Category Archives: Blog

Smartworks Journey Milestones

As the year draws to an end and Smartworks embarks on its third successful year, we would like to reflect on our growth and thank you for your support. We, at Smartworks, strive to deliver an office experience par excellence and redefine workspaces in India.

All this has only been possible because of the Smartworks family, which includes you and us. For us, our community comes first! You come first! We will continue to stretch ourselves to ensure that your experience remains impeccable.

At the onset, we would like to thank you for your relentless support and the unconditional love you have shown us all through the year, which has resulted in Smartworks becoming one of the most renowned coworking spaces in India. Smartworks stands where it does today because of you. We would like you to continue to grow with us!

Smartworks started as our dream of transforming the way traditional offices work in India and has grown into one of the largest agile workspaces in India as of today.

We drew inspiration from futuristic workspaces and community-driven employee culture across the world to create Smartworks. Our ambition is to create a way of life for employees to be productive and efficient at their workspaces.

Founded in April 2016, with a motto of ‘Workspaces that work for you’, in a short span of two years, Smartworks has grown exponentially and has established a footprint of 2 million sq. ft across 18 locations in 9 cities (Delhi NCR, Kolkata, Bangalore, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai and Pune), catering to more than 300 clients across large enterprises, SMEs, startups.

Our community is mostly enterprise focused with more than 75% of our members belonging to the enterprise community. Our member base has shown robust growth, with a total of 13000+ members and 300+ organizations sitting out of our centers. Our clients span across sectors like IT, manufacturing, telecom, healthcare to startups. Some names include Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, Tata Consultancy Services, Bacardi, DHL, Jaguar Land Rover, Episource, Deluxe (Fox Star Studio), Play Games 24*7 among others. We house 52% branch offices, 33% of headquarters and 4% regional offices at Smartworks offices; Increased the member count by 300% and added more than 10,000 new workstations; Grew by 2.7X in sq. ft presence across 9 cities, 18 centers and reached 2 mn sq. ft; Incedo Pune expanded with us in Chennai & Bangalore.

Some of our differentiators include –

  • Creating spaces that go beyond just being an office space
  • Configurable office spaces created as per the specifications of member companies
  • Creating vibrant communities at the workplace through a mix of state of the art real-estate, interiors, technology and hospitality
  • Integrates latest office technologies and industry-first value-added services to deliver a “wow” office experience to its members
  • Focused on building productivity amongst those who work at the facilities
  • We also happen to be the only profitable coworking space in India
  • Productivity lies at the core of what Smartworks does

 

Growth & Initiatives

  • At Smartworks, we offer more than just an office space. We combine top-notch real-estate design, technology and hospitality to create vibrant communities at your workplace
  • In the next year, Smartworks is bullish and is targetting 3 million square feet of managed office space across Tier-1 and Tier-2 cities, over the next three years
  • Our internal team grew by 30%
  • Partnered with various organisation from the likes of Niti Aayog, Lean In India, NASSCOM 10k Startups, Headstart, Network Capital
  • Total no. of coverage of 350+ garnered with 45 print coverages and over 40+ online links over media with tier 1 publications like Deccan Chronicle, Times of India, Business Standard, The Economic Times, Business Today, The Hindu, Inc.42, New Indian Express, and Mint to name a few
  • Turned our offices smarter by deploying Mitra robot at our GTP centre to enhance our member experience

 

Our friends from the media love us-

coworking

Solving the Snag with Smartworks: High Rent

Coworking has exploded globally over the past couple of years. Recent statistics show that there are currently 1.69 million people working in coworking spaces worldwide. A whopping 33% increase from 2017 is a clear indicator of a coworking becoming ‘the place’ to thrive. With the largest coworking companies securing several million dollars in funding and new players entering the market, there have been a host of options for decision-makers to choose from.

However, the number of desks taken by a majority of independent firms haven’t been massive. According to recent statistics, 52% occupy a mere 0-50 desks each. The question is why? There is a common understanding that coworking spaces are mostly dominated by either a startup with a handful of employees or self-employed and freelancing professionals with a lack of large corporations. On the contrary, there has been a surge in the occupancy rates of both the categories yet the stark difference between them is the ‘price’. Every business has different needs and operates on different costs, so a higher price per desk may not be suitable for everyone. That said, coworking spaces aren’t pricey unless one opts for the fancier spaces. Most coworking spaces offer a myriad of facilities, albeit the ‘fancy’ ones offer some extravagant amenities which is why they come with a hefty price tag. Most of the time, such luxury is a tad bit unnecessary. It might suit one business but can be completely redundant for the other. So, before zeroing in on a workspace, one must differentiate between the needs of its members and business. Regardless of a startup with employees or a self-employed individual, there are coworking spaces that fit every budget and need.

At Smartworks, we offer select plans that include expanded bandwidth and dedicated private offers that attract all types of clientele to space. With fully-customisable workspaces, one can choose what goes into their bill without compromising on any of the facilities. From a smart suite, a nonintrusive office space that shadows your business’ ethos, to a smart cube, a space with the best of both worlds- private, with the benefits of networking as well. There is an option to suit every need. Moreover, regular interactive events, a free-flow of roasted coffee and an easy vibe at the cafeteria offer a much-needed breather from mundane work. Most importantly, we believe in the power of coworking spaces and want to provide the best experience to startups and large firms alike. Our aim is to help companies thrive off the productive energy of such spaces and focus only on scaling their business.

 

coworking

Solving the Snag with Smartworks: Vibe ain’t right!

Are the daily tasks lists and meetings the only reasons for your gloomy mood and fatigue? While most of us unconsciously blame it on the certain external factors, we miss the most important one- the vibe of your workplace.

The vibe of any place has the power to set the mood for the day, and this holds true for coworking spaces as well. Depending on who or what is using the space, a coworking space can go from utter chaos one day to being as quiet as a library the next.

Even at a regular office space ‘work’ becomes a convenient scapegoat. However, the real culprit is the disapproving vibe existing in the air around you. The inexplicable nagging and constant pessimism have become quite prevalent in most workplaces. At a coworking space, the intensity of such a vibe tends to increase due to the variety of companies working there. Every firm working in the vicinity will have their good and bad days which most likely won’t be in sync with yours. While most days would be spent in harmony, there will be others where this ‘vibe’ might float over to your side.

Fret not, at Smartworks; we believe the vibe at a coworking space can only be what you make of it. And it can be so much more than just another place to get work done. The potential for productive networking within a coworking space is one of the significant advantages. Interacting with individuals beyond your colleagues can be therapeutic of sorts. When done right, this networking can be low-key and feel as productive as a brainstorming session with colleagues.

That said, there needs to be just the right amount of interaction and privacy. At Smartworks, we provide fully-customisable workspaces to suit your business and employees needs. From a smart suite, a non intrusive office space that shadows your business’ ethos, to a smart cube, a space with the best of both worlds- private, with the benefits of networking as well. There is an option to suit every need. Moreover, regular interactive events act as an ice-breaker between firms. It not only provides a much-needed breather from mundane work but also presents an excellent opportunity for healthy networking.

Lastly, the coworking mentality is one of openness. We believe in nurturing a supportive community where one shares knowledge that can not only help a co-worker but also lead to future gains. We also believe in creating a harmonious environment where all our members can thrive in good energy.

coworking spaces

Bursting 5 misconceptions around coworking spaces

Over the last few years, professionals across the globe have been ditching traditional office spaces in favour of coworking, but some professionals are skeptical of the shift as this movement disrupts long-held business norms. People often think coworking spaces are too distracting, only for startups, or just a glorified term for any other office space.

While many coworking spaces do have a casual vibe, they are definitely much more ‘work’ than play. So, today, let’s debunk some of the most common coworking myths once and for all!  

Misconception: “Coworking spaces are not for big enterprises.”

Truth: While coworking facilities are great for startups as they cut overhead costs, startups are not their primary users. Gone are the days when the majority of occupants at coworking spaces were startups or small enterprises. With affordable prices, a dynamic environment and ease in transitions (staffing, location, and renovations) many large enterprises are looking towards coworking spaces as a solution. Even Smartworks, in addition to several budding businesses, is home to conglomerates including Jaguar, and Amazon India.  

Misconception: “Our business has a fully-functional office, so a coworking space isn’t suitable for the company.”

Truth: Traditional office spaces are a comfort zone for a majority of businesses, which is why coworking spaces become an uncharted territory for them.

But the perception is slowly changing with professionals believing in a change of scenery. Companies are today using co-working spaces for a variety of tasks, example, hosting business meetings with visiting clients, providing workspace solution for short-term employees or renting the space during expansion of the business.

Also Read: Fun Things That You Can Do in a Coworking Space

Misconception: “ Coworking spaces will only work for my business if I were a solo entrepreneur.”

Truth: Another name for a coworking space is “flexible space.” The coworking model is flexible and works for businesses of all sizes, be it independent workers, small businesses or satellite locations for larger corporations. According to an industry report by JLL, “Workspace, Reworked: Ride the Wave of Tech-Driven Change,” flexible workspaces will comprise up to 30 percent of corporate real estate portfolios by 2030. Which means coworking spaces will not only work for solo entrepreneurs but also provide an excellent setting for all size of enterprises looking to combat isolation and to thrive in a productive environment.

Misconception: “ Coworking spaces are an extrovert-friendly arena.”

Truth: People often think of coworking spaces as offices with a  bunch of hipster programmers working on their start-ups, walking in and out with their pets, usually wearing pajamas. That’s really not true. A coworking facility does not confine to a set layout, every space is different, and some are designed to facilitate socialisation more than others. While some spaces offer open office space, others provide private offices.

These spaces include both common areas as well as spaces for independent work. Therefore, professionals get to choose the extent of socialisation and can strike a balance between mixing and personal autonomy. This benefit offers space for personal expression and creativity, making coworking professionals thrive.

Misconception: “Coworking spaces means people who share a job.”

Truth: This is one of the most common misconceptions about a coworking space. People tend to assume that only similar businesses and jobs share a coworking space. Getting different professionals to work together is not always the purpose of a coworking space instead a coworking environment often has professionals working on various projects or even in different industries.

What sets coworking spaces apart, is the rapport that coworkers working in different industries build, as their work relationships grow. Such camaraderie allows for a transfer of knowledge across industry lines which has the potential to bring insights and innovation to disparate fields.

Coworking is a unique business model which has something for every business. So, if you’re on a hunt for the most productive and profitable environment for your business, consider coworking.

 

Women Entrepreneurs

7 Inspirational Quotes from Women Entrepreneurs to Inspire you Instantly

Beyonce said it best when she sang, “Who run the world? Girls.”

Gone are the days when women were seen in pre-defined roles in a male-dominated society. The women today, across the globe, are not only vocalizing the issues that were for long brushed under the carpet, but are increasingly taking and nailing the top-ranking roles across the spectrum.

As India recently dedicated the nine auspicious days of Durga Puja to celebrate the power of women, we feature seven incredibly inspiring quotes from iconic women entrepreneurs and trailblazers to motivate every single woman to strive for their goals.

Indra Nooyi, CEO, PepsiCo  

Indra Nooyi defied the stereotypes of gender and race to become the CEO of the world’s second largest food & beverage company, PepsiCo. She is a living example of what can be achieved through determination!  

Estee Lauder, Entrepreneur

Being one of the most successful business owners, Estee Lauder was one of the richest, self-made women entrepreneurs in America. She believed in the products she created and that was the single most important reason for her roaring success.  

Oprah Winfrey, Entrepreneur, Producer and Philanthropist

An American media mogul, TV host, actress, producer, and philanthropist, Oprah Winfrey’s story is beyond rags-to-riches journey. She believed in herself and worked hard to turn her dreams into reality, without letting anyone define her.

Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO, Author

An entrepreneur and a successful author, Sandberg is someone who has made successful transitions from Washington to Wall Street. Her growth to one of the most well known startups of the world shows that anyone can turn things around- all you need is a much-needed second chance.

Kiran Majumdar Shaw,  Founder Chairperson and Managing Director (CMD) of Biocon Limited

Voted twice by Forbes as one of the most powerful women in the world, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw is one of India’s most successful female icons. She made her name in the gender-biased industry by sheer grit, ideas and vision. Under her guidance, Biocon became the second Indian company to cross the $1-billion mark on the first day of listing by closing with a market value of $1.11 billion.  

Indu Jain, Chairperson of Times Group

Indu Jain, with her knowledge, experience, vision and hard work, made the Times Group one of the largest media industries. Her work has shown not only the nation but the whole world that a woman can make her story unique and powerful by herself and she doesn’t need to sacrifice anything to do that.

Chanda Kochhar, Former MD and chief executive officer of ICICI Bank

Considered by many as a transformative figure, Chanda’s leadership approach was questioned by many industry leaders, but it never bothered her. Even as the world is just coming to terms with women leadership, women entrepreneurs like Chanda help eliminate archaic beliefs and nuances about women in leadership.

workspaces

5 characteristics that make good workspaces GREAT

Times are changing fast. Workspaces that people yearned for, expected and cared about a few years ago are so different than today. The first priority for founders and managers today is to create an environment where the work is both exciting and challenging. A place where careers blossom and the bottom line thrives.

So what are the essential values and behaviours that every organization must follow to thrive in the future? What can an organization do to ensure that a workspace is a place where employees want to be and not have to be? Focus on creating a workspace that goes way beyond choosing nice decor or comfy chairs.

In this article, we’ve enlisted five essential characteristics of a workplace that attracts and motivates people to come to work everyday.   

Authentic leadership

The success of any great workspace arguably hinges on great leaders. From executives down to front-line managers, authentic leaders demonstrate respect, credibility and fairness to employees and the organization.

These leaders consistently present a clear vision for their company and increase trust every time they listen carefully to employees and live up to their word. So start by identifying, hiring and promoting leaders who cultivate strong bonds with their teams, connect everyone to the mission of the organization, and spotlight team members’ successes.

Also Read: 5 Must Read Books For Entrepreneurs Recommended By Billionaires like Steve Jobs

Clear purpose

A great workplace, or any workplace for that matter, has a clear and specific purpose for existing which is captured and ingrained in every action or decision a company takes. A 2014 study by Deloitte found that an organization that focuses on ‘purpose’ is an organization that inspires higher levels of confidence among stakeholders and one that boosts growth. Similarly, a 2010 Burson-Marsteller/IMD Corporate Purpose Impact study found that a strong and well-communicated corporate purpose can contribute up to 17 percent improvement in financial performance.

So make sure that your organization has a clear purpose in place. Your employees should have a clear understanding of this purpose and must be enlightened by leaders as to how their roles help to achieve the company’s purpose.

Equal opportunities

The cardinal rule of a great workspace is maximizing its human potential. When all employees are at their best at work, it’s better for businesses, better for people and better for the world.   

Create a culture that allows every employee to be innovative and contribute in their own capacity. Even Apple’s Steve Jobs firmly believed companies that want to retain great employees have to let them make decisions. IBM in 2006 invited 150,000 employees, family members, business partners and clients to an online brainstorming session called an ‘Innovation Jam.’ Participants from 104 countries responded, and their ideas led to $100 million in investments by IBM on suggested projects.

Diversity & inclusion  

With the millennial generation entering and representing the significant segment of the workforce, the expectations are changing. Workforce, today, expects their employers to create inclusive spaces around gender, race and even sexual orientation. They look forward to open and candid communication where everyone should be able to voice their perspective respectfully.  

Therefore, companies should take note and add multigenerational positions within the organization where inputs from anyone and everyone are appreciated.

Workspaces that WOW you

Employees today don’t need a lavish multi-story office to feel more productive. Design working environments that are safe, comfortable and hassle-free. Ideal workspaces are those where people feel free to move around, don’t  feel tied to their desks, and create more opportunities for creative collaboration.

That’s where co-working spaces like ours come into play. Make a switch today to spaces that allow for privacy, collaboration, and networking.

books-for-entrepreneurs

5 Must Read Books For Entrepreneurs Recommended By Billionaires

We recently published a few articles on how billionaires across the globe stay productive through the day and what all aspiring founders and working professionals can learn from them. When studying the habits of these successful people, we came across one thing they all had in common: They are well read.

Successful entrepreneurs are at their best when they squeeze in some meaningful time to read in their busy schedule. Sure you can’t read 50 books a year as Bill Gates does, but you can certainly grab a copy of any book from this handpicked list, recommended by successful people before the year ends.

These books have just the right balance of facts and stories, inspiration and actions that will make you look at things with a new-found perspective.     

Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras

Recommended by: Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Naukri’s Founder Sanjeev Bikhchandani

Bezos once said in an interview that he usually buys around ten books a month.  Aside from sci-fi novels, one of the entrepreneurial books which soon became his favourite was ‘Built to Last’ by Jim Collins. Similarly, for Bikhchandani, CEO of India’s largest job portal site, Naukri.com, Built to Last has been an inspiration to create the business he has today.    

The New York Times bestseller, Built to Last, is filled with hundreds of real-life examples and frameworks to help entrepreneurs of all levels build a prosperous organisation. The authors draw upon a six-year research project examining the common practices of the most outstanding companies such as Hewlett-Packard, 3M, Motorola, Procter & Gamble, Merck, Nordstrom, Sony, Disney, Marriott, and Walmart.

It must be worth a read if it helped Bezos become one of the richest people in the world!

Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel

Recommended by: Tesla’s Elon Musk

Authored by PayPal’s co-founder, Zero to one is THE book for entrepreneurs, innovators and doers.  

The book explores how companies can better predict the future and take action to ensure that their startup is a success. It forces the aspiring entrepreneurs to think ‘what valuable company is no one building’ and if the company they are thinking of will show a diminishing rate of return or higher rate of returns.

The book also has four interesting rules that are common in every ‘zero to one’ idea.  In Musk’s words, “Peter Thiel has built multiple breakthrough companies, and ‘Zero to One’ shows how!”

Business Adventures by John Brooks

Recommended by: Bill Gates, Warren Buffet

When Bill Gates first met Warren Buffet, he asked for a business book recommendation. Without a doubt, Buffet recommended his favourite book, “Business Adventures,” by John Brooks.

Compiled in 1962, the book has used 12 stories from the world of wall street to describe the success and failures of businesses during that era, which stands true even today. Unlike various business books, you won’t find any listicles in Brook’s book. The book consists of long articles that frame an issue, explore it in depth, introduce a few compelling characters, and show how things went for them.  

Although the 12 tales date back to the early days of wall street, it remains to be the best books for entrepreneurs as the rules for running a strong business and creating value haven’t changed much at all.

Autobiography of Yogi by Hindu guru Paramahansa Yogananda

Recommended by: Apple’s Steve Jobs, Games2Win’s Alok Kejriwal

During Steve Jobs memorial service in October 2011, each attendee received a brown box as a farewell gift. Inside the box was a copy of “Autobiography of a Yogi” by Hindu guru Paramahansa Yogananda.

This acclaimed autobiography presents a fascinating portrait of one of the great spiritual figures of our time. The book is a beautifully written account of an exceptional life and a profound introduction to the ancient science of Yoga and its time-honoured tradition of meditation.

Instead of business, numbers and profits, the book emphasises the importance of ‘Self-realization.’ Translated into more than twenty languages, it’s a modern spiritual classic and must-read book for entrepreneurs who deal with stress, confusion and aloofness on a daily basis.  

Gandhi: An Autobiography by Mohandas Karamchand (Mahatma) Gandhi

Recommended by: Apple’s Tim Cook, Former USA President Barack Obama

First published in instalments in the late 1920s, the book recounts the life of Mahatma Gandhi, as well as how he developed the concept of civil disobedience.

While for Obama this book is his most famous forever favourites, Cook got interested in the book when he visited a museum during his trip to India.

According to Cook, this book has helped him to grow Apple’s business. Another business executive who’s a fan of Gandhi’s autobiography is Siemens India CEO, Sunil Mathur. Mathur said that the book had inspired him “to run a value-based business that is sustainable.”

No matter how crazy the schedule, one can always find time to delve into the depths of a good book.  Do drop in a comment here after you read any one of these. Or just tell us about any book that has had the most profound effect on your thinking.  

Happy reading!

productive

Are you the last one to leave the office? Here’s how to STOP it!

Don’t worry! You’re not alone. It’s a challenge that every working professional faces: getting out the office door on time. While some get caught in an email trap, clicking away at their computers and firing off emails way past dinner time, others linger till late, to appear committed to their jobs.

Just like the discussion around work-life balance, working late has also become the norm. But the art of ‘leaving’ on time doesn’t happen by just talking about it. It starts way before the workday does and there has to be a psychological commitment to departure time and a plan to make it happen.

Read: 4 Productivity Hacks By 4 Billionaires

In this blog, we give you that plan and steps to execute it:    

Harness the skills of time management

A study conducted by the Harvard Business Review found that working more than 40 hours a week could make professionals less productive, put them at risk of making mistakes, and create the appearance of poor time-management skills. So let’s start by understanding the cardinal rule- Your set hours are your set hours for a reason, whether you are an employee or a manager.

You need to accommodate and complete all the crucial things in the given hours. Period. Finish everything within the stipulated time, and if your current setup isn’t working for you, change it.  You also need to stop focusing on one day or one week and start planning for long-term goals.

Predict and preempt the things that will take most of your hours and start working on them backwards. There could even be days where you can’t complete everything you have planned, and that’s ok.

Work is a never-ending process, and you should stop trying to get everything done in a day.   

Find the leaks

There can be multiple things that might be slowing you down during office hours. It could be chatty colleagues, noisy office spaces, lack of pre-defined work expectations, urge to take too many short breaks, unnecessary meetings and so on. Take a step back and consider your priorities. What’s the ‘true north’ towards which you’re working? If you know that these frequent workplace distractions are halting you from reaching your goals, then it’s time to stop.

Cut down on your unnecessary chit-chat breaks, find a space where you can work peacefully without any distraction, get yourself taken off from the meetings and discussion that don’t concern you. Identify these leaks and fix them before they become a part of your schedule.  

Discover the magic formula

We all have some days that are particularly productive. It could be Mondays, Fridays or just in the middle of the week. Identify these days and find those elements that made that day or days so good. Discover a pattern and try to replicate them as much as you can!  

Walk the talk

No matter what stage of your career you are in, try and walk the talk. More often than not, we see managers saying, “We don’t want our employees and people to work past 6 or 7.” But then you get an email from them at midnight.

As a manager or a senior at any level, you need to give your team permission to live the life that you want to live and expect the same of yourself as you do of them. Lead with an example and build a culture that gives them a real chance to walk out before dark, regardless of workload.  

Switch to spaces that work for you!

Whether you are a manager, founder, or an employee, you’ll agree that a place where you work, hold meetings, ideate and celebrate all the wins and some losses, play a crucial role in shaping your day and work. If you spend almost half of your day figuring out why the internet is not working or how to get a projector fixed, then you’re probably in a wrong place. A workspace should help you work better and not the opposite.

For all those who are scrambling to find this elusive work-life balance, experience our office spaces for a day for free. We believe in doing less, to do more!  

4 unusual productivity hacks by 4 billionaires

Besides their astronomical net worth, what do Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett have in common? Some traits, habits, actions and hacks that have helped them become the success they are today.  

At times, your work life can get overwhelming. You have a thousand things to do: client meeting, internal reviews, sales and target presentations, etc., but what makes a real difference is how effectively you manage everything and succeed.

Although our last few blogs have focused on productivity hacks for office, home and managers, this particular  blog features the unusual productivity hacks of four billionaires that can transform the way you work.    

Sack the sit-down meetings

Let’s start by stating the obvious- Meetings waste a lot of time. Agendas get forgotten, topics go amiss, and people get distracted. Barring few circumstances, a normal meeting on a single topic or client shouldn’t last for more than 5-10 minutes. That’s precisely why the Virgin Group founder, Richard Branson prefers walking meetings.  

Richard feels that decisions get made pretty quickly if you stand up or walk during the meetings. Of course, you can’t walk around in a meeting that involves ten members, but you can stand, huddle and get the ball rolling. It’s also a great way to fit in a bit of exercise and stay focused on a busy day.  

Focus on ‘signal over nose’

As the CEO of three companies — Tesla, SpaceX, and Neuralink — Elon Musk has a lot of things to stay on top of things on a day to day basis. As per several reports, Musk’s jam-packed schedule often sees him darting back and forth between SpaceX’s LA headquarters and Tesla’s base in the Bay Area.

That’s why he starts his day with his most critical work, or in his own terms, things that send “signal over nose”. For Musk, this means dealing with essential emails that he needs to address in order to unblock other people’s work and progress.

In addition to this, he also breaks his entire day into a series of five-minute slots, even eating his lunch in five minutes or less, usually during a meeting.

While dividing a day into five-minute slots might look difficult to execute, you can identify your most critical work and start your day by completing that.   

Fit in ‘do nothing’ time

Sometimes being too busy can get in the way of doing a business or a job well. How many of you reach a point in a day where you feel that your day is so packed with back-to-back meetings that there’s barely any time left to process what’s going on around you or just think? Almost everyday, right? But fret not, even the most successful people in the world face the same issue.   

Which is why, Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn, schedules “do nothing” time on his calendar. In fact, leaving gaps in his schedule is the “single most important productivity tool” he uses.

He creates 90 minutes and two hours buffers in his day where he keeps no meetings, no calls and no one can even disturb him during this time. This blank gray slot on his calendar gives him enough time to think and do his job well.

So, no matter how busy you are, try adding these buffers in your day. Use that buffer time to think big, catch up on the latest industry news, read things you were saving in your phone or iPad, or just take a walk. After all, there’s a big difference between being productive and being busy!

Seek negative feedback

As unusual as it sounds, incorporating and accepting negative feedback is an important part of Elon Musk’s work ethic.  

As per Musk, seeking negative feedback might be hurtful at first, but you normally end up getting a lot more out of it.

All you have to do is gather your team and solicit feedback about a particular product, feature, management style, business process, or anything that you are currently trying to improve. Ask them to give their honest feedback and make an effort to apply it.  

You can do the same exercise with your friends and family too. And while the negative feedback may be wrong, you know they are simply trying to help you, and it’s all in good spirit!

So, the next time you find yourself chronically short on time, try giving these five proven productivity hacks a try. You can even come up with a few experiments on your own. It may take some time to find the perfect formula, but the more you optimize your work schedule, the more productive and satisfied you’re going to be!

What managers can do to boost employee productivity

Chapter 4: What managers can do to boost employee productivity

Improving employee productivity is like an overdue file that keeps making its presence felt at the manager’s desk. No matter how hard they try, there is always a clause or a page that remains incomplete.

Managers across every domain face similar problems when it comes to increasing employee productivity. There are reports that say employee productivity has grown by .3% a year over five years, from 2011 to 2016. The slim growth reveals that something needs to be done right by the firms and of course managers to get better at employee productivity.

There are a lot of tricks in the book but rummaging through them can be pretty time consuming and at times futile. To make every manager’s life easier and make every firm prosper, here are four practical ways to live by if you want to be a better leader at work and inspire your employees every day at the office:

Incentives: ‘one’ for ‘all’, not ‘all’ for ‘one’

One of the best ways to encourage employees to be more efficient is actually to give them a reason to do so. Recognizing your people for a job done well will not only make them feel appreciated, but also encourage them to continue increasing their productivity.

But there’s a natural tendency for management to focus most heavily on senior-level economic incentives. While this is understandable, it’s best not to neglect substantive incentives for lower-level employees.  

While some may argue that it can be a costly affair, experts say that a carefully structured program with clearly defined revenue and/or earnings targets can work like a charm, both for an employee and manager.

Say it when you mean it and mean it when you say it OR Communicate Richly

Meaningful feedback is a foundational management skill that can have a significant impact on an employee’s productivity. Undeniably, feedback should not always be positive rather it should be encouraging. Managers and employees communicating effectively about the problems and improvements will create a holistic environment to work.

So, providing constructive feedback on a regular basis, be it encouragement for a job well done or advice on a presentation gone awry, will make a massive difference to the productivity of a firm.

Value. Support. Recognize. (VSR)

Three words that can’t be stressed enough. It’s essential that every manager understands and abides by these words in their tenure.

A manager’s support in times of need won’t be forgotten. In fact, it builds employee goodwill and loyalty. A situation where an employee is valued and recognised for their work can have a positive impact on them as compared to the contrary situation.

That’s not saying that unwarranted praises will do the trick. Recognition at the right time (say for getting a client onboard) is often a more powerful motivator than money. Value your employees, support them during rough times and recognise their hard work and achievements.

Make yourself a priority

Yes, you read that right. The best investment you will ever make as a manager is in yourself. In fact, this is a move that will put the aforementioned points into action.  

Get enough sleep, use your time wisely and always surround yourself with people who share your values and push you to achieve. By doing things that will make you a better leader or a person will let you have more time to tend to the needs of your employees.

So, to say that increasing productivity of a firm is just in the hands of a few individuals is incorrect. It’s an amalgamation of effort by everyone who is a part of the firm.

To know more about increasing the productivity of your firm, check out the previous chapters and get an insight on how highly productive and engaged employees can change the course of a company’s success.