Thursday 19 April 2018

How to boost productivity within your team

Businesses deliver better results when people work together as a team. Anything that upsets motivation or productivity can have a massive impact on organisational performance and so, as managers, it’s important to make sure that each member of your team is positive and productive.

Often, the constant pressure to focus on results and the bottom line can mean that it’s easy to forget about the people behind delivering these results, so we’ve developed a few simple ways of keeping your team motivated so that they can give their best at work.

To do, or done?

As a manager chances are you have a ‘to do’ list as long as your arm. It’s easy to concentrate on what needs to be done, when in reality employees really need to focus on what they’ve done well, in order to keep on delivering. Giving – and receiving – recognition and praise for work already completed provides a great confidence boost which motivates us to go above and beyond what is expected of us. So, if you feel your team’s motivation is waning, spend some time to focus on their achievements, rather than the tasks that remain ahead.

Work matters

Most people like to feel as though they're working towards a greater good, it’s a great motivation boost to know that your actions are having a positive impact on society and this leads to greater productivity – you only have to look at big businesses like Unilever or P&G to see how they’re linking brands to a wider community benefit. If your business or organisation doesn’t have a community benefit that's easily identifiable, consider creating a volunteering or fundraising initiative for your team to get involved in and see how their positivity translates into greater productivity in their day to day work.

Flexibility pays

In today’s digital age it’s easier than ever to provide more flexibility to your team – and often the more flexible working environments are, the more productive the employees - as it enables everyone to have a better work/life balance. Advances in technology mean that employees can access the files and tools they need from anywhere, so if you're looking to boost productivity, look for ways to offer your team more flexibility in how they work. You can read our previous blog post on flexible working for ideas and inspiration:

Spending some extra time looking for ways to better support your team, might mean that you need to establish some working practices that maximise your own productivity – besides, leading by example is often the most effective way of coaching others.

This blog post - - covers the basics of how to keep yourself motivated. Some simple tips that you can start straight away include:

  • Set blocks of time aside to tackle basic admin tasks – or emails - rather than spreading them through the day/week.
  • Set aside certain periods (a day,  an afternoon a week, etc) for meetings, leaving the rest of the week clear to get on with tasks.
  • Give yourself ten minutes each morning to steam through small tasks that would otherwise sit on your to-do list for days or more.

Remember, positivity and productivity go hand in hand, so lead with the enthusiasm and energy that allows your team to shine.

Wednesday 4 April 2018

What to do when you lose the joy out of your job

What to do if you’re not satisfied at work – ways to reduce stress, look for another job, address issues within your team

For many of us, work takes up a large proportion of our working lives – over a lifetime it amounts to literally years spent away from home, family and friends. So, if you’re not happy at work, this can seem like a massive waste of time. This blog outlines the personal benefits that come when we are satisfied at work and, given that we’re all only here once, it’s important that we strive to gain some sense of joy out of our working lives.

This YouGov survey gives some excellent insight into what drives us at work. It estimates that around 16% are dissatisfied at work. If this sounds like you, the first thing to do is identify which aspect of your job is getting you down. Failure to do this upfront, will mean that you could struggle to rectify the issues in the future.

There are many reasons why people don’t get what they’re looking for at work. Common themes include:


If you don’t feel you get paid fairly for what you do, or that others doing a similar job are paid more, this can cause significant upset.


If you believe your job is unstable or you’re worried about being laid off or fired, this can cause excessive stress in your life.


If you don’t see any opportunity for future advancement, you can start to feel as though you are outgrowing your job and this can lead to dissatisfaction.


Who you work with can make or break a job. If you don't like the people you work with, or you’re not working with people that you get along with or respect, this can lead to unhappiness.

The first thing to do is to try and recognise the difference between fleeting episodes of unhappiness at work and ongoing dissatisfaction. We all have bad days and – sometimes weeks – when we can’t seem to do anything right. Try to put your emotions to one side and establish whether it’s a temporary situation that will right itself given time, or evidence of a deeper problem that needs addressing before it affects your well-being.

There are a number of ‘self-help’ ideas you can try to ensure you get the most out of your job.

Make positive changes

Take control of your situation and try to change whatever you can on your own. Speak to managers and colleagues about your worries and work with them to develop strategies that will help better the situation. Ask for a pay rise if money is the issue; speak to your line manager or HR about mediation if the problem lies within your team; make a formal request for flexible working if your work/life balance is adrift. Often dissatisfaction arises when we feel powerless to change things, addressing issues face-on really helps.

Establish the true source of your unhappiness

Not many people can claim their job is perfect and everyone has days when they wished they'd stayed in bed. Try to establish whether your dissatisfaction is definitely linked to your work - it could be that work has become a focus for your unhappiness. Have a good look at all aspects of your life and make sure that it is your job that is causing your unhappiness, rather than your home or personal life. Be honest with yourself: will your dissatisfaction follow you into a new job?

Look what else is out there

Once you're sure your job is the issue and have tried to address the problems you’re experiencing, it might be time to do some research and find out what else is out there for you, job-wise. Look for employers who could be a better match your needs, prepare your CV and submit some applications. It may seem drastic, especially if you have been with your employer for a long time, but sometimes it can really help to see what else is out there – and give you a real confidence boost when you see that your skills and experience are in demand. Even if you decide not to take a new job, there is no harm in conducting a proper assessment of the job market and being prepared.

If a change of job is what you need, have a read of this blog on career planning, so that you are clear about what you want so you don’t get stuck in a similar situation in the future.