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How to Be More Efficient at work? Top 8 Tips!

be more efficient at work

“Today, I’m going to complete all these 4 tasks on my to-do list!” You say as you enter your office.

Six hours later, you’re still struggling to finish the second task!

Déjà vu?

No, we’re not spying on you! That’s the case with the majority of us when it comes to work efficiency.

In fact, an average employee is only productive for 2 hours and 53 minutes a day!

So, what causes us to be disengaged during office hours, and how to be more efficient at work?

Let’s explore!

Factors Affecting Employee Productivity

If you ever find yourself slacking off at your job, it could possibly be due to one of these reasons:

Factors Affecting Employee Productivity
1 Office temperature
2 Noisy work environment
3 Open office layout
4 Horrible bosses

1. Office Temperature

The office temperature has a direct effect on our work efficiency. A workspace that’s too cold or too warm can cause distractions leading to reduced productivity.

Studies show that 53% of the employees are unproductive in a work environment that’s too cold, while 71% have trouble focusing on work in an office that’s too warm.

The solution? Sadly, this is a conflict that cannot be resolved. However, you can create an office temperature that’s just right by following these tips:

  • Dress in layers so you can take some off if it gets too warm.

  • Drink hot or cold beverages.

  • Invest in a space heater or neck fan.

2. Noisy Work Environment

Your work efficiency can go into a downward spiral if your work environment is too noisy or distracting.

58% of the employees said that they needed a more quiet workspace to be more focused and efficient, according to a post by CNBC. These mostly consisted of high-productivity employees, including designers, developers, and engineers.

The solution?

  • Invest in noise-canceling headphones.

  • Request your employers to give you a more private space for work.

noisy work environment

3. Open Office Layouts

While open office layouts might be cost-effective and flexible, they lack privacy and cause stress to the employees.

In fact, open offices cause a 15% decrease in work efficiency and a 32% drop in the overall well-being of employees, based on a study by Gallup. Not only this, but face-to-communications are also reduced by 73%, as employees try to isolate themselves from others by appearing busy.

Not the outcome they were expecting when going for open office layouts!

The solution? As most employees want privacy while working in an office:

  • Resort to cubicle office layouts.

  • If possible, give enclosed offices to employees.

  • Even better is to opt for a hybrid office layout.

4. Horrible Bosses

An employers’ bullying behavior can cause employees to be unhappy and unproductive, causing them to exhibit behaviors like being late each morning, taking more days off, taking longer breaks, and doing work half-heartedly.

This costs an almost $300 billion loss in productivity per year.

On the other hand, happy and satisfied employees are 31% more productive and take 10 times fewer days off.

The solution?

  • Be more encouraging towards the employees.

  • Keep them motivated through regular bonuses and rewards.

  • Try keeping the office environment stress-free and friendly.

  • Appreciate their good work.

horrible bosses

If your work efficiency is not deteriorating due to these four reasons, then you’re probably just lazy!

However, whether you’re unproductive due to the temperature, the layout, a horrible boss, or even if you’re a habitual slacker, we have some tips on how to be more efficient at work.

How to Be More Efficient at Work

Follow these 8 tips and take your work efficiency up a notch:

Tips on How to Work Efficiently
1 Use the 1-3-5 rule
2 Take regular breaks
3 Tidy up your desk
4 Spark your creativity with music
5 Keep a distraction list
6 Use collaborative tools
7 Make meetings short
8 Focus on your well-being

1. Use the 1-3-5 Rule

Most of us try to juggle multiple tasks at the same time for the sake of getting more done in less time. Does it work? No! In fact, it leads to more errors and less creativity.

Multitasking reduces your work efficiency by 40%. The reason? When you’re focusing on multiple tasks at the same time, your brain gets stressed out, switching from one task to the other. The result is less productivity.

Therefore, the trick is to focus on one task at a time, i.e., monotasking. Preferably, follow the 1-3-5 rule. According to this rule, the best way to boost your productivity is to take up the most challenging task first, then move to the one that is medium level, and leave the easiest one for last.

2. Take Regular Breaks

As we discussed in “7 Tips for Productively and Efficiently Working at Home”, taking regular breaks is a must when it comes to boosting your work efficiency.

In fact, studies show that taking a 15-minute break every 90 minutes re-energizes and enhances work efficiency. So, even if you’re working on a challenging project that requires your entire focus, taking a breather every couple of hours is highly recommended. It’s not only good for reducing your stress levels, but it improves your problem-solving skills and creativity.

And breaks don’t necessarily mean snacking! You could chat with an employee for a few minutes, text someone, or even browse your social media. Anything that’s totally unrelated to work helps you refresh.

take regular breaks

3. Tidy Up your Desk

Nothing is as stressful and anxiety-provoking as a cluttered workstation!

Research shows that 41% of employees believe that a tidy and organized workspace enhances their productivity, while 21% said that a cluttered desk adds to their workload and has a negative impact on their work efficiency.

So, how do you keep your desk tidy? Simply put away everything except the things you need for the project you’re working on. And once you’re done, prepare your desk for the next day, so when you come back to work, your desk is organized.

tidy up your desk

4. Spark Your Creativity with Music

Music is food for the soul. Generally speaking, it reduces stress and elevates your mood.

As far as listening to music while working is concerned, 71% of the people said that it helps them be more productive.

So, if you have a playlist that keeps you going when you’re down, or fixes your mood instantly, indulge in it when you feel your work efficiency is depleting.

But limit it to a few minutes only. We don’t want you getting into trouble for vibing to music while your boss is around!

spark your creativity with music

5. Keep a Distraction List

Have you ever been consumed deeply in work and suddenly remembered that you need to pay a bill or find an exciting idea for a social post? And that thought keeps nagging you until you finally end up losing interest in the task at hand?

Well, it’s very common to get distracted by petty things during work. But, we have a solution!

Make a distraction list!

Jot down all the unnecessary thoughts that come up, and get straight back to work. Sure, those thoughts are important, but not at the moment. Right now, you need to work on the project that needs to be submitted by evening.

This technique may seem weird, but it is very powerful and helps keep distracting thoughts away.

6. Use Collaborative Tools

If you want to improve the workflow efficiency of your team, go for collaborative tools. Not only does such software help employees work simultaneously on a project, but it also leads to increased speed and productivity.

Moreover, it helps you move on from paper-based systems to cloud-based software like Wondershare PDFelement Cloud, making document management easier and more organized. You can easily store, sign, edit, and share files with your colleagues without the fear of them getting lost.

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7. Make Meetings Short and To-The-Point

Business meetings! Those long and tedious business meetings that never seem to end!

You may live in the illusion that meetings are beneficial, but the truth is that business meetings are the biggest obstacles to work efficiency.

65% of the managers reported that meetings keep them from completing their work.

That’s not even the worst part!

91% of employees have confessed that they daydreamed during a business meeting, while 39% slept! Yes slept!

In order to boost productivity, keep the meetings short, preferably 10 to 15 minutes only. In fact, here’s a flowchart by Harvard Business Review to help you:

make meetings short and to the point

8. Focus on Your Well-Being

The last tip on how to increase work efficiency is the most important - Your well-being!

You can take as many breaks as you want, tidy up your desk, or prioritize your tasks, but if you’re not taking care of yourself, nothing will work!

Get enough sleep, work out, and most importantly, eat healthily. Once you feel good inside out, you will be able to focus better on your work.

Remember! Your personal habits play an integral role in improving your work efficiency.

Summing Up

While everyone wants to make the most of their workday, depleting work efficiency mostly comes in the way. There could be countless reasons for being unproductive. Still, you can always work your way up the productivity ladder by incorporating the tips discussed in the article into your everyday routine.

But remember to start with one tip at a time. Small changes in your workday will eventually lead to significant changes in your work efficiency!