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Why Change is Good for Productivity: 5 Steps to Take Today

The importance of change, in our lives and also our work, has been getting some thorough research in recent years and the results are compelling.

It turns out, change isn’t just for fun: it’s a powerful tool for our happiness, and change is good for productivity, too. From big life decisions to workday habits, there’s a lot that can be said for switching it up, according to the social scientists.

In this post, we cover the smaller things that show how good change is for productivity at work, with research that might give you some food for thought on those bigger decisions too.

The Power of Taking a Break

The Pomodoro technique is popular in the productivity community – here’s a guide to finding your go-to Pomodoro timer here. The principle is simple: work for a set chunk of time, take a break, and repeat throughout the day so that you’re able to stay at your peak. Typically, the time spent working happens in 25 minute chunks.

While we’re talking about breaks, what does the research say? The optimum ratio for taking breaks is 52 minutes of work followed by a 17-minute timeout, but even a few minutes, otherwise known as a micro-break, will serve you more than working multiple work hours straight.

A blue-ish white neon sign against an industrial wall reading 'COFFEE BREAK'

Get a Change of Scenery

Stepping outside has been proven as the most effective power-up break of the bunch. Heading out, ideally on the lunch break that you should definitely take, clears the mind and gives your brain something else to focus on. Plus, it gives your eyes a break from looking at screens too.

Change Up Your Environment

Making a modification to your environment is another kind of change that benefits productivity.

Environment changes to consider include:

  • A simple rearranging of your desk, moving around those work essentials that have been in the same spot for months on end
  • When working from home, consider moving your desk or workspace from one location to another, even for a brief span of time.
  • If you’re sharing an office and your co-worker is also in a rut, a desk swap for a day or two might be a fun way to get fresh and even see things from a new perspective
  • As a manager of a team, discuss with your team members whether a rearrange of the office would benefit their workflow in any way.
A woman with orange hair and tattoos working on her laptop in a relaxed coffee shop setting, with her bag and coat next to her. She is smiling at her laptop.

Change Leads to Higher Employee Retention

Least productive of all is seeing your team turnover at a level you’re really not happy with. It’s poor for team happiness and poor for productivity too, given that onboarding new employees can be a lengthy and costly process.

As Australian psychologist Eve Ash puts it, “Some managers fail to recognize the symptoms of change as directly related to proposed or actual changes, such as high staff turnover, conflict, lateness, mistakes, injuries, low morale and lowered productivity.”

Teams feel motivated, engaged, and valuable when they believe there is little to no monotony in what they do. Varying your work gives your team the pull to stay.

And Don’t Forget the Big Picture Change Too

If you’ve not heard about what caused the demise of Blockbuster, the long and the short of it is this: Blockbuster did not want to change. Kodak also went bankrupt when they failed to adapt to digital photography, and countless other businesses have followed suit. Think about all the businesses that went under in 2020 because they didn’t find a methodology or offering that served their customers while their typical practices were unavailable.

You may or may not have the authority to make company-wide decisions, but every team and organization in the world needs to be flexible and open to making changes when the status quo is holding them back. For smaller teams, that might mean switching to a new project management tracking system or investing updates that decimate unnecessary admin time, by using tools like TextExpander.

Takeaways

  • Breaks make a difference. Set a Pomodoro timer, commit to a lunch break, and have your team do the same.
  • Get outside in your working day.
  • Change your environment, whether that’s rejigging your desk, moving work spots at home, a desk swap, or rearranging your team’s office completely.
  • Changing up how your team works is important for team morale too, as employees stay at jobs longer when they feel there is less monotony in what they do.
  • Make bigger changes too, whether that’s a change in your offering or an upgrade to your productivity tools.

Change is needed, transformative, and productive – so we’d recommend that you start thinking about how you can transform your work today.

If you’re ready for more productivity tips for the workplace, start here:

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