results showed that the people who were surrounded by flowers and plants came up with more ideas to solve problems and exhibited greater creativity.

Not only do flowers increase creativity, but they can also help reduce stress. Another study conducted by researchers at Harvard looked at how receiving bouquets impacted recipients’ emotions. Perhaps it’s not very surprising that flowers improved relaxation and boosted the participants’ moods. However, what is a bit surprising is that having flowers in your home can also increase your energy and compassion at work.

If you want to capitalize on these floral benefits, there are all sorts of ways to do so. Flower subscription boxes allow you to regularly send flowers to an employee’s home, so they can come into work refreshed and relaxed. And if you’re looking for ways to add flowers to the whole office, corporate gifting packages make it easy.

Create a Comfortable Environment

If you think back to Psychology 101 and Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, you’ll remember that humans can’t accomplish much unless their basic needs are met. If you’ve ever tried to work with a grumbling stomach or while shivering in a cold office, you know what we’re talking about.

Aim to keep the office temperature at a comfortable temperature, around 65-75ºF. Not only will this range keep humans happy, but it’s also the perfect temperature for those new plant gifts.

A stash of snacks, water, and coffee will also help keep employees focused so they can concentrate on work projects.

Eliminate Unnecessary Meetings

We’ve all heard it before. Could that meeting be a phone call? Could that phone call be an email? Do you even need to send that email?

Not only do these communications take up time, but they can also interrupt an employee’s workflow. When you scrap unnecessary meetings from the agenda, employees can focus on tasks that keep the company moving forward.

Encourage Breaks

While it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking non-stop work is synonymous with productivity, this isn’t true. Viewing the workday as a sprint rather than a marathon can quickly lead to burnout. Since many workers have a hard time stepping away from their desks, encourage and ask about breaks.

While any type of break is beneficial, short periods of physical activity are extra helpful. To encourage these types of breaks, ask workers to share highlights from their 15-minute mid-morning walk with the team or create a system for workers to track their physical activity.

Help Employees Feel Valued

Nobody likes working at a place where they feel their contributions go unnoticed and unvalued. Creating a workplace that feels more like a team than a group of co-workers can go a long way to increasing productivity.

One way to do this is by celebrating accomplishments. If someone just completed a project that exceeded expectations, let them know! And if someone has been working behind the scenes to make others’ days easier, recognize their contributions.

Of course, you don’t need to wait for a big achievement or holiday to let your employees know you appreciate them. A handwritten note or thoughtful gift is a great way to keep your employees motivated. Plus there’s a lot of evidence that shows how corporate gifting can increase productivity.

Tips for Increasing Work from Home Productivity

While in-office employees and those working from home may be completing the same types of tasks, the two work environments can drastically vary. Remote workers can’t pop over to your desk so you can review a chart, and they miss out on the lunchtime banter that builds the type of camaraderie found in successful companies. With that said, remote workers can be productive!

These tips will help workers get things done, whether they’re working from a home office or a makeshift desk in their living room.

Remove Distractions

We know it’s easier said than done. But removing distractions – like a heaping pile of laundry and a never-ending stream of texts – can make working from home much easier.

Checking in with employees about their WFH situations can help them develop a better setup. Suggest they designate a specific area of their home as a work zone. This could be a home office or a particular chair at their dining room table. Suggest they clear this area of distractions, and let family members know that this is a working zone; this means interruptions should be limited to emergencies.

Add a Houseplant

Even if your employees are stuck working at a desk in a dark corner of their home, they can still add a bit of a natural feel to the space with the help of a new houseplant! Not only will these plants make the space feel more inviting, but they can also increase focus.

Since there are houseplants for every level of plant lover, potted plants are some of the best gifts for employees. You can send a snake plant or succulent to the plant newbie and order a monstera for the dedicated plant parent.

Set Specific Goals

It’s impossible to accomplish a goal if you don’t have one in the first place! Even if office workers are tuned into the larger company objectives for the day, week, and month, remote workers may be left out of the loop.

Set aside time to establish specific goals with each employee. What do you hope they will accomplish each day and week? Not only will this give them a specific way to measure their productivity, but it may also spark conversations regarding how you can help them achieve their goals.

Try the Pomodoro Technique

When we have a long list of tasks and a full day ahead, it’s easy to go back and forth between tasks, all while checking our email, fielding text messages, and catching up on the news. If your employees struggle to focus at home, the Pomodoro technique may help.

This method involves defining concrete periods of work and rest. By working for 25 minutes then completely resting for a few minutes, workers can look at their day as a series of manageable chunks rather than a never-ending slog. While 25 minutes is the traditional work period, don’t be afraid to play with the time to find an interval that works for you.

Check In On Employees

Just because you don’t see your employees every day doesn’t mean you shouldn’t regularly check in on them! We’d argue that it’s even more important to check in on employees who are working remotely. Set aside time each week or month to chat with each of your employees one on one.

First, have a conversation about the actual work. Do they have everything they need to succeed? Could they use some extra support or guidance? You may be surprised by how creating one simple document or calling a meeting to clear up confusion can drastically improve productivity.

Along with checking in about work, take a moment to ask about the employee’s life outside the office. While you don’t need to know everything they did over the weekend, it is good to let them know you care about them as a person. This way, they’re more likely to come to you when they need a bit of extra help.

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