How to improve your workplace productivity

Thursday 7 November 2013

What can be done to boost productivity in the workplace?

With Windows 8.1 landing and the new Surface models now on the market, Microsoft is doing its bit to boost employee productivity. Technology undoubtedly has a role to play in boosting performance in the digital world of 21st century business, and equipping your people with these solutions gives them a fighting chance of optimising performance. But equally, IT is not a silver bullet - there is much more to working productively than simply clicking your mouse, swiping your screen or tapping your keyboard.

In order to work productively, your employees need to be organised, motivated and sufficiently energised. Technology can provide the catalyst for improved performance, but ultimately many of the gains need to come from the self. So with this in mind, here are our top tips for working more productively:

Get a good night's sleep

Your chances of working effectively are greatly improved if you are sufficiently rested from the night before. It may seem like you've got too much on to get a full eight hours in bed, but cutting back on sleep is a false economy. Rest and recuperation is all important if you are going to be firing on all cylinders when you get to work.

Plan your day

Having a clear idea of what you are going to do on any one particular day makes sense. This can be broken down into a series of smaller tasks, which can be prioritised according to the level of importance. Ensure you don't give yourself too much to do, as they could result in you rushing - impacting on the quality of your work - or potentially getting stressed. At some points you will need to be flexible to respond to changing needs, but in general, a structured day should help you focus on the tasks in hand.

Avoid distractions

Ensure you give complex and difficult work your full attention - this may mean taking yourself away to a quiet part of the office if you are surrounded by distractions, or even shutting your email account and chat down for a few minutes. The constant flow of calls and messages can easily derail your productivity plans and send you off at a tangent, meaning it is sometimes necessary to create a 'bubble' for quiet, focused work.


Conversely, at other times it will be necessary to work together with your colleagues to solve problems, benefiting from your shared knowledge, expertise and effort. Knowing when and how to collaborate - whether online or offline - can make a big difference. It can ensure work is completed quickly, efficiently and with a greater degree of quality.

Take regular breaks

Unless you take regular breaks during the working day, productivity rates will likely tail off towards the end of your shift. Physical and mental fatigue sets in, making it more difficult for you to concentrate on what you are doing and deliver great results.

Set time limits

If a particular task is causing you difficulties and dragging on, it can impact on what you achieve overall during the working day. Knowing when to move on to the next task is an important skill, which helps ensure you don’t fall behind with your overall workload.

Keep your desk tidy

It might sound like a simple suggestion, but it is important nonetheless. De-cluttering your desk and keeping things organised means that, firstly, you have space to operate, and secondly, important tools and documents are less likely to get lost.

Use technology

The cloud, social media, collaboration tools, mobile solutions, business intelligence - you have a long list of technologies and platforms at your disposal, each of which can potentially help in the course of your daily work duties. Knowing how and when to use technology is important if you are looking to maximise your productivity at work.

Find out how Microsoft solutions can boost your productivity in the workplace.

Posted by Alex Boardman