It’s rather strange how quickly the idea of telecommuting fell out of favor. The laptop lifestyle is still popular among entrepreneurs, but employers have now realized it has its pitfalls. Collaboration inevitably suffers when employees don’t congregate in the same space, regardless of all the online tools at our disposal. When collaboration suffers, so too does productivity.
The key to making your office team thrive at maximum capacity is to set up the environment, resources, and schedule to keep everyone full of energy and working at their peak. Here are 3 tips to help you and your team be your most productive selves.
1. Forget about assigned desks.
Not everyone will be onboard with this at first, but they’ll quickly recognize the benefits of eliminating desk assignments. Embrace an open concept instead. Assigned desks discourage collaboration and effectively stick people into a literal corner with the one or two people surrounding them. Even worse is the idea of segregating someone in their own enclosed office or cubicle, separate from the rest of the team. Instead, try to make the most out of your particular office layout by creating a combination of different areas.
Create areas with conference desks and chairs, lounging areas to chill on a mobile device, beanbag chairs, etcetera. Use walled-in separated office areas and cubicles as quiet places any employee can stow away in when they need complete silence. You likely won’t have the budget for a multi-level work environment like Apple city, complete with a theater and running trails. Still, try to open up the space you have and encourage everyone to work together.
2. Eliminate scheduled breaks and rigid work hours when possible.
One of the great driving forces behind telecommuting is the lack of a rigid schedule. Working parents enjoy dropping their kids off at school in the morning, and taking them to the park after school before settling them into dinner and homework. Other employees will enjoy the freedom to work on their side-gig when they wake up, come in late. Others will love to head out to an intense CrossFit workout at lunchtime and make up the time later in the evening. Being deprived of choices can be draining and make for a long 8-hour-plus day
Opening up the schedule to empower employees to take control of their own day won’t disrupt productivity, it’ll improve it. Of course, it’s important to schedule collaboration and meeting time together with everyone. However, allowing employees independence to get their individual work done on their own schedule, without disrupting crucial deadlines, offers the perks of working in a virtual workforce, with the collab and productivity benefits of a brick-and-mortar.
3. Get everyone active together.
Facebook, Apple, Google and many others all have onsite facilities their staff can use to workout at their convenience. For small business owners, this might not be a possibility. However, that isn’t to say you and your staff can’t push the chairs out of the way and make an attempt at a few yoga moves. You can even do yoga while sitting!
I’m not saying to limit the staff to yoga or stretching movements either. Facebook’s Menlo office has a gravel path their employees can hit for a “walking meeting”. Apple offers a running path that’s perfect for a jog or brisk or leisurely walk with coworkers. In fact, on-the-go meetings can increase engagement among participants by up to 8.5% over those held in a conference room environment.
Following these 3 tips can definitely send productivity through the roof. Don’t forget to use contemporary design elements such as flooding the office with natural light, decorating with lots of oxygen-producing plants, using modern ergonomic equipment and other office design elements.
Perhaps one of the best tips to leave you with is to ask employees what THEY like and what you can do to help make their office experience better, to improve their productivity.