There are a lot of blogs out there talking about managing productivity at work. A lot of that advice works - but only when you have the intent of making it work. Being productive is a choice that we have to make for ourselves. A lot of us like to wallow in the pool of to-do lists and feel important. At Graffiti, we do this very differently.
We have some clear cut guidelines which make us vibe as a team. Do not waste time impressing the boss. He/she doesn’t give a damn. Oh wait, also, don’t call them a boss. Do not waste time ‘showing’ you are working - just do the job. And do it right. If you make a mistake, very well, own up and move on! Most importantly, break that ugly agency culture of coming in late and going home late!
We are breaking some common agency myths in the way we work. Agency people are not all night birds - it is really to each his/her own. Agency people don’t need to be high all the time to create great work. Chatting up till late does not build a great work culture. Honestly, what builds a great agency is fresh, active, and thinking minds. And our minds can only do that if we manage our time well - personally and professionally. So here is a bunch of things we do differently at our agency which could help you work better at yours!
Zoho product suite
We use technology to manage our entire operations and we are proud to be an agency which is very particular about it. We manage HR, project management, CRM, file sharing and a lot more through Zoho. Our processes have been designed around the systems to ensure that no one is lost about what to do and where to find things.
Long back, one of our co-founders read Ed Catmull’s book on the Pixar story. One sentence stuck - trust the process. Process ensures that the system doesn’t become people dependent and hence the margin of error reduces. Processes also help reduce confusion within the team, thereby saving a lot of time collectively. It is a great idea for even small teams to document processes and the do rigorous implementation.
Keep a lean team
We have gone through the cycles of hiring and losing people. In that journey, we have realised is that what works is a compact team of efficient people who are clear about what they have to do. A big, under-utilised team results in a lot of ball dropping, unnecessary confusion and office gossip. We need an effective SWAT team, not the entire army.
While a to-do list tells you what to do, a calendar tells you when to do it and more importantly, how long to do it for. Planning your day is a must if you want to achieve things out of it. Spread out your to-do through the day basis your energy levels. If you are a morning person, tank up the critical thinking tasks then, put the mundane ones right after lunch and so on. Be realistic about how much time you give yourself to do a task and progressively reduce that time. And be extremely mindful of respecting this calendar. Timing your tasks helps you get better and more focused on them.
Making the most of meetings
First up, don’t call useless meetings - if it is a one-on-one conversation, just walk up to people. Second, ensure everyone in the meeting is actually required for it. Third, everyone should be prepared for the meeting - they should have something to contribute. Fourth, there should be tangible actionables to takeaway for everyone from the meeting. Fifth, stick to the time given. It always helps to put out a brief agenda to the meeting in the calendar invite. And finally, ensure you don’t skimp on meetings when the team needs to align. It is better to have that half an hour to get everyone on the same page rather than doing KT over and over.
Keep this device out of sight in meetings. Keep it off the lunch tables. We don’t want them in our snooze rooms either. That one damned ping is all we need to take away all the focus from our work and goes stumbling down the rabbit hole of nothingness. Build a culture where people don’t use their phones when creating or brainstorming. If whatsapp is a part of your process, then ask them to switch to web whatsapp. Let phones be used for breaks. Be at work when you are, and away from it when you are. Phones have become extremely critical in managing your work life balance. But remember, if you don’t want to be taking work calls post working hours, refrain from letting your partner do long chats or calls during work hours either. It works both ways.
Train the team in their jobs. Even the most skilled people need refreshers of the fundamentals. Most often, the basic things are not paid attention to. When people know of different ways to get the same result, they can then choose the one that works for them most effectively. This helps build a diverse, yet efficient team.
Time in & out
Be extremely particular about time. Meetings need to start on time. People who don’t respect that should be asked to stay out. They will learn to be on time in the next one. Clock in on time and start work on time. Don’t walk in to office and take a chai break before you have even done anything. It makes the day lazy. Be sure to clock out on time. Do not entertain any work conversations post that time. Make it a culture to respect your own and other people’s time.
These are some of the very functional but effective things to implement as work culture for the entire team to be productive. At a work place, productivity ends up becoming more than a personal choice. Peer pressure can swing it either way. But if all team members agree upon getting more out of a workday and respect their personal time off-work, you can have a winning culture!
In the next post, we will share with you the not-so-obvious things that impact our workday productivity. Those often taken for granted measures will surprise you with results! So stay tuned!