You’re a small team, and you often feel like you need to do a lot with a little. But, despite the fact that you don’t have endless resources and limitless hands to share the load, you want to help your team figure out how to be productive.
Even when you have everybody fired up and ready to crank through their tasks, you still get stuck. Deadlines are missed, team members are burnt out, and you end each day with a to-list that’s barely been touched.
What gives? Productivity challenges are common on teams of all sizes, and even more so now that a good chunk of your team is figuring out how to be productive at home.
Let’s dig into the details of why achieving peak output can be such a struggle, as well as how you can help your small but mighty team get over those hurdles.
Why is productivity so tough?
If operating at maximum productivity was easy, a lot more teams would be doing it. But, let’s face it: getting a lot done is hard.
In their quest for to-do list domination, your team is dealing with some (or even all) of the following barriers:
- Lack of clarity and communication: Communication is always challenging, and that’s especially true when your team is working remotely. Buffer’s 2020 State of Remote Work Report found that collaboration and communication are the biggest struggles when working remotely. When wires get crossed, team members don’t know what to do next — and that makes it tough for them to keep the wheels in motion.
- Overwhelm and burnout: Perhaps your team isn’t making progress because they have too much to do. When they’re stuck on a hamster wheel of endless tasks, they can burn out entirely. A Gallup survey concluded that 23% of workers say they feel burned out more often than not, while 44% reported feeling burnt out sometimes.
- Tool fatigue: A separate survey found that 43% of workers believe they need to switch between too many apps to get their basic work done. Not only does that waste time, but it also contributes to confusion. When they’re working between too many platforms, team members might miss important updates and notifications.
7 strategies to boost productivity on your team
Yikes. There’s no shortage of issues that can throw your team’s productivity off track. But here’s the good news: You can do something about them. We’re breaking down seven strategies to help your team figure out how to be productive during quarantine — and well beyond.
1. Streamline your intake process
Does this sound familiar? Work lands on your team’s plate, and then you need to spend hours (or even days) tracking down all of the information you need to get started.
That’s not only a hassle, but it also slows you down. Standardize and streamline your intake process with Wrike’s request forms. They require that project requesters submit all of the information your team needs, and then automatically trigger a project or task in Wrike from that predesigned blueprint. No more hunting for those must-have project details.
2. Integrate and automate what you can
Only 39% of the workday is spent on actual work. Where does the rest go? Emails, unproductive meetings, and administrative tasks are some of the biggest culprits monopolizing your team’s time.
Give them some of their hours and energy back by integrating and automating work. Wrike integrates with a ton of the platforms you’re already using, so that you can automatically create tasks from emails or Slack messages, seamlessly share image files across platforms, and collaborate in real-time. You can also automate entire workflows and take some manual effort off of your team’s shoulders.
3. Use dashboards for increased clarity
Half of employees don’t understand what’s expected of them at work. When your team members don’t understand what to start on next, it’s impossible for them to be as efficient and effective as possible.
Wrike can help boost clarity and empower your team to get more done. Wrike’s Dashboards enable team leads to get a bird’s eye view of team performance, spot any risks or bottlenecks, and nudge overdue tasks along. Team members can drill down to personal or project-based dashboards, so that they always understand what to do and when.
4. Understand task dependencies
Nothing will stall your team’s productivity levels like a bottleneck. They can’t make any progress when they’re waiting on approval from a client or a resource from another team.
That’s why it’s important that you account for task dependencies, and Wrike’s Gantt Chart can help you do just that. You’ll be able to visualize how different items are connected, plan for dependencies, and keep projects moving forward.
5. Track your team’s time
If you want your team to be more effective with their time, you need to understand where it’s going. That’s where time tracking comes in. It not only helps make things like billing more straightforward, but it also enables your team to get a grasp on where they’re investing your hours — so you can work toward better effort allocation.
Wrike’s Time Tracking feature allows your team to log their hours with the click of the button. Worried that your team members don’t want to be watched that closely? Don’t panic. 79% of respondents in one survey said they’re fine with their employers monitoring their workplace-related activities.
6. Reevaluate your processes
The working world has changed a lot in recent months, and now your team is trying to navigate how to be productive working from home.
This means some of your old processes might no longer be helpful. Fortunately, your procedures and workflows aren’t set in stone. Reevaluate them regularly to determine whether they need to be revamped, reconsidered, or even removed entirely.
7. Be realistic about workloads
38% of employees feel overwhelmed by how much they have to get done at work. One of the best things you can do to support your team in increasing their productivity is to ensure you’re being realistic about their workloads.
Wrike’s Workload charts help you visualize your entire team’s workload and bandwidth. You can easily allocate tasks and ensure you aren’t spreading any one team member too thin.
Wondering how to be productive? This is your guide
Productivity isn’t a piece of cake, especially on small teams. Your team is responsible for a lot, and sometimes it feels like you’re all struggling to keep your heads above water.
You can support your team in getting even more accomplished, without needing to deal with extra stress and elbow grease. Use the strategies we’ve outlined here, and your team will work smarter — not harder.
Editor’s Note – This article was written by Kat Boogaard at Wrike. It first appeared on September 23, 2020.