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How to increase team productivity

Any good team knows to work smarter, not harder, but keeping that up might be easier said than done.

A person using a to-do list in Dropbox Paper to be more productive

What hinders team productivity?

Team motivation and morale can ebb and flow, because, after all, we’re only human. Unfortunately, your business processes can’t afford to behave in the same way. Maintaining a certain level of productivity is essential. Dropbox helps teams stay motivated and productive as they move towards a shared vision.

Your team’s productivity may surprise you. Maybe you think your team’s morale is a sure thing given that they sit typing away at their desks five days a week, but that’s not necessarily true. For example, productivity was found to be higher among employees who work from home—but why?

1. Being at your desk doesn’t mean you’re working

Just because your laptop’s open doesn’t mean you’re mentally engaged with work. One of the upsides of the digital transformation of the workplace—and the upending events of 2020—is that we now know that work can truly be done from anywhere. Freeing your team from physical restrictions is just one of the things Dropbox does best and is also one of the most impactful ways to boost work productivity. It’s not just essential for team efficiency that you move away from this dated way of thinking. If, like our happy customers at Castor and Pollux, you welcome clients to join your workflows, keeping things open, collaborative, and not chained to the office server is essential.

2. Losing sight of what matters

Every team member has a crucial role, but it’s easy for people to start to feeling like just a cog in a machine. Groups can quickly disconnect from the content collaboration that makes them a team, and see work as an endless stream of tasks, not a step towards a joint goal. This is where Dropbox Paper comes in, helping team members to keep up to date with everyone else. Our integrations with Trello and are fantastic collaboration tools for regular check-ins. So you all know if you’re on track for that deadline and understand that you’re not just a cog, but a very important member of a team.

3. No accountability

Teams work better with a bit of structure and expectation, like time management and deadlines. If you aren’t given responsibilities during a project, disillusionment can grow. The modern workplace is about flat hierarchies and that means everyone is valued, with key duties to uphold. Reinforcing this will help everyone perform at their best.

How to boost team effectiveness

So, now you know what may be holding back your team’s productivity, how can you help your team perform to their fullest potential?

Communication is key

Accountability and communication go hand in hand. No matter where your team is working from, no matter what they’re working on, you should all be in touch. Make use of Dropbox integrations like Slack that come with the benefits of asynchronous communication (i.e., no one breathing down your neck for an immediate, real-time response.) Maintaining communication will sustain employee engagement and is also key to team building, creating connections beyond your department.

Just as you can remove the restrictions of a physical location or a dated hierarchy, you should remove any limits on your open communication channels. Stilted communication leads to organizational silos, where communication is replaced with gatekeeping and productivity replaced with possessiveness.

Bridge the gap

While Dropbox can’t promise you a perfect project, it can certainly make task management a smoother experience. You may not realize it, but huge amounts of time are lost to clicking in and out of a dozen applications, downloading, editing and resending emails, and so on. Staying in one centralized digital workspace minimizes this “jumping” time between different apps as well as distractions like social media. That means you can really get into the flow of things and create your best work.

Take the team over at Patreon. Their platform is helping shape the way creatives realize their visions and reach their audiences. Essentially, the more productive Patreon is, the more productive their own creative customers can be. As their Creator Marketing Manager explains, “[We move] ‘as fast as hell’ so we can put creators first…we need to collaborate and communicate very quickly as a team.”

Find the perfect work-life balance

Some of the most powerful brands in the world have work habits that a traditionalist may find counter-productive. From nap pods to flexible work hours, unlimited vacation to remote working, if you want to get the best from your team, think about personal team development and what they need to be their best selves. Let’s face it—no one likes the commute, and no one really wants to spend 40 hours a week chained to a desk. But removing the commute completely and letting your team gain back almost 20 hours a week for personal time? That changes the way people think of and engage with work, which positively impacts team effectiveness and productivity.

Dropbox is ready to go whenever you are. Whether you’re on the train, at home, in the office, or struck by an internet outage, when you’re ready to work, you can. And when it’s time for downtime, you can disconnect knowing everything is safely stored and documented.

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