I recently posted about signs your company is in the dark ages, but sometimes there are less obvious signs that you’re not keeping up with the times. Over the last 20 years we’ve learned a lot about how people work best and what motivates them, but sometimes it’s hard to grab hold of this new knowledge and implement it in the workplace. Well, it’s no longer just a good idea or a way to differentiate, it’s quickly becoming a must to catch up on some of these trends. If any of these signs are true of your company, it’s time to make some changes.
- You schedule more meetings than individual work time.
If a majority of your staff comes in most days to a calendar full of meetings, you are inefficient as a company. People need individual time to get work done. Meetings should be scheduled only when absolutely necessary and should include as few people as possible. If you’re guilty of this sign, try pushing out some new policies to reconsider whether some regularly scheduled meetings are needed or to designate some time during the workday as “uninterrupted individual time.” That not only means no meetings, but no cubicle visits either. Your employees will thank you and so will your productivity.
- You don’t have a teleworking policy.
If you still believe that people are less productive when working from home, you’re just plain wrong. Let’s face it. Most of what we do in the office can be done on our computers at home or on the road. If you don’t trust your employees to do their work, you’ve got a bigger problem on your hands. You can try a mixed policy where certain days (maybe Mondays and Fridays) are optional to work from home. Tell your employees you trust them to work just as hard at home and that you know they need uninterrupted work time (see #1). Putting faith in your employees in this way will pay back in leaps and bounds.
- You still use email and the water cooler as your main collaboration tools.
Do you get 200 emails a day? What about 50? How many just sit there taunting you because you never get through them all? At the speed of business today, your employees need to be able to access real-time feedback and get answers to questions without waiting for an email to pop-up in their inbox. Collaborative tools should adapt to the way your teams naturally work. Interoffice web-conferencing, instant messaging, and project-specific collaboration tools will improve the productivity of your entire team.
- Your website isn’t mobile and social-media friendly.
Everyone is surfing the web on phones and tablets these days, even the 60+ age group! If you haven’t updated your company’s site in this decade, it’s time to make a change. Not only do potential clients make snap judgments about your business based on your web design and ease of access, but increasingly they do this on the go. If you visit your website on your phone and don’t like what you see, it’s time for a change.
- You’re still using money to motivate.
Money cannot be used as a singular motivator. Despite what many people think, more money doesn’t equal harder workers. Making employees feel valued and appreciated is actually a much bigger driver of success. Whether it’s a sincere “thank you”, or celebrating a big sale with a pizza party, find creative ways to show how valuable your team members are to you. Or better yet, implement some of the suggestions in this post because they will all not only help your company, but also lead to more satisfied employees.
The main point I want to leave you with here is that we have more knowledge today than ever about how to create a positive and efficient workplace. Take advantage of that. Educate yourself beyond this blog post. Try some small changes and see how it goes. If you don’t, you may find your company on the decline faster than you think.
Have you recently made some of these changes in your office and want to share your story? Or do you have more items to add to the list? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.