For virtually all business operations around the world, the coronavirus pandemic of 2020 threw a wrench right into their operational engines. Setting aside the massive layoffs, closures, reductions, and the challenge of trying to provide business continuity, a few Fortune 500 companies were able to boost productivity between March and June, some of them exponentially.
Fidelity Investments is an example of a company that was somehow able to increase productivity by 147%, thus prompting hiring managers to go on a recruiting drive. One of the keys utilized to achieve this significant boost in productivity was that executives did not blink in terms of accommodating staff members who had to work from home. Another company that experienced a substantial productivity increase was New American Funding, a mortgage lending firm that was able to process 45% more financing applications; in this case, the company enjoyed the advantage of working with younger, tech-savvy employees.
Technology and innovation are not the only factors that can boost productivity during challenging times. Traditional strategies such as the ones listed below can also work wonders; some of them are based on tips in this blog post, and they should always be on the minds of managers as well as company owners:
Prioritize a Company Culture of Working in the Present
It goes without saying that worrying about the future is counterproductive at a time when things are highly uncertain. Doing this on a personal level is a hindrance; imagine how such a point of view will interfere with business operations. Productivity is a matter of completing the task at hand in the present, and this is something you should pass onto your employees.
Rewrite Employee Roles and Responsibilities as Needed
Many companies have been forced to redefine the roles and duties of employees during the pandemic. While assuming new responsibilities on the fly is an excellent way of dealing with emergencies, there may come a time when these new duties will become a new way of doing business. When you find that expectations have shifted, try to put them in writing as soon as possible so that they can be promptly distributed. Accountability is important even in the most critical climates.
Apply the Kanban Method of Project Management
Productivity flows more efficiently when it is managed as a series of projects. The Japanese management method known as Kanban can go a long way towards making sure that your work teams stay productive. At the most basic level, Kanban is presented on a board with color-coded cards with tasks that should be initiated, tasks that are being worked on, and tasks that are completed. Project management apps such as Trello offer simple and intuitive Kanban boards that many companies have been adopting in recent years.
Be Mindful of Your Employees’ Needs
Your staff members can only be as productive as their lives allow them to be. If some of your workers are facing difficulties related to the pandemic, the right thing to do is to help them and try to alleviate their stress. If the issue is something that coworkers can help with, getting them involved would be even better.