The thorn in the side of many managers is the plethora of ways in which employees and colleagues can procrastinate. Some less inventive ways to waste employer time include the constant trawling of social media, staring at cat videos on YouTube, and endlessly updating your professional profile (here’s looking at you, LinkedIn!)

If you’re looking to subtly develop and hone your time management and employee efficiency skills, look no further. Here are 5 ideas you can integrate into your workplace to boost efficiency, morale and overall workplace satisfaction.

Get Smart (Technology)

Adding to the challenge (and to the ever-growing list of workplace distractions) are the old-fashioned, poorly-integrated, and monolithic technologies we often have to work with. Forward-thinking workplaces are adopting smarter, more easily integrated technologies, like the usage of large format telephone switching systems, capable of handling line transfers and other complex behaviours so that users don’t have to (check out Commander Centre PABX Phone Systems for an idea of what this entails, and what’s possible to achieve)

Another idea is to instigate a fair-but-tough policy on social media usage in workplace hours. Encourage positive use of social media in breakout areas (read more about these below) and on breaks, but try to discourage and limit usage outside of these spaces and times by suggesting that increased productivity (as a result of less social media usage) leads to extra incentives outside of the workplace, like improved work-life balance and remuneration.

It’s Only Natural

A (naturally) great way to inject pizzazz into your workplace, is by bringing a little bit of the outside world indoors. Natural features such as plants invoke a mood of lightness, brightness and calm. Indoor plants add vibrancy and much needed greenery to an otherwise dull and grey working environment. Plants provide us with a connection to the great outdoors, and they are great for creating a positive work environment, and for making employee workspaces more habitable (rather than bland partitions and doors).

Plants in the workplace have been proven to add to our productivity – they’re a breath of fresh air in more ways than one.

I Want To Break Free

Break-out areas have been in use by many businesses (small and large) for a long time, but their importance in helping develop and maintain employee productivity is only being looked at in-depth now. Break out areas are spaces created especially for employees to enjoy time away from their designated workload. They’re also areas where people are encouraged to talk, enjoy meals, and to share ideas.

Creating separate break-out areas can reduce the time spent procrastinating outside of the working environment, which can add to overall business productivity. Imagine the time saved when employees can get their coffee fix from down the hall instead of running out to the local coffee shop. Modern coffee machines for offices are also capable of producing coffee shop quality drinks, so that employees can enjoy the same gourmet beverages without leaving the office.
The encouragement of creativity in the workplace is also essential to developing employee skills (problem-solving, anyone?) and can provide an avenue for stress relief.

Signposting & Regular Catch-Ups

An effective technique for keeping employees and colleagues on-track and efficient is to break down large windows of time into smaller, more manageable timeframes. For example, if you’re a part of a workplace which schedules long, arduous monthly meetings, think about initiating weekly low-key catch-ups instead, even integrating the use of a non-formal catch-up, like going for a coffee or for lunch.

By taking this approach, you will help to ensure that any information you convey is done in a timely, and easily palatable fashion. It will also mean that less time will be wasted on answering questions en-masse, leaving colleague and co-workers more time to efficiently complete their tasks.

Bright Eyes

Keeping your workplace well-lit and well maintained is a fail-safe way to keep colleagues’ eyes on the prize. Having lighting and surroundings which are situation appropriate (fluoro lights are a big no-no in creative workspaces) helps to optimise employee productivity and output by enhancing mood and harmony with surroundings.

Ultimately, it’s often small tweaks to the system (and to our behaviours) which affect meaningful change in workplace productivity. By utilising some of the tips shared above, and by trying to create a positive workplace environment, you should be well on-track to a more productive work eco-system.