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.
"Steal the mesh underwear you get from the hospital," a friend said upon learning I was pregnant with my first daughter.
It was the single best piece of advice I received before giving birth in December 2013. My best friend delivered her daughter eight months previously, and she was the first to pass along this shared code among new moms: you'll need mesh underwear for your at-home postpartum recovery, and you can't find them anywhere for purchase. End result: steal them. And tell your friends.
My delivery and subsequent recovery were not easy. To my unexpected surprise, after almost 24 hours of labor, I had an emergency C-section. Thankfully, my daughter was healthy; however, my recovery was quite a journey. The shock to my system caused my bloated and swollen body to need weeks of recovery time. Luckily, I had trusted my friend and followed her instructions: I had stolen some mesh underwear from the hospital to bring home with me.
Unfortunately, I needed those disposable underwear for much longer than I anticipated and quickly ran out. As I still wasn't quite mobile, my mother went to the store to find more underwear for me. Unfortunately, she couldn't find them anywhere and ended up buying me oversized granny panties. Sure, they were big enough, but I had to cut the waistband for comfort.
I eventually recovered from my C-section, survived those first few sleepless months, and returned to work. At the time, I was working for a Fortune 100 company and happily contributing to the corporate world. But becoming a new mom brought with it an internal struggle and search for something “more" out of my life--a desire to have a bigger impact. A flashback to my friend's golden piece of advice got me thinking: Why aren't mesh underwear readily available for women in recovery? What if I could make the magical mesh underwear available to new moms everywhere? Did I know much about designing, selling, or marketing clothing? Not really. But I also didn't know much about motherhood when I started that journey, either, and that seemed to be working out well. And so, Brief Transitions was born.
My quest began. With my manufacturing and engineering background I naively thought, It's one product. How hard could it be? While it may not have been “hard," it definitely took a lot of work. I slowly started to do some research on the possibilities. What would it take to start a company and bring these underwear to market? How are they made and what type of manufacturer do I need? With each step forward I learned a little more--I spoke with suppliers, researched materials, and experimented with packaging. I started to really believe that I was meant to bring these underwear to other moms in need.
Then I realized that I needed to learn more about the online business and ecommerce world as well. Google was my new best friend. On my one hour commute (each way), I listened to a lot of podcasts to learn about topics I wasn't familiar with--how to setup a website, social media platforms, email marketing, etc. I worked in the evenings and inbetween business trips to plan what I called Execution Phase. In 2016, I had a website with a Shopify cart up and running. I also delivered my second daughter via C-section (and handily also supplied myself with all the mesh underwear I needed).
They say, “If you build it, they will come." But I've learned that the saying should really go more like this: “If you build it, and tell everyone about it, they might come." I had a 3-month-old, an almost 3 year old and my business was up and running. I had an occasional sale; however, my processes were extremely manual and having a day job while trying to ship product out proved to be challenging. I was manually processing and filling orders and then going to the post office on Saturday mornings to ship to customers. I eventually decided to go where the moms shop...hello, Amazon Prime! I started to research what I needed to do to list products with Amazon and the benefits of Amazon fulfillment (hint: they take care of it for you).
Fast forward to 2018...
While I started to build this side business and saw a potential for it to grow way beyond my expectations, my corporate job became more demanding with respect to travel and time away from home. I was on the road 70% of the time during first quarter 2018. My normally “go with the flow" 4-year-old started to cry every time I left for a trip and asked why I wasn't home for bedtime. That was a low point for me and even though bedtime with young kids has its own challenges, I realized I didn't want to miss out on this time in their lives. My desire for more scheduling flexibility and less corporate travel time pushed me to work the nights and weekends needed to build and scale my side hustle to a full-time business. If anyone tries to tell you it's “easy" to build “passive" income, don't believe them. Starting and building a business takes a lot of grit, hustle and hard work. After months of agonizing, changing my mind, and wondering if I should really leave my job (and a steady paycheck!), I ultimately left my corporate job in April 2018 to pursue Brief Transitions full-time.
In building Brief Transitions, I reached out to like-minded women to see if they were experiencing similar challenges to my own--balancing creating and building a business while raising children--and I realized that many women are on the quest for flexible, meaningful work. I realized that we can advance the movement of female entrepreneurs by leveraging community to inspire, empower, and connect these trailblazers. For that reason, I recently launched a new project, The Transitions Collective, a platform for connecting community-driven women entrepreneurs.
As is the case with many entrepreneurs, I find myself working on multiple projects at a time. I am now working on a members-only community for The Transitions Collective that will provide access to experts and resources for women who want to leave corporate and work in their business full-time. Connecting and supporting women in this movement makes us a force in the future of work. At the same time, I had my most profitable sales quarter to date and best of all, I am able to drop my daughter off at school in the morning.
Mesh underwear started me on a journey much bigger than I ever imagined. They sparked an idea, ignited a passion, and drove me to find fulfillment in a different type of work. That stolen underwear was just the beginning.