Workplace productivity is a problem. American workers say their co-workers are unproductive for at least an hour a day, according to one study. Stress, lack of motivation, procrastination — these are just some of the causes of the productivity pandemic. Here are six ways employees can boost productivity in the workplace.
1. Reduce procrastination at work
A sizeable chunk of the American workforce procrastinates at work, according to research. The annual Wasting Time at Work Survey, conducted by Salary.com, found that 70 percent of employees wasted time at work on a daily basis in 2013 — up from the previous year.
Thirty-five percent of workers said they didn’t feel “challenged” enough, 32 percent said there was no incentive to work harder, and 23 percent were just “bored.” Talking with co-workers, texting family and friends, spending time on the internet — these were among the top time-wasting activities in the survey.
You can reduce procrastination in the workplace by improving motivation. “To create a work environment in which an employee is motivated about work involves both intrinsically satisfying and extrinsically encouraging factors,” says human resources expert Susan M. Heathfield. “Employee motivation is the combination of fulfilling the employee’s needs and expectations from work and the workplace factors that enable employee motivation — or not.”
You can also remove distractions. Block certain websites, schedule breaks and create to-do lists; these steps will improve productivity and reduce time-wasting.
2. Provide your employees with regular feedback
Feedback is important. It serves as an important motivation tool — one that increases productivity. Sixty-nine percent of employees say they would work harder if managers recognized their efforts more. However, 39 percent say they don’t feel appreciated at work at all. Moreover, companies that provide employees with frequent feedback have a 14.9 percent lower turnover rates than companies that don’t.
Sit down with your employees on a regular basis to discuss their productivity. Try not to focus too much on the negative; recognizing an employee’s achievements boosts morale. You can also use feedback to help your employees set clear goals about their performance. Encourage workers to create three or four long-term objectives — ask them where they want to be in five or 10 years, for example — and outline the steps they need to take to achieve them.
3. Help your employees develop their skills
Employees should adhere to the standards you have set in your workplace. Some workers, though, lack the skills you require to grow your company. This is where skills development comes in. Investing in employee training saves time and money in the long run and teaches your staff valuable new skills that will benefit your business.
Skills development is really important for workplace productivity. Forty percent of employees who don’t receive the right training end up leaving their jobs within 12 months. Moreover, 68 percent of British workers say workplace training is always relevant, regardless of the length of time an employee has worked for a company.
4. Make work more worthwhile
Happy employees are productive employees. Researchers at the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom discovered that happiness resulted in a 12 percent boost in productivity and unhappy workers were 10 percent less productive. You can increase happiness in your company by making work more worthwhile. Provide employees with plenty of growth opportunities, let them connect with their coworkers, and increase transparency. These small steps could encourage your team to place more value on the work they do.
You can also make work more worthwhile by creating social opportunities for your staff. Nobody wants to stay in the office all day, so organize special events such as team-building days and sports activities. “Yes, competitive pay and benefits are important, but employee happiness is dependent on so much more,” says Alison Coleman, writing for The Guardian. “Increasingly, workers are placing greater value on things like well-being and working conditions, where flexible working, collaboration, career progression and a great team spirit are part of the company culture.”
5. Recognize employees’ accomplishments
Rewarding an employee’s accomplishments is just as effective as the other methods on this list when it comes to boosting productivity. “While some organizations prefer paying a premium to make employees feel valued, others believe in a more culture-centric way of making employees stick,” says Rhucha Kulkarni, writing for HR Technologist. “For the second type of organization, recognition comes as a savior tool. Recognition is nothing but appreciation given in a structured manner.”
Why not hand out a small award to your “employee of the month”? Alternatively, post your company’s highest achievers on an office noticeboard. This way, you can recognize employee success and encourage other staff members to up their games. You can also use I Done This — fast, flexible software that helps you track your employees’ accomplishments.
6. Invest in gamification
Gamification is one of the most effective ways to boost employee productivity. Desktop and mobile games improve engagement and make long and laborious tasks much more interesting. “Games are often effective because they give people a sense of accomplishment missing in many ‘real life’ tasks,” says the Aresty Institute of Executive Education at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.
Investing in gamification can have a profound effect on your employees. Research shows that this technology improves work experience for 91 percent of employees. Why? Workers say games increase engagement, awareness, and productivity.
These six productivity boosters can help you drive business performance and get more from your employees. Want to find out more ways to optimize your workplace? Click here!