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Has your employees’ productivity dipped because their routines have become stale? Is your team struggling to find motivation? Here are 10 tactics that can enhance productivity throughout your law firm.
We belong to a work culture that encourages multitasking, but perhaps that isn’t the best way to work. According to Earl K. Miller, a neuroscientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, “Multitasking is not humanly possible.” Attempting too many tasks at once means we don’t concentrate fully on each task; this introduces errors.
To enhance your team’s productivity, encourage a culture of mono-tasking. Emphasise that employees should focus on a single task for a period of time and give that task their all.
2. Clear desk, clear mind
Work environment can have an enormous impact on how employees approach the day. Encourage people to spend five minutes at the end of the day cleaning up their desk, so that they feel energised and ready to tackle their projects the next morning.
3. Work-life balance (and sleep!)
Working for longer hours does not necessarily mean working better. Often, productivity increases when employees step away from the project, sleep, and are fulfilled in other areas of their lives. As a manager, you should encourage your team to uphold a work–life balance and get plenty of rest.
4. Limit email time
Employees can often find themselves drowning in the number of emails they need to handle. They can spend hours tackling their inbox – which means the actual work suffers.
Encourage your team to create a specific approach to their emails, setting aside clear periods of time to handle them. They could set their email notifications to intervals of 20 to 30 minutes, so that they can focus properly on a task in between. The concept of ‘Inbox Zero’ is not always productive. If the email is not urgent, they don’t need to stop what they’re doing and reply instantly.
5. To-do list
Ask your employees to create a to-do list for the day that can help them stay focused and mono-task. Make sure they don’t spend too long on this list, as that’s a form of procrastination as well – about five minutes at the beginning of the day should be fine.
6. Make your team accountable
Employees often lose focus. It’s easy to get distracted in an office environment. Getting to the end of the to-do list isn’t always seen as critical, as there’ll always be tomorrow. Making your staff accountable gives them a reason to strive. Pair them up. Have them share with their partner the tasks they’ve completed. Make sure they’ll be held accountable for this – perhaps there is a small reward for achieving a task, and don’t be afraid to express disappointment when the task is not completed.
7. Increase motivation
There are certain factors in a work environment that can kill motivation, such as poor communication systems, a bad project briefing, an abrasive employee, or lack of appreciation. Identify these features and tackle them one by one to increase motivation.
8. Introduce play
A good way to make the workday more exciting is to introduce play or ‘gamification’. There are now apps that turn certain business activities, like sales or customer service, into games, which can make them more engaging for your employees.
9. Eliminate distractions
In a world of screens, it can be very easy for employees to be distracted. Encourage them to work on only one screen at a time – i.e. to put away their mobile phones when they’re at the computer. Several companies also limit access to social media and video sites. This removes temptation and helps your team focus on the task at hand.
10. Flexible routine
Remember, each employee is different. What may work for some won’t work for others. Support your team members to find a routine that suits them, but also make it clear that this routine can change. Work environments don’t stay the same, and nor do work challenges or personal lives – so routines must be adaptable. Keep your door open and encourage your staff to come to you if they feel they’re stagnating. Together, you can think about routine changes that might suit them.
Lastly, change works best in small steps. Introduce one new method at a time and allow it to play out for a while – then introduce another. Let your employees get used to a habit before they move on to the next one. That way, they will have time to see how the habit may benefit them and you will have their buy-in.