“People who achieve extraordinary results don’t achieve them by working more hours … They achieve them by getting more done in the hours they work” (Gary Keller and Jay Papasan, “The ONE Thing”).

In the modern workplace, which is full of distractions, it can be hard to maintain productivity. In a 2016 CareerBuilder survey, about 75% percent of employers said that distracted employees cost them two or more hours in productivity each day. With that in mind, here are seven tips that can help you and your team become more productive in 2020.

1. Give Remote Employees the Attention They Deserve

Remote work seems to be more and more ubiquitous these days. For remote workers, building connections virtually takes time and can feel isolating. Inviting remote workers to spend the entire week in the office at the beginning of their employment helps them get a feel for the people and the culture so they can navigate online social cues later. An onboarding packet consisting of a laptop and company merchandise is another way to show commitment, giving them something tangible to take away from the experience.

2. Be Proactive About Avoiding Burnout

According to time tracking software company Clockify, 70% of people “have had contact with burnout.” To prevent burnout among your team members, make work-life balance a priority. Be generous with vacation policy, sick days and weekends, and you’ll find that actual workdays are more productive. Be careful when pulling team members away from their work, and be aware of the number of off-site events and meetings employees must attend.

3. Decide Whether All of Your Meetings Are Necessary

Look at what worked and what didn’t work in 2019, and make appropriate changes. For example, weekly internal meetings used to be a must-have, but companies are noticing that they can be wasteful and often don’t result in actionable next steps. To keep meetings productive, ask “why” questions, and keep feedback constructive. It’s also important to prepare for meetings with guided discussion questions beforehand and to check on metrics and project progress.

4. Prioritize Efficiently

Help employees determine the single most important task each day — and then focus on it. They should exclude or delegate anything else and remind themselves of their priorities throughout the day. Trying to check emails only at specific times of the day, for instance, can help them develop perspective and organizational skills.

5. Boost Employee Morale

Boosting employees’ confidence increases productivity and reduces turnover rates, but it also makes them happier. Encourage your team to think ahead and go that extra mile.

6. Be Transparent

Lack of transparency in project management is a significant problem that can reduce productivity. Without accurate and real-time insights into how they spend their time, employees can work too much or not enough, which can cause burnout and/or profit loss.

7. Create the Freedom to Fail (When Appropriate)

Productivity sometimes requires taking risks. If your organization encourages employees to try new things, mistakes are inevitable. By discussing these mistakes openly with your team, you can encourage them to continue to take risks while preventing them from making the same mistake twice.

Improving productivity has wide-ranging benefits for any company, but there is more than one way to go about doing so. Keep these seven tips in mind — but find what works for you and your employees. The success of your team depends on it!

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