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.
"There are no good men out there," yet another woman my age declared. At 50, I was freshly divorced after two decades of marriage and motherhood. My unhappy marriage had shattered my faith in men and romantic relationships. Based on my ex-husband's opinion of my sexual appeal, I was afraid my naked body would cause future lovers to run screaming from the room. Rather gleefully, I announced to my girlfriends that I was done with men, and sex, forever.
For the first year, I got tangled in my sheets alone every night, overjoyed to have the bed and my body to myself. I felt liberated by divorce—free to be me, skip showering, and make dinner for one. But it bothered me when women decried the scarcity of men, because I'd known so many good ones—college boyfriends, my brother, my best friend from business school, etc. The first of many naked truths gradually crept up on me: I was not going to find my juju again through self-help and yoga. The feminist in me didn't want to admit it, but going for too long without men was akin to starvation.
I didn't want another husband. But I needed men, a lot of them.
The universe signaled its approval by sending Mr. Blue Eyes to me at an airport. He was 29 and perhaps the sexiest man I'd ever kissed. Being with him convinced me, pretty decisively, that men were going to heal me, even though men had destroyed me many times before. I became the female incarnation of a divorced, clichéd older man: I bought a sports car, revamped my wardrobe, and took younger lovers. "I want five boyfriends," I told my best friend KC after that first tryst ended. "Sweet, cute, smart, nice. Enough that I won't get too attached to one." My message from the frontlines of divorce at 50 is that to restore your confidence as a woman, especially in the wake of a crushing breakup, try dating outside your comfort zone, expanding your dating pool to include partners you might never have considered before. It may not be the recipe for a lasting union, but in terms of rebuilding your self-esteem, it can work wonders.
The first thing I noticed—and liked—about dating younger men is that they didn't want to marry me or make babies with me. And I didn't want that either. Frankly, I didn't even want them to spend the night. Since I'd been 11, I'd been taught to seek out and value men who wanted commitment. To my surprise, I found it refreshing, even more authentic, to be valued not for my potential as a mate, but instead for my body, intelligence, life-experience and sexuality.
And the sex! I quickly realized that—warning, blanket stereotype coming—men under 40 are more straightforward and adventurous than older men, maybe since they were raised with the Internet. You hear so often about the scourge of crude, sexist online pornography; and I agree that the depersonalization of women as sexual playthings is deeply destructive to all genders. However, from sexting to foreplay, I found younger men uniquely enthusiastic about getting naked and enjoying sex. Every younger man found my most erotic zones faster than any man my age ever had, with a lack of hesitation men over 50 seemed unable to fathom.
Also, about my big fear of getting naked in front of a younger man? Completely unfounded. I started to shake when Airport Boy took off my sundress in our hotel room. Had he ever seen a woman my age nude? How could I stand to be skin-to-skin with a body far more perfect than mine? I had given birth to eight-pound, full-fucking-term babies. I'd nursed them, too, and at times by breasts looked (from my view at least) like wet paper towels. "You have a spectacular body," he told me instead, running his hand over the cellulite on my stomach that I despised. That night I learned that younger men who seek older women accept our physical flaws—they don't expect perfection in someone 20 years their senior. These men taught me to see my body through a positive, decidedly male lens, to focus on the pretty parts (and we all have them) rather than the flaws that we all have too, whether you're 19, 29 or 59.
I even found the pillow talk lighter, easier and more intellectually stimulating, because a younger man's world view differs so vastly from the pressures of my 20-something kids, annual colonoscopies, 401K balance and mortgage payments. They have simple financial problems, like "Can I borrow a few quarters for the parking meter outside?" or "Do you have any advice on consolidating my student loans?"
Everything feels simpler with younger men. Men under 40 seem less threatened by assertive women; they grew up with them. They like cheap beer instead of expensive wine. They don't snore (as much). Leftovers a 55-year-old would scoff at look good to them. Their erections NEVER last more than four hours. Their hard-ons end the old-fashioned way and 45 minutes later they are ready for more.
But what I enjoy most about younger men is not the sex, or the cliché that they make me feel young again—because they don't. Younger men make me feel old, and to my delight, I like that. I feel valuable around younger men, precisely because I am wiser and more experienced in life, love and between the sheets.
I know I'll never end up with one for good. The naked truth is we don't have enough in common to last. One recently put it exactly right when he told me, "I love this, but there's always gonna be a glass ceiling between us." That lack of permanence, the improbability of commitment and "forever," doesn't mean I can't pick up a tip or two about self-esteem, and enjoy the magic of human connection with younger men. And vice versa. The experience can enrich us both, making us better partners for people our own ages down the road.
*My viewpoint is from the perspective of a heterosexual woman, because I am one. But change the gender identification and/or sexual orientation to whatever works for you and let me know if the same advice holds true. Thank you.