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6 Ways to Improve the Productivity of Your Team

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Having a positive, driven and collaborative team is essential for a productive workplace. If there's constant miscommunication, low engagement and a lack of trust, deadlines will be missed and your business will suffer.

Building a strong team spirit will create an environment where everyone will not only want to work, but also strive for excellence. With this in mind, let's take a look at 6 simple and effective ways to improve your team's productivity.

Emphasize Your Mission

Being clear about your mission and why you do what you do is key to motivating your team. Reinforce the goals of each stage of your projects and what the reward will be upon the project's completion. It will not only keep everyone driven to perform, but it will also help clarify your process and ensure that you're on the right path.

Enable Strong Communication

A team that is able to communicate effectively will be able to share insightful ideas, use their collective thinking power to find better solutions to common problems, and provide useful feedback that can improve the workplace for everyone. While disagreements will inevitably arise, your team will be able to resolve the issues and continue moving forwards.

Start by setting grounds for when, where and how your team can communicate. For example, how often should meetings be held and how long can they be? Can employees communicate via text messages, or only emails? Answering these common questions will help get everyone on the same page and become more efficient.

Optimize the Workplace

As proven by research conducted by office equipment company Herman Miller, certain optimizations in the layout of a workplace can significantly boost productivity. Both open-office designs and closed cubicles have their benefits, but your best bet would be to discuss this with your team and come to a decision as to which type of layout they prefer.

Ideally, you would want to have a space where employees can come together to socialize and have productive discussions. Smaller improvements such as incorporating standing desks, ergonomic equipment and other products that make employees feel more comfortable can also boost productivity.

Organize Team Building Exercises

Team building not only helps everyone get to know each other better, but they will also form stronger relationships and add a bit of fun into the workplace. They don't have to impact your productivity either, as most exercises only take 2-4 hours.

These team building treasure hunts from Team Tactics are a great example. You can personalize the challenges to incorporate your company values and treat your team to a great time, which is something everyone can appreciate.

Offer Rewards and Recognition

Your team members will be much more driven to achieve if they know their hard work will be recognized or rewarded. It doesn't necessarily have to be a monetary reward; team-wide emails showing recognition to those who achieved, a personal showing of gratitude, extra vacation days, or a small gift all go a long way in motivating your team.

Create Social Time

Team building happens more during breaks than when everyone is working. It's been proven that taking breaks help workers stay focused, retain information better and re-evaluate goals. Organize a weekly get-together at the café where your team can take a few minutes off in the morning to get together and discuss the day ahead, for example.

Last but not least, saying "thank you" is more powerful than you might think. Even for smaller, seemingly less meaningful accomplishments, those two simple words will go a long way in motivating your team to keep pushing forward.

Correct utilization of these strategies can skyrocket your team's productivity and help you accomplish goals in record time, so get started today and you will quickly see the benefits.

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Health

How This CEO Is Using Your Period To Prevent Chronic Diseases

With so many groundbreaking medical advances being revealed to the world every single day, you would imagine there would be some advancement on the plethora of many female-prevalent diseases (think female cancers, Alzheimer's, depression, heart conditions etc.) that women are fighting every single day.


For Anna Villarreal and her team, there frankly wasn't enough being done. In turn, she developed a method that diagnoses these diseases earlier than traditional methods, using a pretty untraditional method in itself: through your menstrual blood.

Getting from point A to point B wasn't so easy though. Villarreal was battling a disease herself and through that experience. “I wondered if there was a way to test menstrual blood for female specific diseases," she says. "Perhaps my situation could have been prevented or at least better managed. This led me to begin researching menstrual blood as a diagnostic source. For reasons the scientific and medical community do not fully understand, certain diseases impact women differently than men. The research shows that clinical trials have a disproportionate focus on male research subjects despite clear evidence that many diseases impact more women than men."

There's also no denying that gap in women's healthcare in clinical research involving female subjects - which is exactly what inspired Villarreal to launch her company, LifeStory Health. She says that, “with my personal experience everything was brought full circle."

“There is a challenge and a need in the medical community for more sex-specific research. I believe the omission of females as research subjects is putting women's health at risk and we need to fuel a conversation that will improve women's healthcare.,"

-Anna Villarreal

Her brand new biotech company is committed to changing the women's healthcare market through technology, innovation and vocalization and through extensive research and testing. She is working to develop the first ever, non-invasive, menstrual blood diagnostic and has partnered with a top Boston-area University on research and has won awards from The International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering and Northeastern University's RISE.

How does it work exactly? Proteins are discovered in menstrual blood that can quickly and easily detect, manage and track diseases in women, resulting in diseases that can be earlier detected, treated and even prevented in the first place. The menstrual blood is easy to collect and since it's a relatively unexplored diagnostic it's honestly a really revolutionary concept, too.

So far, the reactions of this innovative research has been nothing but excitement. “The reactions have been incredibly positive." she shares with SWAAY. “Currently, menstrual blood is discarded as bio waste, but it could carry the potential for new breakthroughs in diagnosis. When I educate women on the lack of female subjects used in research and clinical trials, they are surprised and very excited at the prospect that LifeStory Health may provide a solution and the key to early detection."

To give a doctor's input, and a little bit more of an explanation as to why this really works, Dr. Pat Salber, MD, and Founder of The Doctor Weighs In comments: “researchers have been studying stem cells derived from menstrual blood for more than a decade. Stem cells are cells that have the capability of differentiating into different types of tissues. There are two major types of stem cells, embryonic and adult. Adult stem cells have a more limited differentiation potential, but avoid the ethical issues that have surrounded research with embryonic stem cells. Stem cells from menstrual blood are adult stem cells."

These stem cells are so important when it comes to new findings. “Stem cells serve as the backbone of research in the field of regenerative medicine – the focus which is to grow tissues, such as skin, to repair burn and other types of serious skin wounds.

A certain type of stem cell, known as mesenchymal stem cells (MenSCs) derived from menstrual blood has been found to both grow well in the lab and have the capability to differentiate in various cell types, including skin. In addition to being used to grow tissues, their properties can be studied that will elucidate many different aspects of cell function," Dr. Salber explains.

To show the outpour of support for her efforts and this major girl power research, Villarreal remarks, “women are volunteering their samples happily report the arrival of their periods by giving samples to our lab announcing “de-identified sample number XXX arrived today!" It's a far cry from the stereotype of when “it's that time of the month."

How are these collections being done? “Although it might sound odd to collect menstrual blood, plastic cups have been developed to use in the collection process. This is similar to menstrual products, called menstrual cups, that have been on the market for many years," Dr. Salber says.

Equally shocking and innovative, this might be something that becomes more common practice in the future. And according to Dr. Salber, women may be able to not only use the menstrual blood for early detection, but be able to store the stem cells from it to help treat future diseases. “Companies are working to commercialize the use of menstrual blood stem cells. One company, for example, is offering a patented service to store menstrual blood stem cells for use in tissue generation if the need arises."