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The Unconventional Guide to Work

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35 Unique Ways to Motivate Your Team to Be More Productive

“No matter how brilliant your mind or strategy, if you’re playing a solo game, you’ll always lose out to a team.” - Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn Co-Founder.

Team productivity... For most small businesses it’s the difference between success and failure. Your people need to work as an efficient and cohesive unit, or you risk losing everything.

But inspiring team productivity can be a major headache. Your employees are from different walks of life - with a huge variation in personalities, working styles and strengths.

How do you successfully motivate and inspire a diverse group? Here are 35 unique ways to increase team productivity, while still empowering them as individuals.

Motivate them with team building exercises…

1 - Hold a team building day. Team building exercises build a culture of trust and support, which is essential for productivity. These creative team building ideas are a great place to start.

2 - Host a Hackathon. 

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Nope, it’s not a network of cyber terrorists trying to bring down the government. A ‘hackathon’ is a day where people from different technical backgrounds join to collaborate on a project from scratch, usually completing it in 24-48 hours. Xero hold a global hackathon every year. It’s team building, skill sharing, and incredible fun.

3 - Have a family day. It’s important that your workplace is inclusive for loved ones. Try to have a family day at your business at least once a year. This helps to solidify team bonds, boost motivation, and strengthen employees loyalty to the company.

4 - Creative brainstorming sessions. Starting a big project from scratch? Get your team moving with an innovative brainstorming session. These unusual meetings help to stimulate creativity while unifying your team.

5 - Start an exercise challenge. 

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An exercise challenge is great for team bonding. Hold a regular lunch-time walking competition, cycling group or morning squat challenge. It’s been proven that exercise boosts productivity - and you’re less likely to suffer the afternoon slump.

Try new ways of working...


6 - Offer agile working. 
Agile working can have an amazing impact on your team’s productivity. Offer your staff a flexible schedule, or the chance to work remotely. Often greater freedom yields better results.

7 - Use agile methodology. Agile is also the name of a revolutionary project management strategy. It was invented by software developers in the 2000s, but many different industries can use the agile methodology to their advantage.

8 - Communicate effectively. Email is no longer the holy grail. There are new ways of talking to your team which will increase productivity - try Slack or Yammer to keep everyone in the loop.

9 - Hold daily stand-ups. A 5-10 minute team chat in the mornings is a great chance to update each other, address any challenges and get the ball moving. Keep the time limit strictly under 10 minutes. This can replace the need for long meetings later in the day.

10 - Create awesome meeting agendas. When long meetings are necessary, stick to a clear and concise agenda. There are some brilliant online tools to help you host effective meetings. Try Lucid Meetings or GoToMeeting.

11 - Keep your workflow visible. One of the best ways to increase productivity is with a visible workflow board. Everyone can see what team members are working on and the status of projects. Try an online system like Trello or ClickUp.

12 - Have a reward system. Your team should have clear targets; along with incentives for reaching them. Fun social events like team dinners, a day trip or sports matches give them something to strive towards.

13 - Delegate by interests. Try to assign tasks to team members based not only on their strengths, but also their passions. You’ll see an immediate increase in productivity if they’re interested in the project, or when it aligns with their personal career goals.

14 - Have skill-sharing sessions. 

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At WorkflowMax we hold monthly skill sharing sessions in a relaxed workshop format. Everyone learns from each other’s specialist knowledge and skills - and better yet, it’s fun!

15 - Start a mentorship program. 

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Have a signup form, so staff can express their interest in learning particular skills. Then arrange for them to buddy up with a work mentor. When team members upskill, your whole company benefits.

16 - Offer internal training. Your staff will be happier and more productive if they are constantly learning new abilities. This is especially true if they get to choose their development path. If they express the desire to study part-time at university, consider offering a flexible working scheme.

Add some spark to your space…


17 - Create the perfect workspace. 
Studies have shown that a well-designed office can increase productivity by up to 20%. Natural light, ergonomic chairs, plants, temperature and colour can have big impact on employee happiness and efficiency.

18 - Offer co-working memberships. If your team is small or you’d like to give them a more flexible lifestyle, try signing up for a co-working office membership. These passes give your staff access to a number of beautiful offices which they share with like-minded professionals. Many include gyms and special facilities.

19 - Encourage clean eating. A healthy team is a productive team! Sign up for a weekly fruit box, or supply a nutritious staff breakfast once a week. Some cafes also offer corporate membership deals - pick one with healthy, diverse food options.

20 - Invest in a water cooler. Water has been proven to increase productivity, so do everything you can to make sure it’s consumed. A water cooler or filtration system will encourage staff to stay hydrated in the office at all times.

21 - Build fun communal spaces. Stuffy, formal meeting rooms don’t do much to inspire productivity. Take a note from these workplaces - create colourful break-out areas with bean bags, couches and interesting decor. This helps to motivate and inspire group work.

22 - Limit distractions. Open plan offices are great in some ways, but it can also be difficult to focus. Create a ‘quiet zone’ for anyone who needs privacy to work on a solo task. If this isn’t possible, consider implementing a ‘no interruptions’ time of day, e.g. 2pm-4pm.

Measure team productivity…


23 - Implement time tracking. 

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Employee time tracking is one of the most powerful methods of measuring productivity. It can show you where business profits are being made and lost, and which projects are problematic.

24 - Keep individual time logs. Encourage your team to track their own time as well. This can help each team member identify their personal productivity killers. Armed with these insights you can develop better habits together.

25 - Try a team pomodoro timer. Your brain is only able to focus for a certain period of time. Using Teamodoro on a big screen encourages your team to work in synchronized blocks, with short breaks in between. It’s not for everyone - but some work groups swear by it.

26 - Have a peer review system. Create a formal channel so your team members can increase their productivity and performance together, through constructive feedback and advice.

Understand each other...

27 - Celebrate workplace diversity. Hold events to celebrate different nationalities and cultures in the workplace, including diversity training days. This will help your team members to understand, enjoy and respect each other’s differences.

28 - Share your DiSC profiles.

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A team DiSC assessment is a great way of identifying the individual personalities within your team, and how you work best together. We tried this at WorkflowMax and the results were surprising - our marketing team were all completely different personality types. Maybe opposites do attract!

29 - Respect individual habits. Some team members work best at their desk, others increase productivity by being active and moving locations. Some like music while others prefer silence. Do your best to accommodate and respect individual preferences. Productivity is never one-size-fits-all.

And finally...

30 - Eliminate excess tasks. Are your team bogged down with unnecessary meetings, small non-urgent tasks or office maintenance? Try to ‘trim the fat’, so your team can focus on big projects without distractions.

31 - Set a powerful example. A team is only as good as its leader. If that’s you, make sure your own personal productivity is at its peak. You can’t expect the team to move mountains if they don’t have a strong role model.

32 - Have an open door policy. Nothing hurts productivity more than confusion or a lack of direction. If you’re leading a team, keep an open door policy so they can approach you with any challenges and reach a quick resolution.

33 - Minimise chatter. Is your entire Tuesday morning spent gossiping about Game of Thrones? Workplace friendships are beautiful, but they can be distracting for co-workers. Try to create ‘social spaces’ in the office that are separate from your quiet, working hubs.

34 - Embrace the latest tools. Don’t be afraid of the learning curve - those who are scared of technology get left behind. Cloud based productivity tools can have a huge impact on your team’s overall efficiency.

35 - Set realistic goals. One of the best ways to increase productivity is by setting realistic goals. Your team should always have specific targets to strive for. They should also understand how these goals help the overall business objectives - helping to foster a sense of unity and purpose.

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Have you tried any of these techniques for boosting team productivity? Are there any hot tips we’ve missed? Leave a comment below with your suggestions - we’d love to hear your thoughts.