20 June 2019 marked World Productivity Day. It is one of the less well-known celebratory days as it is less about partying and more about paying homage to the suppliers of productivity tools and training. Nevertheless, it is a day worth celebrating as it grants us the opportunity to focus on doing things a little better than usual, trying some new tips and perhaps learning some new skills so you can get more from your time.

To some, productivity can mean trying to accomplish as much as they can, as efficiently as possible with regards to time and resources. To others, especially leaders, productivity can mean enabling all subordinates to work towards a common goal.

Staying productive can be a serious challenge, especially for those in leadership positions or those overseeing the operations of an entire company. Maximising productivity requires you to focus on efficiency, on stripping out waste and finding ways to streamline processes. Unfortunately, there are many cases where over-zealous leaders become so focused on productivity that they neglect the needs and wants of those working under them.

Long hours and overtime may increase productivity in the short term, but these methods have been known to be devastating on employee morale and will most definitely lead to burn-out. Demotivated and burnt-out workers are less productive and re-engaging these employees is no easy task. Having a clear, organised structure and plan as well as a proper work-life balance is key to ensuring workers and leaders both stay motivated and driven towards the goals of the organisation.

Here are a few words of wisdom from renown business leaders on how they maximise their productivity, as well as their staff’s without driving them to burnout.

Andre Musto, Regional Vice President, APAC at Merck Biopharma
Gone are notions where productivity means physically being at the office from nine to five – this holds especially true for me as I manage 13 countries, regularly traveling across the region and globally too.

For me, productivity means finding the time and space to be most effective every day. To ensure I get the most out of my day, I focus on prioritisation and planning. High impact and high value priorities take precedence within work hours; and I plan my time, both personal and professional, months in advance. I also make sure I have time for family and fitness, in addition to work – this keeps me motivated and energized.

At Merck, we recognize that flexible working conditions allow for better productivity. This spills into our policy of encouraging inclusion in the workplace, where we are committed to advancing women’s leadership potential while ensuring they have the right support to be able to care for their families. As a father of two daughters, I am fully behind any professional initiative that encourages quality time with family while maximizing workplace productivity.

Samit Chopra, Executive Vice President, Enterprise and Sales at IWG
The business landscape is changing at an unprecedented rate and there has been an increasing focus on employee productivity, which sits at the heart of this change. Organisations at the forefront of the productivity curve are investing in more engaging, empowering and fulfilling experiences for employees, who are now seeking more mobility, connectivity and access to communities in the workplace.

The IWG group, through its multi-brand portfolio, including No18, Spaces and Regus is very much aligned with the ever evolving needs of the new workforce through its offerings centred around personalisation, design and hospitality. This enables our members to operate at peak productivity while enjoying a great day at work.

Darryl McKinnon, Vice President and Managing Director, APAC & Japan at Puppet
No matter how packed my schedule is, I believe in caring for my mind and body to ensure that I am operating at peak productivity. Exercising keeps me alert and teaches me important life lessons that I apply to work: my first ever 118 km bike rally this year reminded me how the impossible becomes possible if you persist, and as a sailor I know how essential it is to always be open to changing approaches.

We understand that people and productivity go hand-in-hand at Puppet, so we must make a conscious effort to drive an environment for our employees to flourish and thrive in. This means recognizing the team’s efforts and having a structure that allows people to collaborate and have fun together. For example, we recently came together for a learning session on diversity and inclusion to discuss how we could work together to help improve our team’s performance.