The 30-Day Office Productivity Challenge Your Team Needs to Try
With so much uncertainty in offices since the start of the pandemic, business owners are trying to find more ways to improve employee morale and company productivity.
We’ve found that a 30-day productivity challenge is a great way to improve productivity in the workplace. By focusing on a smaller period of time, just 30 days, and adding in other aspects of self-care and work-life balance, managers will find that their employees are far more productive and better engaged.
Here’s a great 30-day productivity challenge to get your employees engaged:
Overview of 30-Day Office Productivity Challenge
We’ve written up an example 30-day office productivity challenge that you can start with. Use these items, or modify them for your workplace setting.
The focus for each week can be broken down by the day of the week.
- Mondays are dedicated to organizing and making weekly commitments, like a to-do list or time tracking
- Tuesdays are dedicated to learning, by either a business podcast, TedTalk, or Webinar. The key is sharing this information with your team
- Wednesdays are for recalibration. Here’s where your practice stops bad habits, like taking on too much work, disorganization, or multitasking.
- Thursdays are about accountability. Take the time to see what went wrong, like checking your wasted time, working without breaks (or too many breaks), and your time tracking sheet.
- Fridays are for office-focused rest and team-building. Do a 5-minute exercise on your morning huddle around relaxing, focus, or stretching.
- When you hit the weekends, the challenge doesn’t end but it morphs. Saturdays can be about growing, whether that is in starting a new hobby, organizing your office, or finally stepping away from work.
- And Sundays are dedicated to health, happiness, and family!
Your team can also set large monthly goals and weekly goals too. Maybe the goal is to hit more hours on a given project. Or allow more time for learning activities. Whatever it is, these should be customizable and trackable.
Presenting Your 30-Day Office Productivity Challenge to Your Team
How you present the 30-day office productivity challenge to your team will depend on your team structure. While some may want to see the calendar, it may be best to present each item every day so that your team does not get distracted. You could ask that each team member set aside 30 minutes each day to tackle the daily challenge and then have a 5-minute check-in during the morning meeting to see if it was addressed.
For larger teams consider breaking your team into groups so that they can talk about the achievements. These teams might want to be met daily or weekly. Also, talk about what employees did to reach those daily goals.
The 30-day office productivity challenge should also be tied to current productivity metrics, 1:1 productivity meetings, and productivity assessments. Make the challenge a requirement for performance reviews so that each team can say that they have made steps to improve their productivity.
You’ll need to use time tracking software in addition to the challenge tools so that you can track breaks, time spent on activities or tasks, and time spent on the productivity challenge. Also, check in if there is something strange with the time tracking so that you can reassess.
Breakdown of 30-Day Office Productivity Challenge By Week
Below, we go over our 30-day office productivity challenge and why each daily challenge is a step in the right direction for productivity. You can always learn more about why these tasks will boost productivity.
Week 1: Goal Setting, Routine, Focus
Monday: Commit to time tracking this month.
Employees spend around 5 hours a week simply waiting for people to get back to them with important information. Time tracking with dedicated activity monitoring software is a great way to assess how much time is spent or wasted on a given task or project. When your entire team is tracking time, this can give managers a great overview of what’s really going on.
Ask your team to commit to time tracking using activity tracking software at the start of the 30-day challenge. This is a daily routine, but the first day will involve some planning. Ask your employees what it looks like to them to track their tasks, the hurdles that they need to overcome, and what success would look like. Coach them on how time tracking works. You may have it set up so that your idle timer alerts your team member every hour during a working hour. Educate them on what these types of indicators tell your managers and how to improve upon them.
This is also a great time to address goals. Maybe your employees are wasting too much time. It’s okay to acknowledge this. Encourage your employees to talk amongst their coworkers about time tracking goals so that they stay dedicated to the challenge.
Tuesday: SHARE: Learn something new.
Continuing education is a great way to boost employee engagement, improve job prospects, and improve company productivity. And 87% of millennials care about continuing education. This is why Tuesdays are dedicated to learning and sharing.
Have your employees learn something new (anything really) and share it with the team the following day. This encourages new neural connections in the brain and allows your employees to work better under stress.
Wednesday: Delegate a task when you need to.
Delegation is a vital tool of management, but not enough people do it. Some employees and managers are just really bad at taking on too much work. And when you take on too much work, you aren’t allowing for higher productivity.
Encourage delegation where it makes sense and when needed. This can encourage workers to finish more projects and only take the projects that they can complete efficiently.
Thursday: Share your productivity goal with a coworker.
Missed performance goals contribute to lower productivity. Therefore, you want to set a productivity goal and share it with a coworker, which will encourage accountability.
On this day, ask your team to come up with one productivity goal. We recommend goal setting in your one-on-one. Then, ask that one other coworker holds them accountable for the month.
Friday: Do a 5-minute guided team meditation.
If you encourage a work-life balance as a company, you can see up to 2X productivity. Therefore, Fridays are focused on taking care of yourself and turning your stress off from work. Take time as a team to breathe and relax in each other’s company.
Sat/Sun: Turning off work notifications and family activities.
Around 94% of service professionals work over 50 hours each week, even though the average workweek is 34.4 hours. Therefore, one simple tool to improve productivity is to ask employees to step away from work on the weekends.
The weekends should be dedicated to NOT focusing on work, so check in on Friday about the weekend productivity challenges as a reminder. When you come back to work on Monday, ask your team members about the activities they did and if they followed the Saturday goal.
Week 2: Consistency, Accountability, Flexibility
Monday: Organize your email inbox.
Well, this one might seem self-explanatory. Some of your team members may be regularly getting too many emails. Set aside time to go through their inbox. Consider archiving emails, unsubscribing to unread newsletters, and cataloging some emails with email filter settings.
Tuesday: SHARE: Listen to a business podcast.
Ask that your employees spend some time listening to a podcast related to your industry.
This encourages them to reach out to your industry more, listen to expert voices, and start to feel more connected to what you do, improving employee engagement and worker productivity.
Wednesday: Stop multitasking.
Part of this 30-day productivity challenge includes breaking bad habits. Many employees think that multitasking is a good thing. Well, it’s not. And it’s actually impossible to do! Ask employees to notice when they are multitasking and start to set focus timers.
Thursday: Commit to taking more (or less) breaks.
41% of stressed employees believe that the stress is negatively impacting their productivity. Breaks are important for employee productivity and health, and it’s likely that your stressed employees are foregoing breaks and getting sicker (and less productive) because of it.
Some employees may be taking too many, or too little. Ask your employees to be honest about their break-taking for productivity’s sake. Maybe your team member needs to download the Pomodoro technique, for example.
Friday: Do a 5-minute guided team breathing.
Over 70% of employees worry about stressors during their work time. So use Fridays for a team breathing to refocus and not worry about external stressors.
Encourage your team with some work-life balance tips. This time, the team can focus on breathing. Breathing helps to decrease stress levels and improve productivity in the office. It can also reduce the physiological effects of burnout. Have one coworker lead a breathing session or do a session on Youtube.
Sat/Sun: Doing morning affirmations and family activities.
Since stress has such a major impact on wellbeing (and productivity), employers would be wise to include compensation as a means of alleviating stress. Paid vacation leaves, wellness programs, and flexible work schedules are all ways that could positively alleviate stress.
As a boss, you should care about work-life balance and your employees’ wellness. And, even more than that. Work-life balance is an important factor when determining a job.
Encourage home activities for their own good, like spending time outdoors, with family, practicing affirmations, and the use of paid time off for stress relief purposes.
Week 3: Organizing, Reassessing, Planning
Monday: Make a to-do list for the week.
When employees are engaged, they are more productive, resulting in a potential increase in profits by 21%. So, start your Monday off strong. By week 3, your employees will feel more comfortable with the challenge. They might have things they will want to accomplish.
Encourage your team to create a detailed and realistic to-do list for the week. Maybe this involves wrapping up some old projects on the go?
Tuesday: SHARE: Listen to a new TedTalk.
Once again, on Tuesday focus on continuing education. TedTalks are amazing as they bring awareness to new products, potentials, and market experts. Encourage your employees to listen to a TedTalk (preferably related to work, but it does not have to be!) and share their insight at the Wednesday huddle.
Wednesday: Create a calendar for tasks.
While you may think that Week 3 is late for a calendar, it’s actually a great time. Your employees will be done with the challenge in less than a business work week, so they might not be thinking so much about organizing and productivity once the challenge is done.
A calendar might set them up for success even after the 30-day office productivity challenge has ended. Set up recurring tasks to remind them about certain productivity tasks or goals even after the challenge has ended.
Thursday: See if you can find the wasted time.
One-on-one meetings have increased over 500% since before the pandemic but for good reason! These are a great time to check in with your employees to see what’s going on. Use this Thursday to review the time tracking that has been collected to try to find wasted time together.
With time tracking software, you can easily see the “wasted time” in the Wasted Time Report, but you may need to go through and check the applications and software the user used to see if any more time was wasted. Look at things like checking the bank account, shopping on retail sites, and social media.
Friday: Do a 5-minute guided team stretch.
Unfortunately, workers spend 40% of their day multitasking (which is not efficient!). This can lead to higher physiological reactions to stress, including high blood pressure, and burnout.
Take this Friday to stretch. As we know, physical activity can boost productivity, so a little stretching can go a long way. Ask a team member to run a stretch session or follow Youtube to wake up those synapses!
Sat/Sun: Organizing your home office and family activities.
Over half (66%) of workers and 83% of Gen Zers and Millennials don’t feel like they have a work-life balance. This productivity challenge is a good time to change that!
Hopefully, in Week 3 your employees are feeling better about their work-life balance. Ask that they get things in order in their home office (if they have one) or organize another part of their home.
As always, ask about their fun activities on Monday!
Week 4: Reviewing, Authenticity, Dedication
Monday: Organize the documents on your desk.
Finally, we’re at the last week. Ask employees to organize their desks and set up organizational plans moving forward, like file folders and filing cabinets. This can lead to a better mental organization, better workflow, and fewer distractions and stress.
Perhaps this will encourage them to have the willpower to stay organized even after the challenge.
Tuesday: SHARE: Attend a webinar related to work.
During the last week, ask your employees to attend a webinar. You may ask them, also, if you think that ongoing weekly learning sessions are a good idea, and encourage them to continue doing them!
Wednesday: Brainstorm common work distractions.
The unfortunate reality is that employees are interrupted an average of every 3 minutes and 5 seconds. This can be from emails to bothersome coworkers. Every interruption may lead to an additional 23 minutes to refocus.
Now that your employees have taken the time to focus on productivity and wasted time, give them space to brainstorm the common work distractions that they face.
They may surprise you with what they know! And they may dedicate themselves to tuning out at least one distraction every day through software, automation, or focus time.
Thursday: Review your time tracking for the month.
We’ve reached the final one-on-one where you connect with each team member to go over how the time tracking went. Did they hit their wins? Did your employees spend enough time on projects/tasks or too much? Did employees hit personal productivity goals? Did your team achieve overall productivity goals?
Address each win and loss, and ways to move forward. Also, celebrate the little (big?) wins like time tracking all month!
Friday: Do a 5-minute guided team walking meeting.
Only 23% of companies think they promote work-life balance in their organization. Implementing a 5-minute guided team walking meeting can show that you actually do!
With almost a full 30-days of productivity tracking done, you can celebrate! Have a team walking meeting to the nearest coffee shop to celebrate!
Sat/Sun: Focusing on a new hobby at home and family activities.
Above 190 billion is spent each year to address the physical and psychological effects of burnout. There is a huge business use case to encourage relaxing from stress at work!
On the last weekend of the productivity challenge, let your employees unwind and relax. This should be a great time for reflection on the success of the office challenge.
Benefits of a 30-Day Office Productivity Challenge
There are clear benefits to a 30-day office productivity challenge:
- Better time management skills
- More organization for remote work teams
- More time and space to explore productivity tools
- A real chance to make productivity gains in a short amount of time
- A team re-assessment to focus on productivity (realistically), both as a team and individually
- Time dedicated to daily tasks and removing a potentially bad habit from the workflow
- More productivity tips, like the Pomodoro technique for example, for your team to learn
- Focus for just 30 days on simple tasks (rather than big lofty goals)
- Building more intrinsic motivation
- Better team morale and company culture
- Assess true maximum productivity levels by day, month, team, and individual
Reach out to SoftActivity for the activity monitoring software that you need to excel at this 30-day office productivity challenge!