Productivity in the workplace is vital, not just for the company’s bottom line but for the workforce’s well-being as well. Productive people are happy people, and happy people make up a healthy organization. 
That said, here are five things to do to boost workplace productivity: 

1. Create a manageable to-do list 

To-do lists growing into paralysis-inducing behemoths aren’t unheard of. People feeling stressed, overwhelmed and useless as a result aren’t new news, either. According to Robert C. Pozen, a Brookings Institution senior fellow and Harvard Business School senior lecturer, our lists should be “derived from larger goals and include tasks that move us toward those big-picture endeavors” instead of a catch-all for every task thrown our way. In short, create manageable lists by knowing which tasks to prioritize. Author and online marketing expert Michael Hyatt sets himself up the night before and creates a to-do list with top three must-dos, the operative word being “must.” 

2. Stand during meetings 

If you’re concerned about the long-term ill effects of sitting for too long in one place (now pegged as the new smoking), standing and treadmill desks are workplace implements gaining in popularity. Non-sedentary workplace setups are not just hip. Aside from their health benefits, studies – click here and here – have shown they improve workplace productivity, too. There’s another added benefit to standing – standing during meetings, that is. Anecdotal evidence shows standing meetings can cut meeting times by 25%, in that standing eliminated distractions such as notifications from the intranet system or the urge to type up an email whenever meetings go the boring course. A new research also found that standing meetings improve creativity and teamwork, as “the teams who stood had greater physiological arousal and were less territorial about ideas than those in the seated arrangement.” 

3. Communicate, communicate, communicate 

Just because you sent out a memo first thing in the morning doesn’t mean everybody’s on the same page. If anything, making assumptions instead of conducting follow-ups can cost your business a lot of money. According to a 2008 IDC white paper commissioned by Cognisco,US and UK companies lose $37 billion (£18.7 billion) a year because employees do not completely understand their jobs. 
Whether verbal or written, being articulate is fundamental to effective communication. We all know that communication is a two-way highway. Doling out instructions is just half the battle. Ensuring that those instructions are clearly understood makes up the second half. And unless your team is in it for the brain exercises, leave no room for guesswork in your communication strategy. 

4. Don’t micromanage 

You want the project to succeed, and no one can fault you for that. But obsessing over the font type and size used in the presentation slides? Or having people report on the status of their tasks every hour of the day? Sure, the devil is in the details, but sweating all the small stuff can also drive sane people crazy. There’s a saying that says, “People quit their bosses, not their jobs.” 
Besides, a high level of achievement cannot be expected of employees who see themselves as mere puppets in the overall scheme of things, and people who believe they are being explicitly monitored tend to perform at a lower level. Bottom line, talents must be recognized for what they are – talents with their own work style and techniques. Give them freedom and the ability to think for themselves, and what you reap is another vital productivity factor called accountability. 

5. Encourage, reward and recognize 

Some people get the kick out of sarcasm or disparaging remarks, whether from a client or a manager, but that can’t be said of the general population. One reason people stay motivated to perform their level best is because they feel valued by their employers and that their contributions help propel the company forward. While monetary perks are definitely welcome, rewards and recognition can take many forms – vacations and holidays, paid conferences, or an occasional team luncheon at a nearby restaurant. A pat on the back or a simple congratulatory message can sometimes do the trick, too. A genuine gesture of appreciation, no matter how small, can go a long way. Being recognized for hard work is an effective morale – hence, productivity – booster. 

See also:
- Free unified communication tools
- Hipchat alternatives
- Slack alternative
- Free inside sales tools
- Zoho CRM free
- Online team task manager

Bitrix24 is world’s fastest growing social productivity platform created for small organizations. It is 100% free for 12 users or less. Use promocode TIP10 when registering your free Bitrix24 account to get extra 10GB

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Earlier this year we’ve asked different organizations how they communicate and collaborate inside as well as what tools they use to work with their clients and business partners. We analyzed the data and created this infographics to illustrate our findings. 

Full size


Conclusions: 

1. Email still reigns supreme as primary collaboration tool inside organizations, but social intranets, social project management, enterprise social networks and other forms of #unemail are very successful at replacing it. They are now used in almost half of all organizations surveyed. 

2. Traditional social networks (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+) got very little traction as internal collaboration platforms. Rather they are used by marketing and customer support (Facebook and Twitter) or HR department (LinkedIn for recruiting) 

3. Social collaboration platforms and Google Hangout seem to be pushing out Skype as primary online meeting solutions. However, Skype remains the most popular way to talk to clients and prospects after telephone. 

4. Sales prospecting is the most ‘socially intensive’ process, meaning those involved in sales prospecting use the widest range of social networks and access them much more frequently than other employees. 

5. There isn’t any communication/collaboration platform that would be widely used both for internal and external communications. This is a major opportunity gap both for existing vendors and new startups. 

Bitrix24 is the only unified collaboration platform that comes with both #unemail work tools and internal mail server, giving you the best of both worlds. It is 100% free for 12 users or less. Use promocode TIP10 when registering your free Bitrix24 account to get extra 10GB

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As you know, we take mobile very seriously. That’s why you can use Bitrix24 as mobile intranetmobile CRM or mobile HRMS. Today we talked to mobile productivity expert and the author of TabletProductive.Com Christopher Lee how to get the most out of your iPad. 


Hi Chris. You seem to be in love with your iPad. Why? What advantages do tablets have over personal computers, other than being easily portable? 

1. Instant on 
2. Better screen resolution, the new Macbooks notwithstanding 
3. Seamless touch interface 
4. Apps: many, many different app options for various uses 

Which productivity tools other than the obvious ones, like todo lists or mobile CRMs, work on mobile devices much better than they do on personal computers? 

1. Electronic medical records 
2. Mind maps 
3. Notetaking and Writing in general, i.e. Drafts, ByWord, Editorial, etc. 
4. Simple photo manipulation, i.e. iPhoto, Snapseed, etc. 
5. PDF processing, i.e. annotating and signing documents 
6. Document annotation in general, i.e. Skitch 
7. Skype works better and easier on my iPad than it does on a relative’s new Win7 laptop 

What is the biggest single feature that is currently missing from iPads and Android tablets that hinders productivity? 

Ability to easily attach multiple monitors, keyboard and mouse for those times that more screen real estate is needed. I think the new Surface 3’s will mitigate this. 

What¹s your view on external keyboards? Must have, waste of money or a matter of personal preference? 

Must have. I write all of my posts, my eBooks and my professional notetaking on a Logitech Ultrathin Folio. 

How much time do you spend yourself with your iPad vs personal computer? 

80% of my time is on my iPad. I only use my work laptop to access secured work directories, locked-down work email and high-end spreadsheet work. However, my company is moving to Microsoft Office 365 which will mean I will likely be moving to 95% iPad, 5% laptop 

Thanks Chris! 

See also: 

Email lifehacks from a productivity guru who checks his inbox only twice a week 
Why your enterprise social collaboration strategy failed and what to do about it 
Seventeen free remote employee management tools you should be using
- Free Confluence Alternative
- Best free hosted CRM review 
Use promocode TIP10 when registering your free Bitrix24 account to get extra 10GB

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1. Usage for personal communications is on decline 

Less than 40% emails in an average inbox are from other human beings according to Yandex (Europe’s biggest email provider). And that’s AFTER filtering spam out. The rest are ‘automatic messages’ – registration confirmation, notifications of different sorts, newsletter and e-commerce related messages, including coupons. When is the last time you wrote an email to your close friend or relative? Probably a while ago. Chances are you use Facebook, Skype, Facetime, iMessage or Snapchat to communicate with those who are closest to you. 

2. The rise of email-less collaboration

Over two billion dollars have been invested in tools built specifically to replace email at work. Yammer was bought by Microsoft for a cool 1.2 billion dollars. Jive Software raised over $160 million dollars through IPO in 2011. Facebook cofounder Dustin Moskovitz left the “mother company” and raised over 30 million dollars to create Asana - project management solution with the slogan ‘Teamwork without email”. Citrix has purchased Podio for more than $50 million. Atlassian and Slack are taking a swing at email. And it’s working. You don’t have to convince Generation Y that there are better ways to collaborate then send emails back and forth. Or that Dropbox is a better way to share files than attaching them to emails

3. Email marketing is …sick 

Is email marketing dead? Email marketers will try to convince you otherwise. We are not trying to start holy wars here. But email marketing has been under a lot of pressure lately. The problem is this – you can still use email rather effectively to market to your existing clients or prospects, especially the ones that you’ve recently acquired. That works well. However, you can no longer use email marketing to attract new customers. Renting email lists or buying advertising in email newsletters no longer works, as most marketers can attest. Nor does creating squeeze pages in hopes of creating a large mailing list – by some estimates more than 85% of subscribers stop reading newsletters they subscribed to within 12 months. To quote the aforementioned Muskovits: “We’ve hit peak email”. And really that’s OK. We’ve been there with snail mail, with radio, television and print. Things change. Insisting that you can still make a ton of sales through fax blasting just like you did in the 1980s isn’t a good strategy (hint: just google ‘social CRM’). 

4. Email goes mobile 

According for Litmus, 41% of all emails are now opened from smartphones or tablet PCs. For Gmail than number even higher – 68%. This mobile trend has a lot of implications and not just mobile-friendly email formatting. You’ve probably noticed that when people respond to your emails from their phones, the answers tend to be very short. And since mobile phone is usually with a person 24/7, this blurs the line between personal time and work. Should you answer an email you received from your co-worker on Sunday evening right away or should you wait until you get to work on Monday? 

5. The rise of Intelligent Inbox 

Rules and filters for your email client are nothing new. But very few people actually use them. With ‘intelligent inbox’ there are very few rules that you need to set manually. The rest is done automatically. Intelligent inbox knows when you receive Facebook or Twitter notification and puts them in Social folder. They know when you receive PayPal receipts or coupons. And they respond to your behavior. For example if subscribed to a newsletter and actually read it – it will be treated as important. But once you stop reading it and skip a few, it’ll be moved to ‘Rest’. The leaders of Intelligent Inbox are Sanebox and Gmail, but there are a lot of other companies who think out of the box about the inbox. Some companies, like Streak, think about the inbox as CRM, while others, like Flow or AnyDo, believe that you should be able to convert emails to tasks with one click. And that’s just the beginning. 

See also: 

Email lifehacks from a productivity guru who checks his inbox only twice a week 
Why your enterprise social collaboration strategy failed and what to do about it 
Seventeen free remote employee management tools you should be using 
Bitrix24.Mail - free company mail server inside your intranet 
- Free online HR tools

Use promocode TIP10 when registering your free Bitrix24 account to get extra 10GB

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1. Bitrix24

Even though Bitrix24 is used by over 200,000 companies, it’s mostly unknown to HR professionals. Perhaps, because its HR tools (employee directory, employee self service portal, shared calendars, absence management, onboarding and engagement) are hidden away.  Do take a day or two to explore Bitrix24, because it’s a hidden HR gem. Free – 12 users/5GB

2. ScheduleHead.com

As you might have guessed from the name, ScheduleHead is a free online employee scheduling service. The free version is limited to 75 employees and uses email as the only way to notify them about their work shifts. The paid version also lets you notify employees about scheduled shifts via text messages.

3. iDoneThis.com

iDoneThis is a free workreport software. It sends your employees daily reminders to fill out a short form about what they’ve done. At the end of the day supervisor sees what each subordinate has done. As easy as that. Free – solo, after that it’s $5/employee/month

4. WaveApps.com

While payroll is a responsibility of accountants, the two roles are frequently intertwined in small companies. There are a number of accounting tools available inside WaveApps, payroll being just one of them. The free version is ad supported. The paid version is ad free, but has $9/user/mo charge. The fact that you can view payroll via mobile is pretty cool.

5. WebHR

WebHR is somewhat similar to Bitrix24 (minus file sharing, document management, client management and tasks). It can be used as free employee portal if you have 10 employees or less. It has a great clean interface that is very inviting. Unfortunately, most of the HR tools are turned off in the free version. However, WebHR plans are very modestly prices $25 for 20 employees and $50 for 50 employees.

Did I miss any other free online HR tools? Leave your favorite ones in comments

See also:

Three Simple And Inexpensive Lead Nurturing Tools That Work 

5 Simple Things You Can Do to Improve Workplace Productivity

Free Yammer Alternatives

5 Email trends that will affect you and your business

Tools you can replace Confluence with

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