Improving productivity is a crucial goal for every business.
Working efficiently cuts down on waste, which often means bigger profits.
Productivity, however, is not just a matter of working faster or doing more with less. It’s about creating a workplace environment that inspires, motivates and empowers employees to do their best work.
Here are five ways to increase productivity in your workplace:
1. Keep technology up to date and in good repair.
Do you have a copier that’s always breaking? Does your company use a program that desperately needs to be updated? Are your computers ancient and slow? Do you rely on an app or website that’s not user friendly?
When employees spend time fighting with finicky technology, tasks take longer. Stopping to fight with a printer or waiting for a computer to load means lost time during that specific task, but it also takes a substantial toll on workers—not to mention potential customers.
Beyond sapping productivity, substandard technology affects recruiting, retention and employee engagement. If you wait until things break, or if you skimp on technology upgrades, chances are your best employees will find a company that appreciates the importance of seamless, hassle-free tech.
2. Accommodate different working styles.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a company that doesn’t want more “productivity.” Unfortunately, most have faulty ideas about how to make it happen.
Many offices still use separate, uniform cubicles, where each employee has an individual but identical workspace. Some companies allow employees to personalize their cubicles. Others have open floorplans to facilitate collaboration and conversation.
The problem is that each of these workspaces either accommodates or alienates certain types of people. Some employees thrive in social spaces, while others require peace and quiet.
The best workplaces offer solutions for all types of employees. Let introverts have their own space. Encourage those who crave collaboration to sit together. Build an office environment that caters to all personality types.
Keep in mind that forced interaction at work rarely produces positive results.
3. Reasonable, flexible time-off policies.
Every flu season, businesses tell employees to stay home if they’re sick—but then they create leave policies that don’t allow those employees to do so.
Either way, sick days represent lost productivity.
Having reasonable flex time in your company—letting employees work from home or allowing them to make up hours during the week—helps reduce lost productivity.
Flexible hours are often rated the most important work perk, so try your best to be generous in this regard.
4. Offer training opportunities.
Training employees for the tasks at hand is a crucial cog of maintaining productivity, but there’s a different type of training opportunity that shouldn’t be neglected.
Employees today tend to change jobs (and careers) multiple times throughout their lives. They want to grow, develop and learn new skills that will help them advance. Most want to be challenged. If your employees are doing the same thing, day in and day out, they’re going to get bored. Boredom is the enemy of productivity.
Offering training and professional development opportunities will keep your employees engaged and motivated. Send your team to conferences, spring for helpful classes or tutorials, and encourage your workers to learn something new.
5. Model reasonable work hours.
Preventing burnout is a huge part of managing employee productivity. Employees who put in 90-hour weeks won’t stay productive for long.
Managers can encourage employees to keep their work hours reasonable, but if they’re not doing so, employees might try to keep up with an unreasonable pace.
Building a culture that values quality over quantity starts at the top. If leaders never leave the office, workers might feel pressured to stick around just to be “seen.” That breeds discontent, and it’s a recipe for employee disengagement. Leaders should actively encourage—and model—a healthy work/life balance.
Making sure workers stay productive is essential for any business, but company leaders must actively remove obstacles and barriers that might be keeping employees from being efficient and successful. It takes a true team effort to boost productivity across the board.