Here’s a look at three interesting stories currently in the news with ramifications for your team productivity.
1. Not all breaks will recharge you equally
It’s not exactly news that taking breaks throughout the day will help prevent you from becoming exhausted – but you might not know that the kind of break you take will impact how much it will help your energy levels. 99u examined the research on breaks and found that to maximize their benefits, you should do three things: First, fully switch off; don’t do anything that requires focus, like reading or online shopping, since those activities use many of the same mental processes that you use when you’re working. Second, take a break earlier than you feel like you need one. “It seems you need to have some fuel in the tank to benefit from a re-fill,” they report. “If you deprive yourself of many breaks, when you do finally take one, it’s going to need to be longer to have any beneficial effect.” And third, get yourself out of the office, even if it’s just for a quick walk, so that you're truly able to disconnect and don’t give into pressure to talk about work with colleagues.
2. A trick to help stay focused in an open office
If you or your team work in an open plan office, where distractions and interruptions abound and focus can be hard to come by, a physical “do not disturb” signal might improve your productivity. Adrian Granzella Larssen writes in the Muse that her team was struggling to regain their concentration after unscheduled drop-bys from coworkers until they came up with a plan to post a small piece of red paper when they’re in work-focused mode and don’t want to be interrupted. It sounds simple, but her staff members report a significant impact. “This is the first time since I’ve worked here that I got everything on my to-do list done,” one person told her. Another said, “I’ve gotten significantly more work done since I started using it. Especially in those 15-minute time slots in between meetings—that time is sacred, and you can’t have someone coming up to you if you want to get anything done.”
3. Meeting hacks from successful leaders
Forbes took a look at meeting culture in some of the world’s most successful companies and reports on their findings in a pretty fascinating article culled from interviews with hundreds of billionaires, entrepreneurs, and corporate leaders. For example, Jake Knapp at Google Ventures uses a large physical clock that all participants can see – and can’t ignore – to count down the time remaining in a meeting. Entrepreneur Richard Branson is a devotee of holding meetings standing up or even walking, finding that it leads to faster decisions and deals. Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer holds very short meetings – sometimes as short as five or 10 minutes each. If you find yourself spending what feels like far too much time in meetings, the whole article is worth a read as inspiration for ways you might be able to save time and move work along more quickly.
Looking for more ways to increase team productivity? Start with improving your business processes. Get the free Process Improvement Playbook: Overcoming the Hurdles of Manual Processes in the Workplace.