Keeping Your Finance Team Productive When the Sun Is Out!

We all love the sun. And even more so when we know it’s such a rare occurrence in our normally grey isle!
But, as a finance manager, you’ll also know the challenges of getting the same levels of productivity out of your team when the weather is good. We’ve all experienced a normally reticent office, leaping for joy as the mass exodus occurs, on the dot, at 5pm.

Not that there’s anything wrong with this, per se. But obviously, it’s easier to work longer hours in the winter, which normally equates to more work being done, because, quite simply, our evenings are not so alluring. In the summer, however, even the most dedicated amongst us will want to enjoy the better weather, get fit, spend time with families and be social – which all in all, means that when the weather is better, the idea of spending your evening chained to your office desk is much less appealing.

As you already know, keeping your team’s productivity levels high is key; but you’ll also know it’s not always down to time spent in the office. So, here are some steps can we all take, or teach others to take, in boosting productivity, so that we can all get out the office and into the sun, earlier!

#1 Plan your week, in your week

Don’t factor in time to get tasks done ‘later’, or over the weekend. Plan carefully, using slots in your calendar to make sure everything you agree to get done, can be done, within your allocated working week. Be strict with yourself and others around you; keep yourself to task and to time allocated.

#2 Block some time out

Not for fun in the sun, I’m afraid, but for making sure you have a couple of blocked hours later in the week to complete work that has expanded, or run over from your weekly plan. Not only will this enable you to shift priorities around, and to take on those “urgent” matters earlier in the week, it will stop you eating into your evening, or weekend time.

#3 Prioritise complex matters as early morning tasks

The thought of starting with the chewy issues before your second cup of coffee might not be enthralling, but you’ll be much fresher in the morning than after your sunny lunch in the park, or equivalent, where a 20-minute task could take you an hour.

#4 Mark out 30-minute inbox sessions

The biggest time-waster of them all: email. Block off a couple of 30-minute slots in a day, and keep yourself honest. Also consider that it might be quicker to pick up the phone and call than write and re-write a two-paragraph email until you’re happy with it.

#5 Book in your social and fitness activities

You’ll speed up if you know you have to be somewhere at 7.00pm. Of course, this isn’t always practical, but getting into a habit of committing to events instead of “seeing if you have finished” gives you mini-deadlines. And we all work better, and often with more speed, under pressure.
Above all, taking a fresh look at those timewasting habits we all have that lower our productivity, might make all the difference. Keeping meetings succinct and on agenda, reducing the amount of time spent flicking backwards and forwards between emails by creating yourself a task list, and delegating low priority tasks are also all good ideas!

Let’s hope, for once, that the sun lasts!

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