Coffee Break

6 Ways to Increase Productivity in the Workplace

In order to survive, companies have to continually grow and develop. They need to keep an eye on their rivals and know what their customers want. Somehow their products or services need to be better than anyone else’s. Needless to say, it’s not an easy task.

A company’s employees are often its greatest asset and biggest expense. It’s therefore essential that they are stewarded well. When workers are enabled to reach their fullest potential, their contributions are maximized. They will feel happy, valued and rewarded. We will now discuss six key ways to achieve this. 

  • Use The Power Of Software

It can be a false economy to stay with outdated and clunky computer systems. People will be frustrated when the screens take a long time to load, or if there are regular system crashes. Productivity will be impaired too. Businesses need to stay on top of technological developments if they want to remain competitive. For this reason, multitudes of companies regularly trawl the internet for information. 

One thing people will discover is the rise in ‘smart offices’ that harness special software. The designers of OEE software say that people want to first access free case studies and read customer reviews before they buy. Businesses then consult system architects about such things as equipment connectivity. When managers are able to use smart software, they can conduct real time monitoring and control. Such things as down time and work issues can then be quickly analyzed and acted upon. 

  • Remove Interruptions And Distractions

If two people are best friends it may not be advisable to seat them next to one another. Don’t put desks near doors or machines; they may be busy areas that could disturb peoples’ concentration. 

Mobile phones can be a real issue in the workplace. Have a clear policy on their use during work times. Without this, you could have people regularly checking for messages and responding to notifications. Employers have found that people now view Youtube at work because they can read the subtitles silently, without having to use sound. 

Publish a clear internet policy too. Don’t allow the sending of jokes by email, and ban access to social media and other non-work websites during work time. 

  • Help People With Their Personal Organisation

The first step is to ensure your employees know what is expected of them each day. Advise them to write down all their outstanding tasks, and then to put them in priority order. Train them not to do the easy ones first! 

Research shows that people who multitask are up to 40% less productive. This is because they keep picking things up and putting them down, and flitting in between different screens. It’s advisable for people to do their work in blocks, such as data entry followed by reading emails. This is also a great way to help keep peoples’ desks tidy. 

  • Promote Communication, And Encourage Feedback

It’s the managers who create the culture of a company. They need to regularly relate information to their staff. This should include any important changes and updates. 

Managers should also clarify what is expected from their staff. This may include tangible milestones such as after 1,2,5 and 10 years. Break down any large tasks into smaller ones. This will prevent the employees from feeling overwhelmed by what they need to do. 

Employee feedback should be encouraged so that issues can be dealt with swiftly. When people don’t feel they can speak to their boss, they may either sit on issues or look for a job elsewhere. It may be that an employee is unhappy that his colleague isn’t pulling his weight. Alternatively a computer system may be playing up. It is important that such things are communicated to you because they will impact productivity. 

  • Implement Staff Development And Training

Staff morale will always have a bearing upon productivity. People need to feel valued. One way of achieving this is by developing their skills and providing regular training. 

It may be that a new computer system has been introduced or there has been an important update. People will need to be fully instructed on this. Perhaps there is a training environment where they can learn and safely practice. The more familiar they are with the new system, the more productive they will be. 

Many people benefit from courses designed to improve their general computer skills. They could cover such things as the internet, or helpful keyboard shortcuts. There are many software packages that help train people to touch type. A person could learn this for an hour a week. Over time the individual would then be typing faster and be more productive as a result. 

  • Encourage Health In Your Employees

If people are unfit, it will be reflected in their work attendance. Therefore

incorporate a ‘health slot’ into your team meetings. This could include such subjects as the importance of sleep, healthy diets and regular exercise. Rather than having machines in the workplace that sell chocolate and candy bars, why not provide free healthy snacks such as apples and bananas?

When companies encourage their staff to create sports teams, there are several benefits. Not only do the employees enjoy getting fit together, but they bond as a team and experience better morale. In turn this benefits work productivity. 

Health At Work

Conduct regular workstation assessments to check your employees’ desks, chairs and computers are adequate. They will help prevent absenteeism due to neck and back issues. Advise your staff to take regular breaks and to eat their lunch away from their desks. This will help them not to ‘seize up’ physically, and to reduce eye strain. Some people who have long working days simply pace themselves rather than being more productive. 

Encourage people to work smarter rather than longer. 

When these different elements come together, a productive culture is created. Staff know what they need to do, and have the tools to do it. If things don’t go well, they know they can seek help. They are organized, healthy and receiving regular training. In turn the business and its staff will be set to flourish.