Boosting productivity as we get back to work

Karlie Cremin of DLPA shares their thoughts on how businesses can re-establish routine

Boosting productivity as we get back to work

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly changed the way we think about work, within the space of a few short months. Technological challenges, disrupted communications and processes, reduced turnover and redundancies – not to mention the stress and uncertainty that accompany these factors – have frequently led to a reduction in productivity.

Yet as infection rates drop and workplaces start to reopen, many employers are now asking how they can get back to a productive state,  from what may feel like a standing start.

There’s no magic checklist, notes Karlie Cremin, Director of DLPA, but there are a few key tips that can help get teams up to speed again.

“I don’t think there’s a one-size-fits-all solution,” explains Cremin. “But I do think that there are some commonalities that you can apply broadly.” 

Focus on the Future
The last few months have seen employers and employees alike focussing on short-term goals, rather than large-scale future plans. But that needs to shift to get employees invested again. 

“It’s important to acknowledge with your teams that times have been tough, and then paint the picture of the future and what you are working towards,” says Cremin. “It doesn’t need to be too aspirational; the aim is to give your team something to move towards and engage with, and subsequently move past the angst of the last few months.”

Re-establish the Team
Your team may be a little smaller than it used to be, or it may simply be that your team haven’t interacted together for so long things just feel different. Whatever the dynamic at play in your team it is important to celebrate the team as it is, and unite together to move forward, says Cremin.  

“A Zoom re-launch party, a save the date for a future event when restrictions are eased or a team session where everyone can debrief their experience over the last few months can all be effective ways of getting the team on the same page,” explains Cremin.  “Whatever works for your team, it’s important to regroup to move forward.”

Re-establish Expectations
Many well-established expectations have fallen since March, and this has largely been accepted due to the times in which we find ourselves – dress codes, for example.

“Accordingly, it’s important to re-set your expectations of your team, both in terms of conduct and outputs, so that people understand what you need, and that we are indeed getting back to work,” says Cremin.  

Set Meaningful Goals
It’s important for people to be aware of how they can contribute to the success of the organisation. By setting meaningful goals for each team member, you are showing them exactly how to help, and what to aim for. This will help them engage and refocus their efforts. Capture and measure these goals so people can see progress.

“And of course, celebrate the wins so everyone knows they are on track and that their efforts are yielding results,” says Cremin

Keep What Worked
Though the last few months have been challenging, there have undoubtedly been positives to emerge. Businesses are more willing now to consider flexible working. Technology has been adopted by organisations that were previously resistant.
“Don’t be afraid to say to your teams, ‘That worked really well. Let’s keep doing that’,” says Cremin.  “Make sure you speak to them to find out what they felt worked too.”

Cremin cautions that such initiatives won’t be able to be implemented overnight, and the economy isn’t going to bounce back like an elastic band – it’s an ongoing process. But by having a unified team, businesses present themselves with a stronger chance of pulling through post-pandemic.

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