Actually Boost Employee Productivity With These 13 Tips
Productivity is one of the key elements of a successful business.
But, sometimes, employers can take the wrong approach when it comes to helping their employees reach their full potential.
Thankfully, research has been conducted to help us understand the sometimes counter-intuitive techniques that bring out the best in workers. Here, we break down 13 of the strongest ways you can get your employees to perform at their best.
By encouraging these behaviours, you can foster a workplace culture that not only succeeds in business, but outranks others in terms of employee satisfaction and development. Let’s explore these important approaches to promoting productivity across the board.
1. Take your breaks!
At first, the thought of working through break periods suggests that more work is being done. However, breaks are important to ensure that employees stay energized and avoid fatigue. This way, they can do more at the times they are working.
How to help: Make sure your employees take their scheduled breaks. Encourage them to set reminders, and ask them to take their breaks away from their desks so they can fully unwind.
2. Stop procrastinating before it’s too late
Many procrastinators rely on the pressure of approaching deadlines in the hopes of inspiring greater work as they rush to finish. Studies show, unfortunately, that this almost never works. As the adage goes, slow and steady wins the race.
How to help: Set incremental goals/deadlines on long-projects. Reward progress at each step of the way.
3. Sleep when you need
As many as 80% of workers may have work schedules that conflict with our natural sleep patterns. Sleep deprivation and fatigue lead to reduced concentration and output. Mapping your schedule to your internal clock will yield positive results.
How to help: Consider shift adjustments for struggling employees, or flexible work hours.
4. Use teamwork to your advantage
Collaboration fosters inspiration. Working solo can reduce an employees sense of urgency and responsibility, whereas team-based projects improve performance drastically. It also helps reduce the stress of larger workloads.
How to help: Support collaboration with open offices and shared workspaces, or consider using an online team management platform when you have remote workers.
5. Minimize your meetings
The amount of time spent in meetings has more than doubled since the 1960’s. The time spent in meetings, though, is time spent away from productive outputs.
How to help: Replace meetings with memos when appropriate, or try having your meetings standing up (which encourages faster communication)
6. Do one thing at a time
We often value multi-tasking as a valuable trait in business. That said, spreading your attention too thin makes for sloppy work and increases the likelihood of errors. Time management and a singular focus go a long way to produce better results.
How to help: Encourage your employees to make to-do lists and prioritize them so they can focus on one item at a time.
7. Put progress over perfection
Just like yourself, your employees are only human. While we would like to expect 100% accuracy in everything we do, it is better to make sure we complete all of our work within a reasonable margin of error, than to complete only part of it perfectly. Perfectionism slows down production.
How to help: Make sure your employees know you don’t expect perfection every time. Use mistakes as a learning platform, and encourage a continuous workflow over nitpicking.
8. Stay active
Your brain and body are not separate entities. When you don’t exercise your body regularly, your mind will be out of shape too. We need between 75 and 150 minutes of exercise a week to stay at our best.
How to help: Encourage physical activities. Establish a health and wellness committee, or sponsor gym memberships for your workers.
9. Check your email less
While it seems impossible to unplug from the internet nowadays, activities such as constantly checking your email or notifications increases stress, and breeds dissatisfaction. Minimizing the frequency at which they check for updates helps your employees focus and prioritize their most important tasks.
How to help: Set reasonable expectations for response times to emails. Disable push notifications on devices so employees need to check their email manually at the times that best suit them.
10. Take time to eat regularly
Your brain is the most energy-intensive organ in the human body. As such, you need to keep it well fed. Many stressed-out employees skip meals in favour of working, but eventually this will only be detrimental to their ability to work efficiently.
How to help: Make meal breaks mandatory, or encourage employees to take short snack breaks throughout the day if one meal break is not an option. You could even provide healthy foods, such as fruit and veggie platters.
11. Avoid music with lyrics
It’s well known that certain music, such as classical music, can help with cognitive faculties such as memory or focus. However, music with lyrics can often distract you from your work.
How to help: Choose office playlists with instrumental music, and educate your employees on the effect that lyrical music can have on attention.
12. Use natural lighting
Especially in computer-focused work environments, eye strain is a major concern. Poor lighting conditions can lead to headaches, migraines, and other health issues which are easily avoided by providing natural lighting conditions for your workers.
How to help: Use a workspace with windows, or allow for outside time during breaks and lunches.
13. Stay warm
It was long thought that colder temperatures, which can help keep you awake, would lead to more productive offices. In fact, temperatures below 20°C (68°F) lead to more errors and lower productivity overall.
How to help: Monitor your workspace temperature and adjust accordingly. If you cannot adjust the AC, create a dress code that allows for layers as needed.
As you can see, many environmental and policy-based factors can affect your employee output. Workers generally do not want to provide subpar work, but sometimes the pressures of the workplace can cause them to unintentionally do so. When you take into account these simple techniques to support employee well-being, you can help them be at their best, and help boost productivity for your business at the same time.