In the debates around four-day work weeks and remote working, one of the main concerns companies have, is productivity. How do managers know that their team is working if they don’t see them in the office? Will they be able to get through their workload in less time if they’re only working 4 days a week?

Even though studies show that four-day work weeks and even remote working often result in increased productivity, for many managers it’s counter intuitive. This is mostly because an old mindset pervades, where work is measured by time spent at a desk / on site, rather than outputs produced. We share some insights on how managers can foster a more productive working environment.

Clear Communication

Good communication remains one of the most valuable skills to develop as a manager. With clear communication, your team learns what to expect from you and understands what the business priorities are. They also gain insight into what their specific role is in helping the company achieve its goals. This may seem less important, but when it comes to productivity, having the buy-in from the entire team can have a major impact on outcomes.

Defined Objectives and Outcomes

Productivity is best achieved when goals and objectives are clearly defined and communicated. When the focus is on project outcomes, it creates an incentive to be efficient as possible in achieving them. It’s a prime example of a win-win situation in that the company gets the outcomes they’re looking for and employees move away from being clock watchers.

Practical Support

Setting objectives and communicating clearly needs to be backed up with providing the resources the team needs to work effectively. A prime example of lacking in support is when there are inefficient IT systems or lengthy decision-making processes. These can hinder projects moving forward and frustrate employees – especially if they know that they’re being evaluated based on their level of productivity.

Recognizing Effort

For employees having their efforts recognised is meaningful. When this is backed up with a bonus or some other form of tangible benefit, it serves to promote employee retention and loyalty. People want to be engaged in meaningful work and when it’s recognised that their work has made an impact, it motivates them to continue being productive.

While these insights may seem simple, they’re effective. Managers that want productive teams, put in the effort to help them be effective.