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So how can you create a healthy buzz of productivity around your office or workspace? What can you do to encourage employees to stay motivated and engaged with their work? First, let’s take a look at what productivity is, and then we’ll go over a few ideas for increasing productivity in your workplace.
What Is Employee Productivity?
Employee productivity is a measure of the efficiency and effectiveness of the work that employees do. When employee productivity is high, your workforce is producing high-quality work in a short amount of time.
There’s a fine line between busy and productive, but it’s an important distinction. Productive employees do great work that impacts the company—busy employees spend a lot of time on a lot of projects that may not be worth the investment.
How to Improve Employee Productivity in the Workplace
So how do you keep employees from merely being busy and motivate them to be productive? And, more importantly, how do you help employees who are neither busy nor productive? Here are a few ways to increase employee productivity.
1. Set Strict Rules for Communication
If your employees answer emails or chats when they’re off work, put a stop to it. Make sure every employee, from the lowest to the highest level, has time to relax and unwind. Keeping work-related communication strictly within business hours will help improve workforce productivity.
2. Offer Flexible Work Hours
Offer flexible work hours or work sites to fit different employee circumstances. For some people, a long commute can be a huge source of stress. For others, a 9 to 5 shift might make their lives more difficult. If you can, let employees choose what’s best for them. That choice can help eliminate stress, which raises productivity.
3. Offer Wellness Programs
Create wellness programs and then SUPPORT them. A lot of businesses have wellness programs, but many employees don’t take advantage of them. Participate in them yourself to set a good example, and incentivize employees to take part. Never make employees feel like they’re wasting time if they use work time to meditate, take walks, or exercise.
4. Provide Extra PTO for Mental Health Days
Encourage employees to take time off when they need it. A few days off each year to mitigate stress is much better than an employee quitting because the stress has built up too much.
5. Lower Overall Stress
Stress is extremely common for employees. While a certain amount of healthy stress is to be expected at work, unhealthy stress doesn’t have to be a part of your workplace. Remove any unwarranted stress within the workplace that can take a toll on employees’ mental and physical health.
6. Reduce Burnout
Don't let your employees get burned out. Burnout is created by prolonged feelings of work-related stress, and it creates feelings of disengagement and apathy. Research shows that 61% of employees are burned out on the job, which costs the U.S. $300 billion each year in absenteeism, turnover, and diminished productivity.
7. Give Employees Meaningful Work
Align workplace goals and missions with employee work. The lack of purpose or excitement at work will lead to employee disengagement, and studies have shown that 85% of employees are at least somewhat disengaged at work on a regular basis. When you align individual work with organizational purposes and values, employee engagement can increase by as much as 49%!
8. Give Employees Recognition
Create a culture of employee recognition that encourages collaboration and positivity. Did you know that 40% of employees would put more energy into their work if they were recognized more? When you create a culture that celebrates the people around you, everyone is happier and more excited to be there. When employees are engaged and happy at work, it can increase employee productivity increases by as much as 17%, and profitability increases by nearly 21%.
9. Offer Career Growth Opportunities
Provide learning and development opportunities. Employees will be feel more invested in the work they do. They’ll also and feel like you appreciate them more, which is the single highest driver of engagement!
10. Enhance Your Workplace Environment
When it comes to physical workplace conditions, make sure your office has plenty of natural light and plant life around each room. Ensure that everyone has ergonomic office equipment (whether they work from the office or from home).
11. Provide Training
Ensure that employees get any and all training they need to do their jobs. Employees who don’t know how to effectively do their jobs will be more stressed and less productive. Having a good onboarding process can help show your support for mental well-being while preventing costly mistakes.
12. Stop Micromanaging
Learn how each employee prefers to be managed. Don’t micromanage employees who work best with limited oversight. And don’t ignore employees who crave additional guidance. Employees who are comfortable at work, both physically and mentally, will be empowered to do their best work.
Productivity and Work-Related Stress Statistics
Over 41 % of employees say that stress makes them feel less productive. And in today’s world of pandemics and wars, stress is all too easy to run into. Here are some eye-opening statistics:
- 83% of U.S. workers suffer from work-related stress.
- 62% of employees report high levels of stress and extreme fatigue.
- 41% of employees cite their workload as the source of their stress. 34% cite people issues.
- Companies spend 75% of an employee’s annual salary to cover for lost productivity due to stress.
Why Does It Matter?
Productivity is one of the most commonly thrown around buzzwords in the business world, and for good reason. Productive employees will get more work done more quickly which makes the company more profitable. Who doesn’t want that? Most leaders hope that their employees work away, always organized and productive, just like bees in a hive making sweet, sweet honey.
However, recent research shows that employees at many organizations around the world are more like sloths than bees, slowly doing the bare minimum level of work. To put it in perspective, only 7% of employees feel productive in the workplace, and studies show that office employees are only productive for 31% of their workday (or about three hours each day). This doesn’t mean that employees are lazy. Unproductive people are more a result of the workplace than their own lack of engagement.
Let’s Get Productive
When businesses are focused on improving workforce productivity before anything else, they’re putting the cart in front of the horse. It’s a backward thought process that can damage their culture and, ironically, their productivity.
However, when you put effort into transforming your culture into an employee-centric environment, your people will have the energy, freedom, and comfort to hit their productivity goals out of the park.