Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Office Productivity: What to do When the Least Place to Get Work Done is at Work

What can seem as a huge oxymoron is actually becoming fact: the office is quickly becoming the least productive place to get work done. As technology advances and more people than ever are overly connected, they are in turn making themselves more readily available, which decreases productivity as a whole.

In fact, most people identify places where they are productive – defined by where they do their creative thinking, problem solving, etc. – outside of the office. They named places ranging from coffee shops, the library, to their morning walks. The only time the office was mentioned as a productive place to work was on the weekends, or early in the morning, when no one was at the office.

What makes the office an unproductive place to work can be attributed to a lot of things. Meetings, interruptions, texts, emails, and questions from fellow co-workers or employees all attribute to your low productivity. In fact, a recent study revealed that the average office worker is interrupted every eight minutes.

There are ways to gain productivity back in the office without working outside the office. Below are some tips to help your work day feel more accomplished.

1. Quiet hour, silent afternoon, or solitary Mondays. Dedicate an hour, half a day, or even a full day to working uninterrupted with no distractions. Work with your colleagues for support with your goal, and then set it in action. No conversations, no meetings, no phone calls, texts, or emails, just a scheduled time where you can work peacefully.
2. Pretend pre-vacation day. The day before you go on vacation is always the most productive. Once a month, act as if you’re going on vacation where communication is spotty, and it is imperative that you accomplish certain tasks.
3. Practice the 10, 2, and 4 Rule. Only check your email at 10am, 2pm, and 4pm.
4. Have fewer meetings. Whenever a meeting is scheduled, make sure that it is absolutely necessary that you need to be there.
5. Relocate your office. If you have a big project that you need to focus on, move your work space to a more secluded spot, whether it be an empty conference room or a vacant office.

One of the easiest things you can do is to change your work hours. Consider coming in earlier in the morning, or come in later. Working outside the normal work hours can increase your productivity.

Practice at least some of these tips, and encourage your employees to do the same. Your office productivity will increase tenfold.

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