We all know that individual productivity is essential, but there’s more to the ability of getting things done than just our own individual working style. No matter how well we work on our own, our environment and our interactions with other people can either drag us down or help our productivity soar. We need to look at how we work together, by paying attention to the culture of our organisation, the communication styles we use, and how we manage projects and the examples that we show when we lead.

The tips below will provide you with practical strategies to improve the quality of your interactions and avoid productivity pitfalls.

• Company culture is linked to productivity. Company culture is linked to employee productivity and as a leader, it’s crucial to understand the relationship. A positive workplace is more successful over time because it increases positive emotions and well-being. This, in turn, improves people’s relationships with each other and amplifies their abilities and their creativity.

• Give team members autonomy. The key to improving individual productivity is to eliminate or delegate unimportant tasks and replace them with value-added ones. So “give your employees permission to make decisions” on which meetings they attend (or skip), which email lists they are party to, and which responsibilities they hand off.

• 4 productivity principles you need to know: the Pareto principle (the Pareto principle states that for many outcomes roughly 80% of consequences come from 20% of the causes), Parkinson’s law (In essence, Parkinson’s law states that work expands to fill the time allotted to it. It states two things: firstly, that “an official wants to multiply subordinates, not rivals”; and secondly, that “officials make (unnecessary) work for each other.”), the Pomodoro technique (the Pomodoro technique is a time management framework that will improve your focus and productivity. It encourages you to work within the time you have, rather than struggle against it), and Eisenhower Matrix (the Eisenhower Matrix, also referred to as Urgent-Important Matrix, helps you decide on and prioritize tasks by urgency and importance, sorting out less urgent and important tasks which you should either delegate or not do at all).

• Communication effectiveness can increase your team’s productivity. Effective communication in the workplace can have a positive effect on the performance of employees by increasing employee morale, retention rate and the overall productivity of the working environment.

• A more thoughtful approach to meetings increases productivity. Inefficient meetings are more than just a boring experience for your employees – they can also result in massive expenses for your organisation. Opportunity costs that result from unproductive meetings arise through salaries and office-related costs, and indirect costs include loss of employee work time, and lower employee satisfaction, which in turn leads to higher employee turnover.

• Facilitating collaboration is key to improving employee productivity. Effective communication and collaboration can not only spark creativity and innovation, productivity also increases. Collaboration is often dismissed as a nebulous concept and one that does not have many tangible benefits. Yet an increasing amount of research is showing that working together makes companies more productive and drives higher returns for shareholders.

• Become more productive by actively responding rather than passively reacting to urgency. When urgency is the order of the day, you’re constantly losing focus and being taken away from the priorities you’d planned. As a result, productivity tends to sink. Reacting means that you’re constantly getting side-tracked to deal with all the interruptions that come your way. It’s a way of working that doesn’t pause to check if the projected urgency is really something that needs immediate action. Responding, on the other hand, is a matter of taking the time to think through the context of what is being asked. That way, you can evaluate its true urgency and reasonableness.

• Train leaders to build purposeful, positive, productive cultures. Leaders need training and coaching to champion new ways to engage team members and leverage their passions and skills.

Final thoughts…
Team members who work effectively with one another have the capacity for increased productivity. Team productivity drives success to companies in all industries. All in all, team productivity depends on many things, but you can always improve it with the right approach, a few performance tips, and helpful tools.