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Productivity Buzz: We’re Doing Better, Not Our Best

With breakthrough technologies galore and more suggested work practices than you could ever hope to adopt as habit, it’s not the tools we don’t have or tricks we haven’t thought of that are keeping us from reaching our productivity potential. What gives?

Well, according to some recent labor stats, it’s how we’re implementing all of those tips and gizmos that’s tripping us up. Apparently, we’re just not being productive enough about being productive.

The Road Less Traveled

With around 70 percent of employees and companies reporting that workers are more productive than they were five years ago, it’s clear that we’re on the right track. And it’s no surprise; a massive influx of software and apps intended to help us maximize our productivity, coupled with strategic practices like the GTD method, are giving modern workers the mobility and support they need to be more effective, efficient, and successful.

But according to this piece from PR Newswire, “both employers and employees feel that technology limitations (56 percent), employee burnout (44 percent) and non-collaborative work environments (36 percent) are the top three reasons for decreased productivity in the workplace.” It’s all part of a pretty vicious cycle some organizations have inadvertently perpetuated: given the option to use advanced technology to facilitate collaboration, companies worry about the up-front cost instead of the investment. Or they’ll adopt the technology, but fail to implement it strategically, leaving employees scrambling with more questions than solutions. And even if they embrace the right tools and provide substantial support, there’s still a high risk of distraction in environments with cutting-edge stuff and abundant brainstorming. Is there no winning, then?

We Have the Technology. We Can Rebuild…Our Offices

There’s some back and forth concerning what, exactly, a collaborative workspace looks like — and depending on how it’s constructed, how effective it really is at driving productivity. In a landscape of cubicles, distractions run rampant and drive people to find empty conference rooms or proverbial walls like headphones to escape the noise and diversions. Fostering collaboration in spite of these obstacles can be a major challenge, but there are a few ways to make it happen:

  • Keep it casual. Offices that go the way of the beanbag let people feel more relaxed when they come to work; they’re more likely to strike up creative conversations with their coworkers, boosting natural collaboration and in turn, productivity.
  • Amenities everywhere. It’s important that your employees have a place to go to refuel, refresh, and give their brains healthy breaks. Stock kitchens and break rooms with inviting furniture and nutritious snacks, and always encourage people to take a casual minute or two if they really need it.
  • Don’t just talk about collaboration software. Use it. We’ve mentioned this before: it’s all well and good to adopt a fancy enterprise social networking platform or task management product, but HBR reports that “technology adoption alone, without the accompanying changes in work practices, [has] little or even a negative impact on productivity.” After all, tools are only as useful as the people using them.

Understanding exactly how different types of collaboration impact your business, and how to modify what you’re already doing to make the best of any new approaches, is critical to to their success — no matter what the process, strategy is key.

And Here’s Something We Hope You Really Like

At the end of the day, it’s up to team leaders and employees to find ways to make themselves more productive — and stay that way.  Whether you’re falling victim to the lure of multi-tasking, dealing with myriad office distractions, or well on your way to maximizing your productivity efforts, challenging your organization to develop the ideal environment for efficiency can require a little assistance.

Hopefully, we’ve got you covered with our latest project management suite for teams or our renowned mind mapping software. Try them free for 30 days or dive in with a monthly subscription, and keep us posted on your progress. Or, if you’d like to check out some of our other productivity tips and tricks, head on over to Conspire’s productivity page.