August 25, 2021

5 ways to increase your team’s productivity at work


Profitability and productivity go hand-in-hand, and–contrary to popular belief–the trick isn’t to work more hours.

Economist Productivity

But there are tried-and-true ways to intentionally build a culture that fosters productivity. We share a few below, including why these tactics are effective, and how you can put them in motion at your organization. 

1. Instill a sense of purpose to increase productivity at work

Why: Deloitte Insights 2020 Global Marketing Trends Report found that purpose-driven companies report 30% higher levels of innovation—and 40% higher level of employee retention. By slowing down to instill a sense of purpose behind the work you’re asking employees to do—and tying your goals to something beyond the bottom line, like Patagonia’s “being in business to save our home planet” or Kelloggs’ aim to “nourish families so they can flourish and thrive,” you create a culture of collective purpose that breeds productivity. 

How: When sharing company-wide goals, explain why you want to accomplish them. Help employees imagine how your organization – or the world – will be a better place if your goals are met. Developing an OKR program can help you create this vision and build a sense of urgency around making it happen.

OKR Process

With features like dashboards and check-ins, Ally OKR software makes it second-nature for employees to keep an eye on big-picture goals and offers consistent visibility into how individual work is making your organization’s vision a reality. 

2. Maximize productivity at work by aligning work to outcomes

Why: When surveyed for Asana’s Anatomy of Work, 39% of employees said the main motivator for them to do their best work in 2021 was knowing their work adds value to the business. Aligning your employee outputs to company outcomes—and making sure employees understand this steel thread—helps you avoid a lot of miscommunication and frustration later on, and keeps employees feeling fulfilled and productive. 

How: Motivate your employees to be high achievers with clearly defined individual goals that connect to overarching organizational goals. The best way to do so is with a OKR framework like Ally’s, wherein organizational goals cascade down to the individual employee level.

Our 2021 Goal Management Report revealed that 96% of individual contributors that use OKRs say they have a solid understanding of how their work ties into the company’s broader goals. Only 70% of individual contributors who don’t use a framework can say the same. 

3. Streamline processes to increase team productivity at work

Why: According to Asana’s Anatomy of Work, teams are feeling burdened by “work about work” 60% of the time (over 30 days a year!). That leaves only 26% of time to be spent on skillful work, and another 14% on strategy. 

Organizations of every size, and across all industries, are losing countless hours to work about work. As a result, 60% of time is spent on work coordination, rather than the skilled, strategic jobs we’ve been hired to do. – Asana’s Anatomy of Work Report

How: Make it an objective to streamline inefficient processes during your next OKR review cycle. Have your employees track their time for a week (or more, if possible) and take a close look at the data. Then use these insights to inform your key results. For example, if your survey data shows that employees are spending 10% of their days coordinating meeting times, make it a key result to decrease that down to 2% by implementing a calendaring tool like Calendly. 

4. Increase work productivity by engaging your teams

Why: Each year Gallup conducts a survey looking at the relationship between engagement at work and organizational outcome. Their 2020 meta-analysis revealed that businesses that score higher on employee engagement see 23% higher profitability than those who score low. 

How: Every data point we’ve gathered over the last year has proven the importance of employee engagement in fostering a high-performing workforce. Our top four tips? Set a clear mission and vision, empower your employees–at all levels–to help that vision take shape, measure results regularly, and celebrate success. 

Here’s one thing you can do this week to boost engagement: Create a space (Slack channel, email thread, or time set aside in a team meeting) to celebrate the little wins. Hit the half-way mark on a key result? Give some kudos to the team who made it happen! Find an answer to a key question or problem that had been evading your team for weeks? Revel in that moment of clarity and toast to a path forward made easier!  

5. Embrace app integrations for productivity

Why: 26% of workers say that app overload makes them less efficient. The problem with app overload is that it forces our brains to move quickly from one task to another (often called context switching). This jumping around is more than just a disruption to workflow–it’s a drain on mental energy that can interfere with cognitive function, concentration, prioritization skills, and effective decision making.

Embracing a purpose-built work management platform as part of an organization’s essential tech stack is key for saving considerable time, effort, and money. According to IDC, teams who use three or more integrations experience significantly more time savings—over 30 hours per week. —Asana’s Anatomy of Work Report

How: The easiest way to avoid app overload is to build them right into your workflow. With dozens of integrations available, ensures OKR updates happen right where your work is happening. Our integrations make it seamless and easy to connect your day-to-day to the big picture without taxing your time and energy by making you switch between apps. The added benefit? Integrating with the apps you use every day is an effective way to ensure adoption and follow-through on goals. 

With these 5 tips in hand, you have the power today to build a culture where employees feel productive and aligned towards your organization’s goals.

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