No matter what stage you are in your career, you know productivity and collaboration don’t happen without a plan. Expecting everything to fall into place is like wishing for supernatural intervention. Your goals could magically manifest, but the probability is higher if you strategize how you’re going to get there.
In the workplace, productivity and collaboration are what make organizations thrive. But when you put a bunch of different people together, those two key factors don’t always instantly add up. Adaptable structures, tools, and processes are necessary to make it work. This article will delve into four methods to boost productivity and collaboration for your business.
1. Sync Your Data
OK. So, your company probably isn’t going to get by with using one software suite. Even if your organization is on the smaller side, it’s rare to have a single app accommodate every need. However, working with more than one tool means you have multiple data sources.
It’s the equivalent of storing paperwork in several boxes or filing cabinets. Without a synchronized system, you can’t find what you need when you need it. Of course, attempting to sync data the old-fashioned way is complicated and tedious at best. But with technology, the process is nearly seamless once you have the right tools.
For instance, calendar management software with contact and syncing capabilities ensures you don’t have to go on a wild goose chase. The information you need from customer relationship management databases and global address lists is at your fingertips. You can manage your appointments without remembering exact email addresses or hunting for them through your inbox. It’s also possible to sync your data across devices to minimize downtime on the go.
2. Create Communication Guidelines
Research from Harvard Business Review reveals the top reason for collaboration failures is information silos. As roles become more compartmentalized, it’s not uncommon for data silos to form. It usually happens between various leadership levels and the front line or among departments. Nonetheless, silos can form between members of the same team when communication isn’t up to snuff.
Communication can get off track because everyone has unique styles and ideas about keeping others in the loop. Poor information flow can also unintentionally happen as people talk to each other on the fly. Establishing communication guidelines is a way to combat the natural tendency for data silos to form.
Your communication plan can include what tools to use and when. You’ll want to consider what information needs to flow through the team, plus who should be on the receiving end. Another critical part of your guidelines is when to allow employees to focus on their tasks without interruptions. Sometimes communication can go overboard, such as too many back-to-back meetings and immediate phone calls after group discussions. Achieving balance is key.
3. Prioritize Competing Tasks
Most days, work is a juggling act. A long to-do list is in front of you. Realizing you can’t get to everything at once will help you keep your stress levels in check. At the same time, prioritizing what’s on your plate allows you to focus. Instead of shutting down, you’ll gain a better sense of control over your tasks.
One way to establish priorities is to determine urgency. In other words, will there be significant consequences if something doesn’t get done today? For instance, responding to a time-sensitive document should take priority over a brainstorming session for next year’s ad campaign. What’s critical to remember is to move lower-priority tasks up the urgency scale as time passes. You don’t want to keep putting something off only to have it become an emergency later.
Another method is to align your task priorities with your strategic goals. Say your company plans to expand its market share by launching a new product line. The timeline for said launch is within six months. This leaves you with a tight calendar for creating and executing a marketing plan. Your team’s priorities will shift to working on the plan versus non-plan-related tasks.
4. Establish Group Goals
About three out of four employees say teamwork and collaboration are crucial. Yet, 39% of surveyed workers indicate their peers aren’t collaborating enough. A lack of shared purpose could be the culprit.
Think about what you see in front of you when you sit down to do your job each day. You zero in on what you must accomplish. From your perspective, it’s a game involving you as the sole player. You’ve got a specific role to fulfill within so many hours. You might need to reach out to your co-workers, but you’re in your own world for the most part.
There’s nothing wrong with focusing on your individual goals. However, it can put up barriers to teamwork if there isn’t an understanding of how the puzzle pieces fit together. Establishing group goals encourages people to broaden their perspectives and work with others. It’s like playing a team sport. Each person has a specific role, but their individual work impacts everyone’s success.
Enhancing productivity and collaboration can seem like a tall order. People sometimes view increasing individual efficiency as being at odds with group activities. But the two actually go hand in hand since an organization can’t achieve its goals without them. Applying a set of strategies and tools is the way to ensure both stay on track.