the gift of productivity
December 22, 2020

Giving the gift of productivity to your team this Christmas

By Paul Laughlin

Taking up my challenge of a gift that leaders could buy their teams, a late entry suggests the gift of productivity.

Guest blogger, Simon Daniels, is an experienced Marketing Operations leader with expertise in MarTech. He has shared with us before on avoiding locked down insights & recommended digital collaboration tools.

In this post, Simon responds to my challenge for guest bloggers. What present could leaders buy for their teams this Christmas to help make 2021 a better year? The gift of productivity it seems…

There’s still time for leaders to play Santa for their remote teams

Time is rapidly running out for gift giving. The team Secret Santa has probably been and gone, leaving you wondering whether your teammates know you at all.

However, the opportunity is not lost for the considerate boss. One wanting to express appreciation to their staff for a job well done during a tough year.

As such, my stocking filler tip is a piece of software. This has the benefit that it can be ordered and delivered online, avoiding the need to beat pre-Christmas delivery deadlines!

How TextExpander app can help your team enjoy better productivity

The app in question is one I’ve been using for years, called TextExpander. It enables snippets of text when typed to be magically transformed into full words, phrases or even paragraphs.

As an example, rather than typing out my email address countless times a day as seems to be necessary, I just type “eml” and the full address is instantly expanded. I actually have different snippets for different addresses, allowing me to expand the one I need in any given situation. Similarly, I have snippets for phone numbers, postal addresses, common phrases I use often. Plus ones for whole chunks of text that I use in standard emails for instance.

There are certainly many other similar solutions and lots of other applications and devices have long had the ability to perform much the same function. The key benefit of an app like TextExpander is that it works in just about any situation across emails, documents, website forms and so on. It also makes it easy to create new snippets from text selected on screen or on the clipboard. You can sort snippets into categories & even share them with other people and across devices.

All of this of course is intended to contribute to increased productivity. To help reduce typing, errors and an overall sense of not endlessly typing the same phrases over and again. TextExpander even supplies regular reports on how much time has been saved by repeatedly typing out whole chunks of text. It makes suggestions too for common phrases it spots you typing regularly that could be turned into new snippets. All this for the price of a cup of coffee a month! A small price to pay to boost team performance and job satisfaction I’m sure any concerned manager would agree.

Would your team prefer to keep working from home in 2021?

There may be other ways to enhance productivity that would be equally or even more welcomed by employees that bosses can also bestow. One such gift that as many as 98% of employees say they would like to retain is the option to work from home at least some of the time. That’s according to a survey from Buffer and AngelList. Benefits staff report include improved focus, the ability to plan their days around other personal commitments, choosing exactly where to work (well, in less straightened times, anyway!) & of course avoiding the commute.

This leads to the related gift of flexibility around work hours. A key feature of this year’s lockdowns and enforced home working has been juggling domestic responsibilities. However, while most people will be happy to see the back of homeschooling, other aspects as life begin to return to normal will be happily retained.

This includes choosing exactly when to be working. Based on not just school runs, meal preparation and other chores but also natural energy levels, matching tasks with individuals’ daily circadian rhythms and preferences. While northern hemisphere days are short and daylight is in limited supply, encouraging individuals to get some fresh air and exercise while it’s still light & then perhaps work a little later makes good sense.

Would you go for shorter working hours to improve productivity?

Should you be really looking to push the boat out, consider getting on board with the growing movement towards shorter working hours. How about a four-day working week? The obvious appeal to staff is to spend less time at work. This, perhaps paradoxically, also increases productivity argues Alex Soojung-Kim Pang in her book “Shorter”.

This isn’t just the preserve of quirky new-age businesses like Uncharted, a Denver-based accelerator helping start-ups solving social and community problems. Unilever in New Zealand are trialling reducing weekly hours by 20% without affecting pay and in 2019. Microsoft Japan reported a sales boost of 40% when it reduced the working week there.

This year, leaders, give the gift that keeps giving = productivity

So, to give the gift that keeps on giving, consider ways to boost your team’s productivity. Whether it’s something as simple as an inexpensive software subscription or more radically cutting a day from the working week. Don’t let a good crisis go to waste, as the saying goes. And with that, may I wish you a restful Christmas or Holiday break and all the best for the New Year. Or “rxmasbstny” as I prefer to type!

Many thanks to Simon for his suggested present focus & app tip. However you help your team this Christmas, thinking about ways to aid their productivity in 2021 makes sense. Perhaps also think what will make continued working from home more comfortable for them.

What else do you suggest could help your team? Feel free to send in your suggestions or comment below after Christmas. After all, a team productivity gift can also be a great way to start the year. Taking time to think what will really help your team is a great example for leaders to set.