The Best Way to Increase Productivity in the Workplace

The best way to increase productivity in the workplace is to take away all irrelevant decisions.  As humans, we only have so many decisions we can make in a day before we become overwhelmed and burned out.  Even the smallest decisions take an output from our energy stores.  So why not eliminate all small, non-critical decisions?

Mark Zuckerberg recently explained that he wears the same shirt most days because he wants to clear his mind from unimportant decisions so that he can focus on what is important: his Facebook community.  Other powerful individuals such as Barack Obama and the late Steve Jobs have also followed this hack to increase productivity in the workplace.

So as a business owner or manager, what can be done to help employees reduce irrelevant decisions and increase productivity in the workplace?  Here are five hacks that can easily be implemented in any business:

  1. Implement a dress code.  While uniforms are generally not desirable by most innovative companies, a properly implemented dress code can narrow the number of available options and thus limiting the number of decisions needed. 
  2. Bring in lunch.  Lunch can be a productivity killer both in an energy drain from making a lunch decisions but also in unhealthy choices.  Providing a free healthy lunch to employees can help decrease energy drains but also provide a perk of employment.
  3. Limit meetings to key decision makers.  Meetings often involve many individuals who don't need to be there.  These extra meetings involve unnecessary decisions so limit meetings to only those who are vital to the decision at hand.
  4. Change e-mail practices.  E-mail is one of the greatest productivity killers in the workplace.  To combat this killer, try implementing a policy where e-mails are viewed and reviewed in "batches."  Batching e-mails helps to avoid ongoing distractions and speeds the e-mail response process.
  5. Take away small decisions.  You want your most productive employees focusing on the most important tasks.  To help them be even more productive, consider creating special positions to handle all of the minor decisions in the workplace such as travel arrangements and postage/mailings. 

What other ways have you been able to increase productivity in the workplace?