If you’re grappling with improving workplace productivity, you are not alone. Many business owners, managers, and employees share your struggles.
There are multiple benefits to improving productivity, but increasing productivity at work is easier said than done.
Increasing workplace productivity boosts profitability, utilises resources better, and grows employee engagement. Strategies to increase productivity in the workplace include adhering to deadlines, taking breaks at work, embellishing your office, exercising, and tracking time.
In this post, we’ll define workplace productivity and show you how to increase productivity in the workplace. Furthermore, we’ll highlight the benefits of productivity in the workplace.
What is Workplace Productivity?
Workplace productivity refers to the output of your workforce over a specified period. It measures the production volume from staff vis-à-vis the costs incurred over a defined time. In short, it’s the speed at which you realise results.
In a factory, for example, workplace productivity relates to the products manufactured by employees working over a specified time. If you’re in the service industry, it refers to the number of customer enquiries handled during a given period.
Boosting workplace productivity means achieving more results faster with the same staff numbers.
It’s important to note that what workplace productivity looks like will differ from company to company and from role to role. You cannot prescribe the same measurement for people whose jobs differ.
The Basics of Productivity
There are fundamental principles on which workplace productivity rests, and they are as follows:
- Scheduling your tasks
- Managing your time well by doing the most challenging tasks when you’re most productive.
- Having a task execution strategy
- Cultivating daily habits for productivity
- Reducing or eliminating distractions in the workplace
Benefits of Productivity in the Workplace
Establishing a working environment that promotes optimum output from your staff goes a long way in taking your business to the next level.
Here are some top advantages of improving productivity in the workplace:
- An improved bottom line for the business
- Increased productivity leads to more revenue; organisations with more revenue present more growth opportunities
- Better use of available resources (space, human capital, raw materials, machines, infrastructure)
- Improved customer service
- Boosts employee satisfaction and engagement; increased productivity and better profits lead to more competitive remuneration
- Cultivates a culture of goal-oriented working
- Lowers the cost of production by reducing overheads
How Do I Improve my Workplace Productivity?
Whether self-employed, working from home or employed in a multinational, these time-tested tips will help you increase productivity in the workplace.
Here are strategies to increase productivity in the workplace:
1. Track Time
As an employer, take stock of your team’s output during working hours. What gets measured gets done. You need to examine staff productivity data to establish individual productivity and to identify those struggling to meet targets and who need further training.
You can employ tracking software to measure performance. Additionally, benchmark your output against peers in your industry to fairly judge your performance and boost improvement.
The performance indicators you use must be reflective of the job the employee is completing. A sales employee may sell less than what you would like, but are there other aspects of their performance that are worth taking stock of? This could include their quality of customer service - this will ensure that you retain your customers. Not everything can be measured and performance is more than just a number.
2. Take Breaks
Working in a fast-paced environment can lead to burnout and fatigue. Work pressure can drain the body and mind, hence the need for spaces to enjoy a break and recharge.
Forward-leaning companies are incorporating recreational spaces where you can sit back on a recliner and reflect, nap briefly on a hammock, play a game of chess, or take up a vigorous workout.
Taking a 15-minute break works wonders in refreshing the mind with vitality and creativity. You’ll stay alert and minimise workplace errors and accidents. That break isn’t a time-waster but is a propeller for accelerated performance.
3. Decorate and Personalise Your Work Area
The visual appeal of your working area affects your morale, engagement, and productivity at work.
A neatly organised, clutter-free, and decorated working space lifts your spirits and keeps you motivated. Working in a run-down office with dysfunctional amenities can be stressful and affects productivity.
Even if you work from home, take the time to create an inviting and motivating ambience around your work area to spur productivity.
4. Utilise Your Commute Time
As you commute to work, you can make the most of the moment by thinking of how to tackle projects or reach out to clients and colleagues by phone or email.
Consuming motivational, recreational, or resourceful online content as you drive to work also sets the tone for a productive day ahead.
5. Commit to Meeting Deadlines
Research has revealed that setting deadlines is a key performance driver and one of the best ways to increase productivity in the workplace. Deadlines motivate commitment and fast-track output.
Meeting deadlines is a sign of commitment to the objectives of an organisation. More effective competitors can easily outpace a business with a reputation for missing deadlines. Workers who commit to deadlines are perceived as dependable assets to the business.
Devise ways of ensuring that employees consistently meet deadlines at the workplace.
6. Stay Healthy
If you’re in a typical workplace, you likely spend most of your working time behind a keyboard and screen. You must deliberately confront the sedentary lifestyle by taking the time to exercise at work or off work.
Moreover, having a balanced diet and sleeping well will help in your rejuvenation. Make it a habit to occasionally take health breaks to stretch out and walk around your work area.
This kind of self care will ensure that your morale remains high and reduces the likelihood and severity of anxiety or depression. Being mentally well is essential not only for productivity but also for you.
7. Be Proactive
Protect your business by monitoring areas where you are prone to risks. Anticipate and fix such vulnerable areas to avoid or minimise the possibility of business failure in the future.
It’s difficult foreseeing certain risks in business. Nonetheless, you must stay vigilant by watching industry trends and being abreast with the regulatory landscape so that you’re not flat-footed whenever there are impactful changes.
Being proactive provides a safety net for your business when the unexpected happens and increases workplace productivity.
8. Use Time Cycles
Boost productivity by breaking up your working time into 90-minute sessions, punctuated with short 10-15 minute recreation breaks. Ensure accelerated input within the working sessions to realise goals before taking the health breaks.
If you do this, you will experience consistent quality output with reduced burnout.
What is the most effective way to increase productivity?
The following are tested and proven ways to increase productivity:
- Focus on one task at a time.
- Set SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound).
- Work on the most significant tasks when you’re at your best.
- Take breaks.
- Draw up a to-do list for the next day.
- Delegate tasks appropriately.
- Avoid distractions.
- Do away with unproductive meetings.
What are the factors that affect productivity?
Below are factors that affect productivity:
- Employee motivational factors
- Skills and training of staff to accomplish tasks
- Technical factors such as the adoption of technology to automate repetitive tasks
- Quality of supervision from management
- Workplace appropriateness for productivity
- Time management
- Quality of tools for productivity
What causes a lack of productivity?
Below are some causes of a lack of productivity:
- Inadequate employee training
- A disengaged workforce
- A poor working environment
- Ineffective work processes
Are productivity and efficiency in the workplace the same?
Although efficiency and productivity are essential for your business to thrive, they aren’t the same.
Efficiency is a qualitative measure that refers to the resources workers need to commit to a workflow to produce goods or services. On the other hand, workplace productivity is a quantitative measure that relates to the speed with which workers produce goods or services over a specified time.
Take the First Step Towards Productivity
Another great way to increase your productivity is to master the skills for applications you use constantly. Best practices will shave valuable hours off your week. Check out our broad range of Microsoft courses such as MS Project, starting with our Beginner program, as well as our other offerings to start your journey to productivity.