How to Increase Productivity in the Workplace: 7 Key Steps
07 August 2020
Every business owner strives for high levels of productivity. Generally-speaking, the more productive a workforce is, the higher the customer satisfaction rate and the more profitable a business will be.
However, increasing productivity in the workplace goes beyond investing in technology and introducing more efficient work practices; employee wellbeing plays a huge role.
In order to increase performance, a holistic, multi-layered approach is required. Here, we explore the 7 key steps you can follow, to achieve success in your business.
1. Focus on Employee Wellbeing
Decades of research indicates that a happy workforce equals a productive workforce. It stands to reason, therefore, that focusing on employee wellbeing is a smart strategy for building a strong business.
Think about your employees’ quality of life from a holistic perspective. What steps can be taken to improve their daily lives? The happiness of your staff should be one of your top priorities; they are an integral part of your business and without them, your business will fail.
Here are a few pointers to consider:
Make your employees feel valued:
Studies suggest that feeling valued can lead to an increase in staff performance. Acknowledge good work and positive attitudes and let your staff know they’re appreciated.
Communicate, communicate, communicate:
Effective communication is key to building a successful business – at all levels.
Set clear goals and arrange quarterly meetings with individual staff members – to review performance and identify strengths and weaknesses. Praising good work and showing staff how they can learn from their mistakes will help to build their confidence. Constructive feedback is also directly linked to employee engagement and performance.
Communication is a two-way street, so make sure you are available to your staff. Let them feel they can approach you to discuss any ideas or concerns they may have. Showing you care will help to make them to feel valued. And if they do share a problem with you, you can take steps to rectify the issue.
Listening to your staff is invaluable; not only will they feel appreciated, but you can gain a better understanding of the workings of other areas of your organisation.
Consider work-life balance:
A healthy work-life balance is vital to achieving job satisfaction – which, in turn, drives productivity.
61% of employees who took part in the Mental Health at Work Survey 2018 cited work and work-related factors as the major cause of stress and other mental health issues. And in a recent survey by Mental Health America (MHA) and Total Brain, over 60% of workers said their productivity at work suffers due to stress over poor work-life balance, or unrealistic work demands.
Benefits of a health work-life balance include:
- Reduced stress & anxiety
- Improved focus & concentration
- Higher levels of job satisfaction
- Happier disposition
- Improved health
Review the hours your employees are working and identify ways of improving efficiency. This may require introducing new procedures or investing in new equipment and technology. If your employees are still overworked, there could be a resource versus demand issue; you may need to consider hiring more staff.
Introduce flexible working arrangements:
Flexible working hours also go a long way to improving work-life balance, as does allowing staff to work from home. Review your operational model to determine what flexible working arrangement might work for your business.
Your staff will thank you for it and you will be rewarded with a renewed enthusiasm and a boost in output.
Encourage interaction between staff members at all levels. As employees bond with one another, they are more likely to feel ‘part of the team.’ And this tends to result in increased motivation and loyalty – and a decline in staff turnover.
Allow staff to salary package:
Allowing staff to salary package will enable them to reduce the amount of tax they pay. This perk is another way to increase employee job satisfaction. For example, an employee can salary package their mobile phones, meal entertainment and more. They can also package their car via a novated lease. Your salary packaging provider will facilitate the process, so there is minimal effort required on your part.
Introduce additional perks:
Consider what other perks you could introduce for your staff. Parking bays, gym memberships and health insurance are added bonuses most staff members would appreciate. If you don’t have the budget for bigger-ticket items, why not introduce Friday night drinks and nibbles in the office, or quarterly team dinners?
2. Invest in Your Staff
Your staff are your biggest asset. Investing in training and development benefits both your staff and your business as a whole. Upskilling staff can lead to increased job fulfilment, a boost in motivation and improved productivity, both at individual and organisational levels.
From sales training, to emotional intelligence exercises, establish what training your teams would most benefit from and arrange courses accordingly.
There are also all manner of team-building exercises on offer. These provide a great bonding experience and help to improve communication, inspire creativity and encourage collaboration.
3. Invest in Technology
Technology can be an excellent investment for businesses. Whether it’s upgrading your computer system, or introducing software to manage processes and projects more efficiently, technology can save your staff a huge amount of time. It can also despatch and lead-times, resulting in greater customer satisfaction.
Marketing automation software assists with the customer onboarding process flow and has been proven to produce extraordinary results in terms of customer uptake. It enables you to refine your marketing processes; improves accountability of marketing & sales teams; and enables you to reach potential customers across multiple channels in a highly-targeted approach. When used properly, it can prove a hugely cost-effective investment.
Should the capital outlay for your required new technology break the budget, consider taking out a business loan. A business loan broker will help you to navigate the complexities and find the right loan for your needs.
4. Maintain Your Equipment
For your machinery and equipment to perform at optimal levels, regular maintenance is essential. Whether it’s IT equipment, heavy-duty machinery, or high-tech equipment for cosmetic procedures, make sure all parts are well-looked after, including the minor components. They should be well-oiled, with a quality industrial lubricant.
And use vibration monitoring equipment to analyse and report on machine faults which are not visible to the naked eye, such as mis-alignment issues and balancing issues. Such testing can prevent costly breakages and breakdowns.
5. Upgrade Your Equipment
From computer systems, to machinery, to water treatment plants and heavy-duty snatch straps – every piece of equipment has a lifespan. Eventually, you’ll find that the effort required to maintain your old equipment is cost-prohibitive and there may also be safety implications of running outdated equipment.
At this point, it is well worth upgrading your equipment. Doing so will likely save you time and money, as well as reducing your safety risks.
And if you can’t afford to purchase the new equipment outright, consider financing it. Equipment financing provides a cost-effective way of purchasing expensive items – and is far kinder to your cashflow.
6. Introduce an Incentive scheme
Incentive schemes are proven methods of encouraging greater productivity, at individual and team-level, in the workplace.
While incentive schemes are often income-related, there are a number of other popular incentives. Think about which incentive scheme(s) which would best suit your business, out of the following:
- Commission structures
- An award scheme
- Company shares
- Flexible working hours
- Additional annual leave
- Gift cards or vouchers
- A team lunch
7. Improve your Workspace
Years of research has shown that both poor lighting and physical clutter affect our brain’s ability to concentrate and process information. A recent study by Neuroscientists at Princeton University found that physical clutter can result in increased stress and a decline in performance. In addition to mental health impacts, poor lighting can also cause eye strain and headaches.
Logic determines, therefore, that a light, tidy working area will help to:
- Improve concentration
- Reduce stress and anxiety
- Increase productivity
So, hire a skip bin and have a good declutter. And why not introduce a ‘paper-free’ policy for your office? Not only will this help to maintain a tidy workspace, but it will also boost your ‘green’ credentials.
Productivity in the workplace isn’t just driven by the physical; it’s also driven by less tangible factors, such as mood and feeling valued. Above all, it’s about understanding the needs of your staff from a holistic perspective.
This article was written by Felicity Allen. Writing for Australian, UK and French businesses for over 10 years, Felicity has created content for a range of different media and target audiences. Catch Felicity on LinkedIn.