Vanquish time wasters that chip away your team’s focus.
What’s destroying workplace productivity? Interruptions are the main culprit in businesses today. In fact, a recent survey found that 75% of employers believe their employees lose at least two hours of productivity every day as a result of distractions that lead to poor-quality work, increased errors, exhaustion, memory lapses and stress. Louise Dunn, owner of Snowgoose Veterinary Management Consulting, offers insight into improving your team’s productivity.
1. Curb cell phone use. Although there are many legitimate reasons for a veterinary team member to use a cell phone at work—from medication tools and productivity apps to educational resources—cell phone use is distracting to both clients and co-workers, and can even compromise patient care.
“Cell phone use in the hospital setting will only increase as technology allows for better communication,” Dunn notes, “so you need to update your practice’s cell phone guidelines to define appropriate uses and restrictions, communicate those expectations both verbally and in writing, and then enforce the policy for all employees.”
2. Set blueprints for breaks. Break periods during the workday benefit brain function by preventing fatigue, promoting efficiency and increasing attention span. They also provide employees with approved personal time to use their cell phones.
Set clear break policies and expectations, Dunn suggests, including how often breaks are taken, how long they last, whether employees are compensated for breaks, and any disciplinary actions that will result if the break policy is broken. Breaks have a great impact on mental well-being, so it’s important to encourage team members to take some time for themselves.
3. Say no to gossip. Include a strict “no-gossip” policy in your employee manual that clearly defines gossip, includes examples of prohibited conduct, and outlines the ramifications if an employee is found to be gossiping, Dunn advises. Clearly articulate the practice’s policy to all employees. To reinforce your expectations, speak one on one with any team members who are regular offenders.
4. Keep up with technology. Seek employee input about what technological needs they foresee, Dunn suggests. “You’ll also need to evaluate maintenance costs, create an obsolescence plan and improve security,” she says. Finally, make tech improvements a line item in your practice budget so you can upgrade before things break.
5. Make meetings count. Dunn believes that daily huddles—brief team meetings at the beginning of the day—can improve productivity immensely. “The best-run meetings provide structure to the day, generate staff accountability, enhance team building and impart knowledge to team members,” she says. The ideal length of a morning huddle is about 12 minutes, Dunn says.
The High Costs of Low Productivity
In a recent survey, employers cited the negative consequences of low productivity:
- Compromised quality of work
- Lower morale because other workers have to pick up the slack
- Negative impact on boss/employee relationships
- Missed deadlines
- Lost revenue
- Negative impact on client relationships
Source: Harris Poll for CareerBuilder survey of employers