January of every year is mostly about planning for a new quarter and setting directions for your team(s), if you’ve not done that already.
We’ve talked about 4 things to keep in mind when planning for the first quarter of the new year. But, what about your budget?
After all, choose to spend wisely and you can get even more in return!
3 ways to spend your 2017 budget
We checked in with three of our agile coaches at Tempo–Óli, Pétur, and Þórður–and here are some suggestions on how you can spend your budget wisely to make the most out of it and to bring out the best in your teams:
#1: Invest in improving your work environment
Our work environment is a huge contributing factor towards our productivity. Is it conducive, encouraging, and collaborative? Or is it the other way around?
Let’s take an open office as an example. While there are those of us who strive and enjoy working in open offices due to its dynamics, an open office can also be a nightmare to some with all the distractions that come with it.
That is just one of the many examples that can come into play when creating the ideal work environment. Needless to say, there are pros and cons to having an open office plan. Maybe your office space isn’t the issue, but your team members are feeling overworked. What can you do about it?
Here is an example of a vanishing office after 6 p.m. (start at 1:28 of the video):
When team members are not given the means to improve their working conditions, a lower productivity is bound to happen.
Some questions to ponder upon in creating the ideal work environment:
- Are your team members too stressed out?
- Are your team members overworked?
- Want to give your team members more work flexibility?
- How do you overcome all of the above?
Simple solutions could be as such:
- Setting up isolated pairing stations for each team to allow easy collaboration.
- Have designated "quiet" rooms for meditation and contemplation, or even to take a phone call.
- Fixing work environment with proper tools such as time tracking tools, so members can design their own work day accordingly.
All in all, it is never a bad idea to invest in improving your work environment to allow teams to focus on improving their working conditions in order to increase productivity.
Afterall, they might finally get around to finishing tasks that needed to be done but was challenging to do so before!
#2 Invest in learning
Learning should always be a continuous effort. The more we learn, the more we bring to the table. We’ve covered this in our last piece on ways to invest your remaining budgets.
One of the best ways to encourage learning is to give each team member an opportunity to find an interesting conference or seminar that they really want to attend and send them there.
See an early bird ticket to a conference, seminar, or a course in 2017 that you really want to attend? Now is the time to book it! [/callout]
#3 Invest in team building
In addition to point #1 and #2, team building efforts are essential to ensure team productivity.
[tweetme] Teams should be given enough time to reflect on their work for improvements.[/tweetme]
It is important that they have their own space to spend time looking at the future and figuring out where they want to go as a team–a collective effort. Therefore, some time and money would be well spent in having an off-site working session instead of the usual office environment.
Otherwise, it is also a good idea to set aside some amount for team dinners or team activities where team members are given the opportunity to interact outside of work. You can always use the help of external sources, or even tools, to plan your team building activities.
Read more: The Other Benefits of Productivity Tools.
Without strong teams, nothing else matters
So said agile guru, Nicholas Muldoon (Read more about it here).
Strong teams and effective tools complement each other in achieving magnificent results. Therefore, it is always worth looking into ways to invest your 2017 budgets in strengthening your teams!