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Ways to Increase Productivity in the Workplace

If you’re looking for ways to increase employee productivity, consider focusing on improving employee engagement, as businesses with high engagement tend to report higher levels of productivity. Engaged employees also tend to produce quality work, which contributes to the overall success of the company. Explore the importance of productivity and how you can cultivate it in your organization.

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Reasons toincrease the productivityof employees

The importance of increasing workplace productivity is simple: The more productive your team members are, the more work they’ll accomplish and the faster your company will reach its goals. When employees are highly engaged, they tend to be far more productive. They’re motivated to achieve more and do their jobs to the best of their abilities because they know their work contributes to the company’s success.

Some clear benefits of increasing employee productivity and engagement are:

  • Achieving goals: If your workplace is engaged and productive, both the quality and quantity of work will be higher. This means a greater output of work and an increased likelihood that the company will achieve its goals.
  • Higher employee satisfaction: Happy employees are more enthusiastic about their day-to-day roles and the growth of the company as a whole. They also feel more connected to the company and are more driven to produce high-quality work.
  • High retention: Engaged employees are less likely to look for new opportunities elsewhere. Retaining your top employees leads to high levels of productivity. With high turnover rates, you might be short-staffed frequently and have downtime when training new employees.
  • Improved attendance: Engaged employees show up for work because they feel that they’re part of the organization. They don’t want to let their employer or their manager down. Simply by showing up and being emotionally invested in the company they work for, they’ll be more productive.

Signs of low work productivity

Productivity is an important measure of employee success and engagement, and therefore, it’s a fundamental business objective. Because it plays such an important role in the day-to-day activities of a business, increasing productivity is often at the forefront of every manager’s mind.

Here are some of the signs of low productivity:

Quality of work

If you notice that the work quality of a high-performing employee is starting to decline, it can indicate stress, boredom or dissatisfaction. If the quality of an employee’s work has dropped, their productivity likely has as well.

Missed deadlines

Missing deadlines are another clear indicator of a drop in productivity. Employees often miss deadlines when they have unclear project or performance expectations. Workplace stress is also another major factor that can contribute to missed deadlines.

High absenteeism

Engaged employees are committed to the success of their team and want to show up for work to help reach company goals. On the other hand, frequent absences can be a sign of dissatisfaction in your workforce, which can lead to a drop in productivity.

Increase in turnover

If you are seeing an increase in employee turnover, you’re likely also experiencing a noticeable drop in productivity. Onboarding and training new employees take time. If you or other team members are continually training new hires, the overall productivity of the team may be low, as there’s less time to focus on core responsibilities.

Lower profitability

Productivity and profitability are closely linked. When employees are highly engaged and produce work that’s high in quality and quantity, profitability is typically higher. If you notice a decrease in profitability, it’s a clear indication of a problem, and low productivity may be a major contributing factor.

Lower output

You can confirm that you’re experiencing a drop in productivity by looking at your workforce’s output. You can do this by examining the cost of your workforce and then comparing the profitability of the business. You can also assess the number of tasks your workers complete and how far they’re progressing with projects. This lets you see if there has been a decrease in output and a drop in productivity.

Ways to increase engagement and productivity at work

Now that you understand the benefits of productivity and engagement in the workplace and signs that you’re experiencing a decline in productivity, it’s important to understand how to increase productivity and engagement. These strategies don’t need to be costly or elaborate. In many cases, a simple act of kindness can have a big impact.

Here are some strategies to increase worker productivity and engagement:

1. Establish values

It should be clear and easy for people to recognize your company values and translate them into actions. These values make it easier for you to decide who to hire and why you’re in business. Your values should make it clear to your team what’s expected within your company.

Based on your values, establish what constitutes good performance. For example, a doctor’s office might decide that compassionate customer service is one of its core values. For the employees, compassionate customer service could translate to actions like walking patients to the front desk at the end of their appointment. It could mean taking extra time to ensure all their questions are answered. The office manager might spend extra time on the phone with a customer to resolve a billing error.

2. Hire smart

Creating a productive work environment starts at the recruitment stage. While it’s important to evaluate a potential employee’s skills, it’s also important to assess candidates based on cultural fit. This involves determining if a candidate has the same values as the ones you established. If you hire team members who hold the same values, they’ll acclimate better into the culture, feel more connected with the company and maintain higher levels of productivity.

3. Communicate clear goals

Communicating goals begin with writing an effective job description for each position, which helps managers and employees clarify performance goals. Next, provide employees with clear instructions and short-term goals. Engaging with employees regularly makes them feel supported, and you can help them overcome challenges and better understand how their work and productivity support organization-wide goals.

4. Offer constructive feedback frequently

Provide regular constructive feedback. This means telling employees when they’ve done something well and being specific in your feedback to motivate them. It also means offering constructive criticism and making suggestions to help them grow and improve. When you offer constructive criticism, always give them something to work on to improve their performance. Provide them with actionable advice that they can implement right away.

5. Show that you care

Your employees will be more engaged, productive and focused on the needs of the organization if they feel that you’re focused on their needs as well. Evaluate your workforce, the stage of life they’re in and what their needs are. For example, if your workforce largely consists of parents of young children, they may need more scheduling flexibility. Offering flexible working hours where the employees can start and finish earlier or work from home could help alleviate any stress and increase loyalty and motivation.

As another example, exercise is a proven tool for decreasing stress and increasing productivity in the workplace. To encourage employees to take care of their physical, mental and emotional well-being, you could allow them to start late twice a week so they have more time for exercise.

Related:Cultivating Positive Workplace Behavior

6. Invest in your team

Your employees will be more eager to work, be productive and give you their bestif they feel that you’re giving to them in return. You can easily give back to your team—and increase employee retention—by investing in their professional development.

Meet with employees regularly to discuss their career progression and professional development. Learn about their interests and what skills they want to develop. Evaluate where they could fit into the organization long-term and how you can help them achieve their professional goals.

Create a development plan for each employee that lays out how they’ll obtain the skills they need to level up their careers. For example, they may need to complete formal training, or they may be able to obtain skills on the job or through mentoring. Establish loyalty among your workers by promoting from within.

7. Engage in two-way communication

Your team should understand what the expectations are for their role and day-to-day responsibilities. However, to keep employees engaged, it’s important that they feel supported. This begins by encouraging them to give feedback and let you know what you can do to help them succeed in their role.

Ask them for feedback about the organization, what they enjoy about their job and the company and what they would like to see change. Asking for feedback on the company can help them feel their opinions matter, making them feel valued. It also gives you invaluable insight into where you can make improvements to increase morale and workplace efficiency. Ultimately, this feedback loop can boost engagement and have a marked impact on productivity.

8. Balance accountability with authority

For each employee, there should be a balance between accountability and authority. That means setting clear expectations and providing guidance to accomplish those goals. It also requires having meaningful consequences in place, both positive and negative. Positive consequences might include increased responsibility or bonuses. Negative consequences may involve working late to complete a project or withholding a performance bonus.

However, just as there must be accountability, employees should also have adequate authority to make decisions and execute their ideas to help them achieve their goals. That could mean having access to key stakeholders to get approval quickly. To encourage productivity and keep employees engaged in their work, you need to find a balance between accountability and giving employees the authority to do what needs to be done to achieve them.

9. Maintain a healthy management style

As a manager, your job is to set clear expectations, offer guidance and direction, and give employees the freedom to do their jobs. While it’s appropriate to ensure milestones are being met, avoid the temptation to closely examine every detail of projects. By giving employees latitude in their work and not overcommunicating or overmanaging, your employees will be happier and more productive.

10. Keep deadlines realistic

Before giving employees deadlines for projects and goals, make sure they’re achievable. Identify specific milestones that can be used to measure progress and determine success. By clearly identifying milestones for your employees, you help them avoid unnecessary stress and confusion. To ensure the time line is realistic, you can ask questions like:

  • What steps does the employee need to take to achieve the goal?
  • How much time will the project or goal require from beginning to end?
  • Is the overall workload for the project realistic in that time frame?

With realistic time frames and workloads, employees stay more engaged, feel less stressed and are more productive overall.

11. Incorporate productivity training

Give your employees tools to improve efficiency and train them how to use them well. These tools could include anything from software that streamlines their jobs to skills like time management and delegation that allow them to use their time better. Give them practical ways to implement these skills.

12. Encourage breaks

When you want your employees to do more work, breaks might seem counterproductive. But balancing work and rest is essential to avoid burnout and keep productivity high. Insist that employees take their regular breaks, including a full lunch break and not a working lunch at their desks. This gives them a mental break and refreshes them so they’re ready to dive into work when they return.

13. Celebrate success

This last step is critical. Employees deserve to be recognized when they contribute to the success of your company and achieve milestones, whether individually or as part of their department. While performance bonuses are always appreciated, a simple thank you or team lunch can go a long way toward acknowledging your employees’ hard work. It can help boost morale, increase productivity and encourage repeat performances.

FAQs about increasing productivity

How do you handle an individual with low productivity?

If your overall productivity is low, it’s likely a company-wide morale issue. If it’s just one person who never seems to meet productivity goals, it may be due to poor work habits, personal issues or a lack of skill. Talk with the individual to determine the cause of their low productivity. Explain where you need their productivity to be and find out if there are barriers that you can help them overcome. Setting written goals and checking in regularly can help get that employee up to an acceptable productivity level.

What are some causes of low productivity?

Low productivity can be caused by individual habits and traits or workplace issues. Figuring out the cause of the decreased output can help you correct the issue. Some potential causes include:

  • Poor time management skills
  • Home or work stress
  • Expectations that are too high or an unrealistic workload
  • Toxic work environment
  • No recognition for efforts
  • Lack of clear instructions or direction at work
  • Lots of interruptions or poor scheduling
  • Lack of skills to do the job quickly
  • No accountability
  • Ineffective management

How can you change the physical environment to improve productivity?

The physical environment can impact employees’ productivity. Lots of distractions, lack of inspiration and not having the right tools can slow down work. Offering different office options allows each employee to find a spot that works for them. You might have individual offices where employees can close the door and block out distractions as well as shared workspaces for those who thrive on interactions with coworkers. Spruce up the decor if your office is bland and uninspiring. Offer comfortable chairs with ergonomic workstations to ensure comfort isn’t an issue. Ask employees if they have all the tools and equipment they need to do their work efficiently, and get them the things they’re missing if they’re reasonable requests.

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