Boosting Team Performance: Outside-the-Box Productivity Tactics

Byon May 22#best-practices
Boosting Team Performance: Outside-the-Box Productivity Tactics

The last few years have transformed work teams and ways of working as we know them. A recent study found that, even though productivity levels have remained stable or increased over the last few years, teams have not been collaborating as effectively as before. As a result, creative thinking and innovation have suffered.

New technologies and an increase in remote working culture mean some teams don’t always share the same physical space. This can sometimes present managers with challenges they might not have faced a few years ago. 

The big question is how to stimulate innovation and creativity in ways that boost team performance. Discover six unconventional productivity tactics below that will incentivize your team to excel.

1. Brain Writing

Similar to brainstorming, brain writing is a simple team activity designed to get a team’s creative juices flowing. To use this technique, ask each team member to write down three ideas regarding a specific project or problem. Let them know that all ideas are welcome, even if they seem a little unusual. 

When everyone has written down their ideas, ask your team members one by one to share them. It’s important to remember that you are not looking for a singular best idea. The ideas they share can be starting points for interesting collaborations. You might find that two people share complementary ideas that provide the perfect solution to the problem at hand. You might also find that you or a third team member can combine two other members’ ideas into one, which solves the problem.

2. Working Backwards

When planning a project or solving a problem, most people have the end goal or desired solution in mind. They then start trying to plan the route to get there. Working backward from the outcome can help your team gain a new perspective.

By working backwards, your team will keep more of their focus on the goal than on the process of reaching it. To work backward, start by writing down the end goal. Next ask your team to identify milestone tasks, starting at the goal and ending with the first step or action. 

This tactic can be challenging and take some getting used to. Don’t stop the exercise until you and your team have developed a clear route to achieving the desired outcome. 

3. Figure Storming

A new brainstorming method, figure storming challenges team members to look at problems, projects, and tasks through different eyes. Those ‘eyes’ refer to a respected public figure or leader. The results of this exercise might surprise you as well as your team members. 

To use the method, ask your team to choose a well-known figure to embody the process of coming up with new ideas, solving problems, or determining how a task should be completed. Alternatively, assign a figure for the team to use. For example, ask the team how someone such as Nelson Mandela, Steve Jobs, or Warren Buffett would solve the problem. 

This unusual but entertaining method should inspire the members of your team to think outside the box and approach the problem or task from a perspective that’s at the same time fresh but familiar, giving rise to fresh ideas.

4. Gamify and Incentivize Tasks

Introduce a spirit of good-natured competition into tasks to motivate your team members, increase engagement, and encourage greater productivity. Do this by gamifying and incentivizing tasks.

Incentives such as bonuses can boost productivity, but you don’t need to limit the potential rewards to financial ones. Gift certificates, gadgets, privileges such as a greater number of flexible working hours, or extra time off can also make tempting rewards. When you have decided on appropriate incentives, you can set goals and create a leaderboard so that team members can see not only their own progress but also that of their colleagues. 

Gamifying tasks can be a fruitful way to motivate team members to take on new challenges. This can include learning additional office functions, upskilling themselves in ways that they can use to the team’s benefit, and finding other ways to invest more of themselves and their talents in their work. The friendly competition for chances to win rewards and incentives should lead to greater productivity.

5. Meetings With a Difference

Traditional sit-down meetings in the same meeting room time after time can seem like more of a chore than an opportunity for innovations that lead to greater productivity. Get around this by holding meetings with a difference. 

One way of doing this is to hold meetings in different locations at your workplace or in public spaces such as cafes, restaurants, or parks. An inspiring change of scenery can stimulate creativity and new ideas, spur on conversation, and lead to an increase in productivity.

Another way to hold meetings with a difference is to have walking meetings. Instead of sitting down at desks or a boardroom table, take the team to a space or place where you can move around. This can lead to your team members feeling more relaxed. It can also enhance their focus, inspire their creativity, and stimulate open conversation, all of which can result in greater productivity when you return to the office.

6. Create a Pet-Friendly Workspace

Studies show that animals reduce stress and improve moods, leading to increased productivity in the workplace. If your team members are relaxed and happy, they are more likely to perform better and work as a more efficient team.

Whether they are certified emotional support animals or not, people who have their pets with them at work tend to enjoy their jobs more and enjoy greater professional satisfaction. In turn, this reduces instances of absenteeism and increases work output. A pet in the office also provides the perfect opportunity to take enforced breaks, ensuring that there’s time to relax, refresh, and regroup between tasks. 

Inspire Your Team Members

Out-of-the-box thinking to encourage greater productivity does not happen without leaders who can guide and encourage teams to try new things and different ways of working. It takes creativity and ingenuity to boost productivity in new ways and to continually engage people and ensure they deliver. Use the productivity tactics above to inspire your team members to achieve bigger, better results.

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