How CIOs Can Make IT Workplaces More Productive: 11 Best Practices

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2014-03-25 Print this article Print

Even though most of us enjoy and get satisfaction from the work we do, sometimes the complexities of managing our work feel less like enjoyment and more like a personalized form of hell. It can be agonizing trying to adapt to evolving work trends, spending an inordinate amount of time managing emails or sitting in unproductive meetings instead of actually getting tasks done. This doesn't include standard investments of time and effort in the adoption of new tools, helping incorporate new workers into the company or keeping oneself up to date with continuing education in specific fields. In this eWEEK slide show, we focus on how to improve productivity in the workplace, despite the sometimes hellish and chaotic atmosphere. In fact, these best practices can be applied to workforces in most enterprises. These data points are produced with some valuable human-resources industry research (you can download the full report here in PDF format) and the expert perspective of Bryan Nielson, CMO of AtTask, a social collaboration and enterprise work management software and services provider.

  • How CIOs Can Make IT Workplaces More Productive: 11 Best Practices

    by Chris Preimesberger
    1 - How CIOs Can Make IT Workplaces More Productive: 11 Best Practices
  • Create a Culture That Limits Interruptions

    The AtTask human resources industry survey indicated that the No. 1 reason for late work is too many interruptions. Interruptions are often a corporate cultural issue, but they can be managed with process. To avoid interruptions, choose a method—one that doesn't involve dropping by your desk—for people to submit work requests and provide status updates, and stick to your guns. If a request doesn't go through the set process, it doesn't exist.
    2 - Create a Culture That Limits Interruptions
  • Ensure That Work Aligns With Company Strategy

    People sometimes dread going to work because all too often their work does not directly impact the company strategy. The AtTask survey indicated that less than half of all enterprise work is tied to company strategy. As a manager, when you assign work on a new project, first be sure that it ties back to company strategy and it isn't just a "pet project" of a team member or stakeholder.
    3 - Ensure That Work Aligns With Company Strategy
  • Provide Regular Employee Recognition and Feedback

    Nearly half of the survey respondents said they only receive recognition for their work once a quarter or less frequently. A remarkable 18 percent said they have never received praise or recognition for their work. Managers should take note; employees want regular feedback on their work, both positive and constructive. Find opportunities to routinely provide the feedback.
    4 - Provide Regular Employee Recognition and Feedback
  • Manage Your Employees' Time to Avoid Ongoing Overtime

    Of the AtTask survey respondents, 50 percent said they work more than 40 hours a week, with 8 percent working 60 hours or more per week. It shouldn't take overtime to get work done. Work should be prioritized and resourced appropriately so that it doesn't result in late nights and extra pots of coffee.
    5 - Manage Your Employees' Time to Avoid Ongoing Overtime
  • Consolidate Information Sources

    With the advent of many free business applications, enterprise-required solutions and departmental tools, employees can store and share information in any number of solutions—often as many as 15. This work dispersion results in time lost searching for information and data lost that is never relocated. The best way around this is to minimize work tools to just one, if at all possible. If you have to use several tools, find a way to integrate them. In addition, don't add solutions for the sake of adding solutions; consider the impact each will have on overall productivity.
    6 - Consolidate Information Sources
  • Set Work Expectations to Avoid Rework

    The spinning circle of rework impacts all employees, resulting in losses of 25 to 40 percent of all project spending. This often happens as a result of either not properly managing stakeholder expectations or trying to start new projects from scratch every time, without taking past work into account. Avoid this productivity drain by getting all stakeholders aligned at the beginning of a project. This proactive approach will help with managing expectations and speed up approvals later in the process.
    7 - Set Work Expectations to Avoid Rework
  • Schedule Only Imperative Meetings

    Meetings are often considered the answer for any productivity issues, but they actually end up costing companies valuable time and productivity. A full 50 percent of meetings are considered a waste of time, and 45 percent of workers feel overwhelmed by the number of meetings they need to attend. Before scheduling a meeting, ask whether the outcome could be accomplished any other way. If it's simply a status, review or other meeting where not everyone will be engaged, find another way to meet your goals.
    8 - Schedule Only Imperative Meetings
  • Put Collaboration IT to Good Use

    The explosive global usage of consumer-grade social networking sites has significantly affected how we do business today and how we'll do it tomorrow. It's important that companies of all sizes adapt to the new ways that employees are collaborating. Enterprises should look into social network-like intranets, such as Chatter, Yammer and Moxie.
    9 - Put Collaboration IT to Good Use
  • Understand Shifting Workplace Demographics

    By 2025, the millennial generation will comprise 75 percent of the workforce. Due to their upbringing, these employees expect to participate in connected communities of interest, both at home and at work.
    10 - Understand Shifting Workplace Demographics
  • Adapt to Changing Organizational Structures

    The traditional business with a pyramid-structured hierarchy and command-and-control management method is on its way out, yielding to a flatter and more flexible organizational structure where information silos don't exist and collaborative work is expected and encouraged.
    11 - Adapt to Changing Organizational Structures
  • Enable Flexible Work Policies

    The modern workforce is seeking a balance between a personal and professional life, and organizations are, to an increasing extent, recognizing that traditional 9-to-5 schedules might not be the best fit for all workers.
    12 - Enable Flexible Work Policies

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