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Strategies for a More Productive Workday

July 8th, 2016

Are you looking for positive, sustainable ways to get your employees to show a little hustle? Would you like to wave a wand and see everyone on your team work a little harder to impress your clients and drive your company forward? If you’re like most managers, you’re wondering how access the hidden, untapped potential in your teams. Does this potential lie in the team, or in your own personal management style? Here are a tips and techniques you can use to bring out the best in your employees.

Ask them.

If you’re guessing and struggling to figure out what might motivate your employees, stop guessing and just ask them. Distribute surveys if you choose, or simply sit down with key members of your teams and engage in an open conversation. Would they respond to monetary motivation, increase competition, learning opportunities, or additional perks? You can experiment with each of these, or you can simply cut to the chase.

Teach and model, don’t dictate.

If you see an employee with an inefficient working style or a messy desk, don’t ignore this easy opportunity for improvement. But instead of scolding and lecturing, describe what works for you. Explain how using digital spreadsheets and scheduling apps can reduce the drifts of paper, and show your employee how dividing large tasks into smaller ones or tackling bigger challenges first can improve daily productivity. We often assume that basic principles of efficiency and productivity were taught in the earliest years of childhood, but this isn’t always the case. Sometimes employees simply don’t know any better. It’s never too late to learn.

Praise publicly.

While your criticisms should always take place in private, feel free to publicly praise employees who work hard, stay focused, and get things done. Clearly communicate the kind of behavior and work ethic you’d like to see from everyone.

Move around the office.

Don’t hide in your office during the day. No matter how busy you may be, make time every hour to get up and circulate around the floor. Check in, say hello, join conversations in the break room, and find out what your employees are up to when they aren’t working. Sometimes the mere appearance of a manager on the scene can break up idle gab sessions and return focus to the job at hand. Be friendly, but present.

Make yourself available.

When employees need help, answers, guidance or direction, make sure they feel comfortable coming to you directly. Paralysis and stagnation often result when employees are at loose ends and not sure where to turn next with a project or issue. If you force them to exhaust every other option before coming to you, you only encourage them to waste time. Be generous, not stingy, with advice and support.

For more on how to keep your employees engaged and in motion all day, every day, turn to the expert Hartford staffing team at Merritt.

Five Ways to Bring a Little Summer Fun to the Workplace

May 25th, 2012

There’s a time to crack down on employees and a time to cut them slack. A time to be grim and serious, and a time to allow a little clowning around. And that time is now. When the early summer arrives and fun is in the air, employees become distracted and managers often react by going into overdrive. Memos are passed around, for example, reiterating the dress code. “As a reminder, sandals are NOT to be worn in the office!” “We know the baseball game is coming this Friday, so be warned: Employees may NOT leave early!” etc, etc. This approach, while understandable and effective in some workplace cultures, is usually not the best way to maintain productivity.

If you really want employees to stay dedicated, loyal, and engaged with their projects, now is the time to acknowledge the power of the season and yield to human nature. As always, we gain respect by giving respect, and the summer offers a great opportunity to do this without losing valuable time and capital that you wouldn’t have lost anyway. Here are a few ideas for summer fun that may seem relaxed and conducive to, dare we say it, wasted time. But look closer. Fun activities like these can boost office morale and keep wandering minds in focus during the long summer months ahead.

1. Ice cream social! Take the whole team down the street one afternoon for an ice cream break. Get them out of the air conditioned office and change the conversation for an hour or two.

2. Take some Frisbees to the park! Schedule a “park day” in which interested employees can leave the office at 3:30 for an afternoon of grass, sun, and tossing a ball around. Again, it encourages employees to get to know each other on a relaxed level. And (shhh) it’s actually a casual round of team-building and morale-boosting disguised as fun.

3. Field trip! Do you work in a publishing house? Schedule a field trip to the printing press to see another side of your industry. Do you work in a law firm? Organize a trip to city hall. A restaurant? Go visit a farm where your ingredients are sourced. Everybody loves an outing, and an old fashioned field trip brings out the curious inner child in all of us.

4. Fun with dress codes! If you don’t have a casual Friday, implement one, at least for the duration of the summer. Schedule theme days like Hawaiian shirt day or local sports team jersey day. Sound corny? Then you’re on the right track. The cornier, the better.

5. Happy hour check! How are your Friday happy hours? Popular and well attended, or lame-to-non-existent? Take them up a notch. Choose friendly, nearby venues that fit your workplace culture and encourage both employees and managers to attend.

For more help with summertime morale-boosting and team-building, contact the HR staffing pros at Merritt Staffing. No matter what events you plan, it’s never a bad idea to indulge your sun-struck employees and show your fun side now and then. Over the long term, you won’t regret it. Invest in your employees and they’ll invest in you.

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