Gone are the days when employee productivity increased with strict open space supervision. We have forgotten the effectiveness of barking orders — the constant pressure in the name of innovation.
These particular productivity hacks don’t work anymore. In fact, organizational behavior researcher Ethan S. Bernstein concluded that work pressure is the genesis of pretentious employees.
Although you’ll see them glued to their computer screens -- with serious “I’m onto something” faces, the results don’t reflect stellar performance. They feel pressured to look the part, while they bury their thoughts and ideas. But their true potential lies in another productivity strategy.
But how can you choose an employee productivity strategy that works?
It’s simple -- you need to understand the ancient concept of productivity intricately. You need to understand every privy detail of its nature. You need to know which strategies actually work – and use what applies to your organization.
What Is Productivity, Really?
Productivity is getting the necessary work done in the least amount of time possible. You can relate it to efficiency where work quality and minimizing waste matters significantly. However, to grasp what productivity is, you need to know what it’s not.
You often hear people associating productivity with busyness. But that’s wrong -- the fact that you are always busy doesn’t mean you are productive. Constantly chasing deadlines and working them out doesn’t define productivity.
That’s just being busy.
Forbes describes a busy vs. productive person in a captivating, eye-opening scenario. A busy person will pile up perfect to-do-lists that use up more time than necessary. In contrary, a productive person completes the small and big tasks step by step.
The productive person progresses towards their goals while the always busy one frets on tight deadlines. And when it comes to employment. Productivity is key.
So, remember, even if you have a decade goal, progress by doing tasks that directly and indirectly contribute to the goal translates to productivity. And of course, the progress should be in the shortest time possible. But how do you determine employee productivity?
How to Determine Employee Productivity
Measuring employee productivity challenges many businesses due to the diverse factors involved. However, it merely starts with stating the particular niche factors that will affect the productivity formula. What does this mean?
The famous productivity formula measures employee productivity by dividing the total output by the total input. It mostly involves labor productivity or multifactor employment productivity.
For tangible production, like in factories, this formula is easy to apply. The problem comes when you have to deal with ambiguous work types. However, nothing is impossible -- You can measure productivity in the following ways.
If your organizational structure is objectives oriented, you need to be transparent with your employees. Let each employee know what they are working on and set reasonable goal attainment timelines.
Review their work after a few months to assess their productivity. The exciting thing about this method is that you can use it for even small tasks while measuring the work efficiency. Even better; you'll be facilitating work flexibility while accomplishing company goals.
That could apply even in the sales sector. What an individual contributes to the income of a company can accurately measure employee productivity. Also, the productivity formula is applicable.
Productivity isn’t just getting things done; it involves quality as well. Organizations in the service sector have to factor in the quality of work. Excellent service quality brings more customers and subsequently returns more income.
In cases of quality, the number of return customers can be input to determine employee productivity.
Why is productivity important in the workplace?
But why is employee productivity important? Is it just a great way for the employees to keep their employment? Productivity does more than that. A productive workplace drives the development of a company.
If your workers are getting more tasks done, the supply of products and services extends. If demand meets the supply, income will be steady if not skyrocketing. That's why promoting employee productivity is one of the most demanded information online.
When your customers are confident that your productive employees will deliver, they’ll trust you. In no time, your company's brilliance will be renowned, and the demand will escalate.
Employee productivity can expand your business through positive customer relations -- leading to one primary goal – more income.
Optimum working environment
Employment productivity involves time management. That means, there’ll be no more chasing deadlines, no more skipping meals and no more “I don’t have time for this” excuses.
Employee productivity saves time for team building activities. That helps in integrating an active organization culture.
Also, a productive working environment enhances a work-life balance. Although older generations craved for stability than work-life balance, the current generation needs both. And productivity in the workplace influences that.
A work-life balance promotes employee engagement which again improves workplace productivity.
According to the US Department of Labor, productivity has risen by 64 percent in the service-providing industries. They claim that work-life balance tweaks inspire this improvement in the workplace culture.
Employee productivity is the drive of a happy working system.
Consequences of an Unproductive Workplace Environment
It doesn’t take a genius to understand how hazardous workplace unproductivity can be. However, more severe damage like loss of loyalty and job survival pretenses can be uncalled for. They all boil down to these two dire consequences:
Plummeting company revenue
When employees don't perform tasks effectively, overall company performance dips. That's because insufficient products and services supply spawns fewer sales. Even worse, consistent lack of employment productivity leads some companies out of business.
Think about it: When your employee's revenue generation is less than their salary, you incur losses. That means, if you don’t measure employee productivity, your company will be sinking under your nose.
Destruction of company relations
An unproductive workplace generally exhibits poor customer service. When customers experience smell such issues, they’ll seek a competitor who fulfills their needs. That will affect your immediate sales plus the long-term net worth.
But external relations aren’t the only ones at stake here. An unproductive workplace environment welcomes space for conflicts and distractions among employees.
Gallup studies reveal that only 33 percent of employees are engaged at work. It shows 51 percent of the employees are slightly disengaged, while 16 percent are extremely disengaged at the workplace. Gallup further revealed that the 33 percent persistently hunt job openings.
Since some employees cherish their jobs, they strain while trying to tolerate their slacking colleagues. If they choose to stay, they might conform to unproductivity while resenting the company’s culture every day. Any chance they get, they choose attrition.
That forces a company to advertise and train new workers – incurring unnecessary costs. All this is disastrous to the company’s reputation -- mostly beyond repair.
Wrecking Employment: Productivity in Relation to Profits
According to Investopedia, profits can increase because of two primary factors: low production cost or increase in sales and prices. So, where does employee productivity come in?
Studies prove that the procrastination of deadlines is one of the highest invisible costs for American companies. However, this wouldn't be applicable in a productive workspace since employee productivity drives timely task completion.
Also, employee productivity leads to the creation of higher quality products and services. That aggravates sales and provides an opportunity to reasonably hike prices.
Productivity has proved to increase profits repeatedly. In fact, a recent study suggests that morale boosts employee productivity and in turn, dramatically improves profit.
When unexpected circumstances like a higher cost of raw materials are ruled out, profits increase with productivity.
The following chart illustrates this phenomenon.
Barriers to Employee Productivity
If you want to boost employee productivity at your organization, you must consider the obstacles that kill it in the first place.
Interface conducted a workplace noise study in the US, UK, and Australia. They discovered that 69 percent of global employees are negatively affected by noise in the workplace. They include structural noises, phones notifications beeps, or unnecessary stories that catch their attention.
But noise isn’t the only productivity killer. Another barrier to productivity is underappreciation. Research by AttaCoin revealed that only 53 percent of American employees feel appreciated.
But never assume that appreciation ruins your budget.
This same research unveiled 55 percent of women and 51 percent of men reported being appreciated. Although many American women disapprove the gender pay gap, this research further unearthed the real determinants of appreciation.
They explained that employees value compliments for good work done. They become more productive, investing emotions to achieve company goals.
Effects of productivity barriers
Barriers to employee productivity have adverse effects on an individual as well as business performance. Get more insights on significant productivity barriers in the following chart.
How to Help Employees Increase Productivity
To boost your employees’ productivity, you must go above and beyond to make them happy. Simply issuing paychecks doesn’t cut it -- you have to understand personalities, and you have to know what makes them tick.
And there’s proof that positive workplace cultures are more productive. But how do you do it?
This involves sharing of big company goals and the expected employment productivity to meet them. Organize objective meetings while letting everyone share their ideas.
Merely instructing tasks alienates goal alignment. It makes the employee feel unappreciated – unworthy of idea projection. And that shatters productivity.
So, communicate effectively and most importantly, listen. Listen to employees' ideas, listen to their challenges, and listen to their wins.
Go beyond annual reviews. Criticize bad performance before it murders your employee’s profession. Don’t forget sending "thank you" emails and reminders admitting how grateful you are for your workers' hard work.
Teach and develop
Don't expect employee productivity after giving employees what they want. Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day -- teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime. An old saying that will always ring true.
You know, when you teach employees how to boost their productivity, they learn for their personal growth too. And they’ll thank you for their personal improvement. The result?
Massive productivity at work.
Teaching employment productivity is like setting up a long term investment. The ROI (return on investment) will reflect on your profits for ongoing years. Train your employees with skills they require to do their work and add productivity skills to their modules.
Tips and tricks for boosting employee productivity
We gathered other tips and tricks for boosting employee productivity. And they include small tweaks that don’t need massive budgets.
Match tasks with skills
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) shared a study that indicates, matching tasks with skills dramatically increases profit in companies. That's a result of high productivity related to employees knowing their way around the task assigned.
Forbes encourages the same strategy for unleashing workforce productivity. And the best part is: A specialized team handles its matters without intensive micromanagement.
Apply intrinsic and extrinsic motivation
Don’t just incentivize. Tap rewards into their self-motivation. Trigger intrinsic motivation by believing in your employees and thanking them for their work.
But there’s something else.
Stop making false promises to recruits. Most employees reduce productivity after they realize the promise of additional education was a hoax. If you know you can’t deliver -- don't say it.
Enhance workplace flexibility
Although dismissed by some employers, workplace flexibility is a productivity trigger. If your employee falls sick but can work from home, let them. Forbes, Association for Psychological Science and many other studies show that telecommuting is the new employment productivity hack.
But that’s not all. Offering flexible working hours is another tactic you can use to increase employee productivity. So long as work gets done on time, you can introduce consistent, flexible working hours.
Diversity in working environments is another productivity booster. This generation craves respect to particular preferences. Companies are introducing varied office spaces to maximize productivity at all times.
When you look into this exciting evolution of office layouts, you’ll discover one thing. The only way to satisfy diverse workers is by setting up varied workplace environment layouts. You can start by requesting your employees' ideas.
And while you're at it, encourage personalization of spaces. It improves employment productivity tremendously. One last thing:
You need to solve one of the biggest workplace dilemma -- temperature control. Although Mark Zuckerberg likes to keep it chilly at 59 degrees Fahrenheit, reports confirm that many coworkers disapprove.
Studies report that women work better in warm offices while for men, it’s the vice versa. Since people achieve employee productivity at different temperature levels, you need to advise workers to find personal solutions.
Also, you could create office spaces with varying degrees of temperature to back your concerns.
Promote a healthy environment
Research on health and productivity confirms that these two are intimately related. Health results in increased employee productivity. Unhealthy employees will likely project presenteeism, which will, in turn, affect profits.
Through wellness programs and staff physical activities, a company can reduce productivity plateaus. Also, the introduction of plants and healthy eating options at the workplace inspires health practices. That, in turn, improves employee productivity.
Fuse workplace ambiance with nature
In this distracted era, people fail to recognize nature’s power of triggering productivity. You can set up sunlight lit spaces and natural décor to achieve employment productivity. The best thing is, these enhancements are cost-effective.
Nature art, aquariums, and potted plants are some of the few nature-inspired designing trends.
According to researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, playing natural sounds in the office can also help with boost employee productivity. Natural sounds have a way of tapping into cognitive abilities that translate to better performance.
Bring in some employees’ wants
Apart from ensuring the necessary working resources are available, consider fulfilling some employees wants. It could be a better coffee maker or sit-stand chairs – you name it. These gestures assure them that you listen.
And you don’t have to ruin company finances. Small, honest deeds are enough.
Also, they deserve a share of profits when they are productive. The following trend might be the issue dulling down employee productivity.
Manage tech use effectively
Studies record that most employees use social media in the workplace. Even worse, digital distraction researchers discovered that it takes around 25 minutes to return focus to the task at hand. That reduces productivity and as a result, reduces the company’s earning potential.
But what can shutter digital distraction? Some companies suggest a “no phone policy,” but we think that would be a drastic measure. Not to mention, dictatorship provokes pretense instead of productivity.
Jonaed Iqbal, founder, and CEO of NoDegree explained that he is okay with employees using their phones. After all, they need to talk to family and friends among doing other personal-life serving activities.
However, he emphasizes that the allocated work should be done and with finesse.
That's a smart way of dealing with the tech problem. However, ensure that they use the employee network to avoid slowing down connections for the workplace and guests. Also, educate them about distraction unproductivity.
The Center for Humane Technology urges people to take these measures for taking control of technology usage seriously.
Productivity Resources You Need
I bet your brain is full of productivity wisdom right now but don’t go yet. You also need resources for tracking employee productivity. But first, this best productivity planner will be your most guaranteed bet on organizing your company activities.
If you are considering shaking up your working hours, we’ve got something to ease up the transition hassle. This flexible working hours policy template will guide you. It’ll give you an idea of what matters when making such changes in a company.
Also, you need an online space to store all your documents, and Dropbox can do that for you. Even better; you can organize them for seamless access hence enhancing productivity.
Google Keep is quite a keeper as well -- an online version of sticky notes. This app provides an easy way to remember getting things done since it can sync in all your devices.
With a productivity planner that continually gives you productivity tips, you don’t need to hunt all over the internet anymore. Online sticky notes and storage space will even further kick up the experience.
Unlocking Your Employees' Productivity for Better Results
Although there's a possible need for a Chief Happiness Officer (CHO), the CEO can manage by applying some of these employment productivity hacks. One thing – though overlooked -- is evident: Happy employees are generally productive.
Learning the intimate details of productivity is the key to achieving it in the workplace. But even in-depth knowledge isn’t enough. You need to implement these productivity strategies to deliver results.
From the juniors to seniors, you need to determine individual productivity. You need to assess their input to the output. You need to help your employees work in ultimate productivity.
But it won’t be easy -- you may have to let some go. If their staying would drain what you’re building and they don’t exhibit any progress, they have to go.
The blatant truth is: For a company to be productive, it needs similarly invested employees.
What are some of your strategies for boosting employee productivity? Tell us in the comments!
Featured Image Source: Pixabay