Many productivity improvement techniques focus on how individuals can improve the outputs. However individuals do not work in isolation and often have to work as part of teams. In this article I look at how team productivity can be improved.
One of the key small business strategies is to multi-task individuals on several activities. This is often out of necessity as key tasks have to be completed by someone. As the firm gets larger individuals specializing key activities but this does not help productivity when bottlenecks start appearing. Consider training staff in numerous activities so that they can easily switch activities and increase overall production.
Employee motivation can also have big effect on productivity. Simply by being able to plan out their own work and get involved in the decision-making process many employees will become more diligent and focused on their work. These types of productivity improvement techniques do require a more open management style so may require training at this level.
As employees have to work together it comes more critical that they have direct indication channels and are allowed feedback up and down the chain of command. This type of communication culture can be helped along by training staff effectively but also by making sure your team communication style remains open to ideas, feedback and bad news.
The rewards you provide to employees also need to be standardized and based on levels of effort. Workers need to feel that promotions and bonuses are being fairly rewarded based on the actual work that they have done. This should be transparent and known to all staff.
Finally, one of the more interesting productivity improvement techniques is to increase the lighting in the work environment. Psychologically, employees feel like they are being watched so actually increase production. Likewise, providing safe and clutter free environments also helps production for similar reasons.