For your team to be at its best, each member must be working productively. And that doesn’t mean just thinking about your own productivity: When was the last time you evaluated your impact on the team’s productivity?
For most of us, that answer is somewhere between “not recently” and “never.” And what we see as being friendly may actually be throwing a wrench in our colleagues’ productivity.
Thankfully, there are some things you can do to help your coworkers perform to the best of their abilities. Here are some easy ways to support your peers’ productivity:
Make Sure You’re Following the Project Timeline
We work in an age of project-based work. And in the game of projects, deadlines are everything.
Because of the deadlines, it’s essential to make sure you’re handing in your deliverables on time. Your teammate may need your deliverable to be able to move on with their own project. Are you holding teammates up without understanding your role in the overall success of the team?
Staying aware of all factors in the game (your work perimeters) can make all the difference to your teammates.
Missing a deadline can create a cascade effect. If you fail to plan ahead, you may put others in stressful, down-to-the-wire situations. So help your team avoid the waiting game by making sure you stick to the project schedule.
Don’t Interfere with Their “Off” Time
It’s all too easy to become a workaholic, and it’s even easier for workaholics to export their bad habits to others. Working all the time puts pressure on others, and we all need breaks.
That’s why it’s essential to respect your teammates’ time off the clock. Maybe your colleague takes lunch at a different time than you, or perhaps they’ve decided to dip into their PTO benefits.
Whatever the reason you and your colleague aren’t in the office at the same time, you shouldn’t be contacting them for work-related issues. That means no text messages or phone calls asking for files that you could have asked someone else for, or worse, found yourself.
Keep a Positive Attitude
Having a bad day? We’ve all been there. Unfortunately, the workplace or sometimes home life can come with stresses that put us in less-than-good spirits.
Bad attitudes hurt everyone’s productivity. Studies have shown that individuals can ruin their day of productivity just by being in a bad mood when they come to the office in the morning. It’s essential to try your best to remain positive throughout the workday because your attitude impacts not just you but also your wider team.
Human beings are social animals. Just like a cold, a lousy attitude spreads. Something as small as your Monday morning blues could affect the whole team’s productivity.
Minimize Unnecessary Noise
No one likes distractions, and noises are a particular culprit. The rattling A/C, the bustling of the traffic, the buzzing of a fly outside the window — the number of noises that can cause a distraction are endless. But what if the noise problem is you?
Frequently, we aren’t aware of how loud we’re being when we’re performing tasks. The noise factor is particularly true for those of us that work in an open office environment. Anything from shuffling papers to slamming drawers can be much louder than we intend it to be. It can also be valid for the phone calls that we take and, for some of us, the music we listen to.
Try to keep this in mind when you’re sitting at your desk, especially if it’s in an open area. If possible, try to take phone calls elsewhere, make sure your music isn’t playing too loudly from your headphones, and help keep the noise level to a minimum.
Limit Your Visits to Others’ Desks
Speaking of distractions, while we all love to engage in some water cooler talk now and then, it’s important to limit the number of conversations you have with your coworkers.
You read that right.
It’s crucial to build relationships with your team — but you need to make sure you’re doing so at the right time and place. Stopping by your colleague’s desk or stopping them in the hallway for a prolonged conversation probably isn’t the best idea. A recent survey shows that 80% of people consider chatty coworkers to be one of their top work distractions.
Approach Conflict in a Healthy Manner
Finally, make sure you’re addressing office conflicts in a healthy manner. Just like all relationships, you’re bound to find some conflict at some point when in the office. What matters is how you approach the situation.
Are you upfront? Are you respectful? Are you working to find a solution? Avoid bottling up your grievances or resorting to passive-aggressive behaviors. Personal behaviors can escalate the situation and upset both you and your colleague. And we already know what happens to productivity when you’re upset: It plummets.
When you’re working in a team, you must find ways to support your teammates. While there are always ways you can improve your own productivity, don’t forget to be conscious of how your actions impact your colleagues as well.