Employee productivity is necessary to keep your company thriving. If productivity is halted, so too will operations. If you notice internal projects aren’t be completed at a reasonable pace, or observe that your team isn’t motivated enough to properly reach milestones and deadlines, it’s probably time to restructure the way manage operations. For instance, if you were a broker and wanted to build the best real estate websites, you’d need your staff to be as efficient as possible, and part of being productive is ensuring workplace happiness.
It’s not uncommon for the businesses of today to have 40-hour work weeks–but how much of that time is actually spent being productive?
There are several things you can do to increase productivity
Shuffle The Routine
If your staff is working on the same tasks each week, it can be easy for them to succumb to burnout. You can alleviate this by switching up their routine from time to time.
Begin by having a 1:1 meeting with them to learn more about their long-term interests, as well as their hobbies. For instance, perhaps a member of your sales team is a great writer, and wants to try their hand at penning a blog post. Give employees the chance to have some flexibility with their tasks, which can make them feel more valued and make their days feel less robotic and monotonous.
The project management application Evernote does a great job of achieving this. Their Officer Training program allows staff to sign up to attend two extra meetings per month in any department. For example, a member of the marketing team would be allowed to sit in on a coding/development meeting to learn more about what it takes to build the product on the backend.
Programs like the aforementioned allow your team to gain insight about how other parts of the business are operating to form a whole, and to gain more interest in what it takes to run a business and meet set goals.
Don’t Micromanage Your Staff
There’s a fine line between managing your team and micromanaging them. Micromanaging can be much more hurtful than helpful, and it can definitely have a negative impact on your staff’s productivity. Furthermore, when management micromanages their teams, it inadvertently encourages other managers and supervisors to follow their lead. This permeates the culture and can create a toxic environment.
When micromanaging occurs, it can create a slew of issues. Among them include:
- Your staff’s inability to make even the most basic decisions on their own
- Can lead to high employee turnover
- Results in low company morale
- Has a negative impact on workplace relationships, particularly between staff and management
Micromanaging creates a vicious cycle of poor work and behavior. When managers observe and hover over their staff too frequently, those employees can become nervous and fearful, resulting in poor performance. And when the staff performs poorly, managers hover even more. Give your staff some freedom and space to perform to their full capacity.
Instill More Autonomy
During an interview with Hubspot, productivity expert Robby Slaughter explained how the most effective tool for increasing productivity is for managers to give their employees freedom.
“The best way to encourage productivity is to encourage individuals to take ownership over how they manage their own time and resources,” says Slaughter. “This is a wonderfully self-correcting process: we want people who are self-starters and are able to operate independently. Granting workers freedom over when, how, and where they work creates proof of their work ethic in a way that trying to control them cannot.”
As previously mentioned, freedom in the workplace can go a long way. It’s important that management trust their employees to do their jobs, and there’s no better way to demonstrate this than by instilling additional autonomy. Studies have shown that overall autonomy provides better results in the workplace. In fact, one study even found that employees are more motivated by autonomy than they are by financial rewards.
Reward Good Results
A little recognition goes a long way. You should be working towards rewarding your employees for a job well done. And there are many different ways to reward your staff: you can offer monetary bonuses, deliver gifts during meetings, and even just acknowledge their hard work in front of others, as well as in private. Words of encouragement can be equally as effective. By rewarding them, you motivate them to work harder for the company. Check out this detailed article on 52 creative ways to reward your employees.
Provide Great Equipment
It’s difficult for your staff to be motivated and productive if they don’t have the proper equipment to do their job stress-free. Slow computers, old printers, and outdated equipment can stunt productivity. High-quality, efficient products help your staff get their work done much quicker and easier. Reach out to your staff and talk to them about what they would need to do their job as best as possible.
You’d be surprised to discover how much more employees are motivated if they understand more about what’s going on behind management doors. Communicating your goals allows your staff to feel much more involved, and gives them something to strive towards. As a founder or manager, ask yourself:
- Do my employees know our company vision and where we’re headed?
- Do they understand how we provide value?
- Does the staff know what we are trying to achieve, considering short and long-term goals?
- What do we need to do to progress? How will we do it?
How you communicate is important, too. Rather than just communicate from a top-down, management to staff level, your employees should be involved in early conversations and planning discussions. This involvement allows them to feel more inclined to achieve those goals.
Build Company Culture
Workplace culture is the embodiment of your company’s personality. Company culture refers to the environment you curate with the business persona in mind. It’s what allows your employees to enjoy being in the workplace.
Better workplace culture can also reduce workplace stress. According to the American Psychological Association, roughly $500 billion is lost in the U.S. economy, and 550 million work days are lost due to workplace-related stress. And when the culture of the workplace is great, employees are more likely to be productive and happy. In fact, employees actually prefer workplace well-being over material benefits.
One of the first things you want to do is get feedback from your employees. Send out a survey and invite them to make suggestions on how to better the workplace environment. Be sure to gather information on what’s most important to them. For example, would they value company hours? Remote work? Free Friday lunches? Office snacks? Use the survey to gain a better understanding of what your team would enjoy the most, and what’s most likely to boost company morale.
You should also take a look at how different companies are building their own cultures. This allows you to become inspired and motivated by some of the best businesses.
It’s not all about workplace perks, either. Workplace culture is also about building out your core values, and nurturing your team. Fostering a great workplace community means that you’ll need to ensure that there aren’t other issues that are stifling the culture you’re trying to build. For instance, even with happy hours and free lunches, micromanagement can destroy employee happiness and lessen the value of your efforts to build culture.
Offer Remote Work
Several researchers have found that remote work can be highly beneficial. A State of Workplace Productivity Report found that 65% of surveyed full-time employees said they worked better when they worked remotely. Another study from ConnectSolutions found that remote workers worked more efficiently and were 52% less likely to request time off.
Because of this, not only does it make employees happier, but can lead to significant cost savings for businesses. In fact, IBM was able to save $100 million annually since the company launched their remote-work program. And many businesses are catching onto this trend: a Global Workplace Analytics survey revealed that remote work among non self-employed telecommuters has seen growth of 103%.
As you can see, remote work is a win-win situation for employers and employees. Consider starting your own remote work program. You could offer remote work for employees one day per week (to keep things fluid, for example, you might allow your staff to all work remotely on Wednesdays). Another option would be to offer a set amount of remote days per month for each employee, and allow them to choose when they want to take advantage of this option.
As you build out your remote work program, create guidelines and build a system that makes your program run as efficiently as possible. For example, train your team on how to use conference systems (like Zoom or Google Hangouts) that make it easy to have remote meetings. You’ll also want to be sure that your staff is trained on best security practices for accessing and sharing documents on outside networks.