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7 Strategies to Increase Productivity in the Workplace

7 Strategies to Increase Productivity in the Workplace

As an employer, you know that increasing productivity in the workplace can be very beneficial for your business which is why you always strive to get the best out of your employees.

You also know that it’s not always the easiest thing to do.

Productivity in the workplace refers to how efficiently and effectively your employees achieve the goals and tasks set out for them.

Depending on the type of business you run, what constitutes as employee productivity may look a little different from company to company. Increased productivity could mean achieving a higher customer satisfaction rate, meeting earlier deadlines, or creating products in a more timely manner.

It’s worth noting that productivity shouldn’t always be measured by the amount of hours someone works. Instead, it should be measured by the work they put into their hours.

For instance, just because someone stays back and does a lot of overtime, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re being more productive than someone who has only worked the standard 40 hours. They both may have achieved the same amount of work, but it just took the former longer to do.

So, how can you increase productivity in the workplace? Here are seven strategies to try out:

1. Arm Employees with the Right Tools

Providing your employees with the right tools to do their work is a given. But the type of tools you arm them with can make a world of difference to how they work.

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An example of some tools you could use:

Be mindful when selecting tools and make sure you weigh up all of your options.

You may be inclined to go for the brand that is cheaper, but if it has less features and capabilities than one that costs a little bit more; then you may find that your employees will have to put in twice the effort or take twice as long to complete the task. Which, in the end, won’t save you as much as you had initially thought.

Here’re more productivity apps options you may want to consider: 18 Best Time Management Apps and Tools (2019 Updated)

2. Invest in Training and Development

As an employer, it’s in your best interest to ensure that your employees grow and develop while they work for you. Sometimes, the nature of a job may change and naturally, you’d want your employee to be able to keep up. Investing in training and development can ensure exactly that.

Not only is it beneficial for them, but it will be for the company as well. Up-skilling your employees will not only widen their skillset, but it can spur them to do a better job. Your willingness to invest in developing their skills shows them that you’re committed to their growth and development, which will hopefully inspire them to invest just as much hard work into the business.

A more knowledgeable and skilled group of employees can help shape the future of your business. In order to compete with the best and succeed, you have to keep up with trends and changing methods. Investing in training and development can encourage growth at an individual level and at the business level as well.

3. Avoid Micromanaging

In an employee’s eyes, there is nothing worse than an employer that micromanages.

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Not only does micromanaging demonstrate to your employees that you’re a little bit controlling, but it can also indicate that don’t trust them enough to do a good job on their own. And if there’s a lack of trust, then how can you expect your employees to be motivated to work productively?

Once you allocate a task or project, set your expectations, offer some instructions, then let your employees be. Always be available if they need to ask questions, but let them take control of their own work.

By not monitoring their every move and telling them what and how to do things, you’re allowing your employees to learn and to make decisions for themselves.

Another reason why you should steer clear from micromanaging is that by not hovering over your employees’ shoulders while they do complete their assigned tasks, it frees up time in your busy schedule to catch up on your own work.

4. Establish Transparency

Your employees are the heart and soul of your business, keeping them engaged and in the loop is imperative to the operation of your business.

A lack of transparency towards your employees can decrease productivity in the workplace. If you leave employees in the dark with company information, then it could damage any trust built.

The level of transparency that can be offered to employees is different in every business. What you choose to share is, of course, up to your discretion and business policy. However, at the very least, information such as results and updates on what’s going on in the business should be shared to encourage a productive workplace.

Conducting regular catch ups is a good way to keep transparency across the company. It doesn’t have to be anything formal or take too much time. Depending on the size of your business, you can do it by departments and do casual team huddles every morning where everyone discusses what they’re doing and employees are updated on company-wide news.

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5. Authorize Flexible Work

Being able to skip the rush hour commute and working in the comfort of your own home is something many office workers dream of. According to the Future Workforce Report 2019[1] which surveyed over 1,000 US hiring managers, remote work has become the new normal. By 2028, it is believed that 73% of departments will have remote workers with 33% of full-timers working remotely.

Implementing a flexible workforce can become an added perk that motivates employees to work more productively. Having this flexibility is not only attractive to those who want to work at home, but also for parents and employees who have other commitments that may run at the same time as regular work hours.

For the employees who’ve proven their hard work, you can reward them by negotiating a schedule which allows them to work remotely once a month or so. It establishes trust and gives them a sense of independence. It also opens up a new way of working which could possibly see a more productive result for some workers.

6. Promote Health and Wellbeing

Employees’ health and wellbeing plays a significant role in increasing productivity in the workplace. Your brain is like a muscle, the more it works without a proper rest, the quicker it can tire out. And the last thing you want is for one of your employees to tire out.

Drinking lots of water and maintaining a healthy diet is also important for keeping focus and concentrating at work. While you don’t want to dictate what your employees eat, you can encourage a balanced diet by providing healthy snacks such as fruit and nuts.

A great way to promote health and wellbeing is to make sure your employees actually take their lunch breaks and to do so away from their desks. Office workers lead sedentary lifestyles, so permit your employees time throughout the day to stretch their legs or to get some fresh air.

7. Create a Comfortable Workspace

Most people who work full-time in an office spend a huge chunk of their waking hours chained to their desks. Which is why it’s important to ensure that they’re working in comfortable surroundings.

Research has suggested that environmental factors such as lighting, temperature, and noise conditions can impact concentration and productivity in the workplace.[2] And employees who are happy with their physical environment are more likely to produce better results.

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As an employer, you can make arrangements to ensure that the office is organized for optimal productivity:

Check that there is fresh air and natural lighting coming from windows. If you don’t have the luxury of a window, install good quality light bulbs that don’t give off fluorescent lighting.

Another worthwhile investment is ergonomic equipment. While they seem expensive at first, it could actually save the business more in the long run. Think of the time and money saved on compensation for back problems or carpal tunnel syndrome.

Final Thoughts

There are many perks to increasing productivity in the workplace. It can drive profits, reduce operational costs, maximize resources, and improve customer service. Other notable things it can bring are a boost in employee engagement and an overall happy and healthy work environment.

Engaged employees are some of your business’s best asset. When an employee puts more effort and zeal into their work, they take pride in what they’re doing and are happy to be part of a team. Not only can this be economically beneficial, but it also reduces the chances of them moving onto another company.

Increasing productivity in the workplace is something every employer aspires to do, but it’s not always the easiest thing to deliver. You have to motivate your employees to do their job the most efficiently and the most effective way possible and to do that, you need strategies in place.

While the aforementioned seven may not magically transform your employees to be the most productive bunch overnight, implementing one or a few can drive them in the right direction.

More Articles About Workplace Productivity

Featured photo credit: Damian Patkowski via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Dinnie Muslihat

Writer, content marketer & productivity enthusiast

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Last Updated on July 13, 2020

How Not to Feel Overwhelmed at Work & Take Control of Your Day

How Not to Feel Overwhelmed at Work & Take Control of Your Day

Overwhelm is a pernicious state largely caused by the ever-increasing demands on our time and the distractions that exist all around us. It creeps up on us and can, in its extreme form, leave us feeling anxious, stressed and exhausted.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed at work, here are 6 strategies you can follow that will reduce the feeling of overwhelm; leaving you calmer, in control and a lot less stressed.

1. Write Everything down to Offload Your Mind

The first thing you can do when you begin to feel overwhelmed is to write everything down that is on your mind.

Often people just write down all the things they think they have to do. This does help, but a more effective way to reduce overwhelm is to also write down everything that’s on your mind.

For example, you may have had an argument with your colleague or a loved one. If it’s on your mind write it down. A good way to do this is to draw a line down the middle of the page and title one section “things to do” and the other “what’s on my mind”.

The act of writing all this down and getting it out of your head will begin the process of removing your feeling of overwhelm. Writing things down can really change your life.

2. Decide How Long It Will Take to Complete Your To-Dos

Once you have ‘emptied your head,’ go through your list and estimate how long it will take to complete each to-do.

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As you go through your list, you will find quite a few to-dos will only take you five or ten minutes. Others will take longer, often up to several hours.

Do not worry about that at this stage. Just focus on estimating how long you will need to complete each task to the best of your ability. Here’s How to Cultivate a More Meaningful To Do List.

3. Take Advantage of Parkinson’s Law

Now here’s a little trick I learned a long time ago. Parkinson’s Law states that work will fill the time you have available to complete it, and us humans are terrible at estimating how long something will take:((Odhable: Genesis of Parkinson’s Law))

    This is why many people are always late. They think it will only take them thirty minutes to drive across town when previous experience has taught them it usually takes forty-five minutes to do so because traffic is often bad but they stick to the belief it will only take thirty minutes. It’s more wishful thinking than good judgment.

    We can use Parkinson’s Law to our advantage. If you have estimated that to write five emails that desperately need a reply to be ninety minutes, then reduce it down to one hour. Likewise, if you have estimated it will take you three hours to prepare your upcoming presentation, reduce it down to two hours.

    Reducing the time you estimate something will take gives you two advantages. The first is you get your work done quicker, obviously. The second is you put yourself under a little time pressure and in doing so you reduce the likelihood you will be distracted or allow yourself to procrastinate.

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    When we overestimate how long something will take, subconsciously our brains know we have plenty of time and so it plays tricks on us and we end up checking reviews of the Apple Watch 4 or allow our colleagues to interrupt us with the latest office gossip.

    Applying a little time pressure prevents this from happening and we get more focused and more work done.

    4. Use the Power of Your Calendar

    Once you have your time estimates done, open up your calendar and schedule your to-dos. Go through your to-dos and schedule time on your calendar for doing those tasks. Group tasks up into similar tasks.

    For emails that need attention on your to-do list, schedule time on your calendar to deal with all your emails at once. Likewise, if you have a report to write or a presentation to prepare, add these to your calendar using your estimated time as a guide for how long each will take.

    Seeing these items on your calendar eases your mind because you know you have allocated time to get them done and you no longer feel you have no time. Grouping similar tasks together keeps you in a focused state longer and it’s amazing how much work you get done when you do this.

    5. Make Decisions

    For those things you wrote down that are on your mind but are not tasks, make a decision about what you will do with each one. These things are on your mind because you have not made a decision about them.

    If you have an issue with a colleague, a friend or a loved one, take a little time to think about what would be the best way to resolve the problem. More often than not just talking with the person involved will clear the air and resolve the problem.

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    If it is a more serious issue, then decide how best to deal with it. Talk to your boss, a colleague and get advice.

    Whatever you do, do not allow it to fester. Ignoring the problem will not make it go away. You need to make a decision to deal with it and the sooner you do so the sooner the problem will be resolved. (You can take a look at this guide on How To Make Good Decisions All The Time.)

    I remember long ago, when I was in my early twenties and had gone mad with my newly acquired credit cards. I discovered I didn’t have the money to pay my monthly bills. I worried about it for days, got stressed and really didn’t know what to do. Eventually, I told a good friend of mine of the problem. He suggested I called the credit card company to explain my problem. The next day, I plucked up the courage to call the company, explained my problem and the wonderful person the other end listened and then suggested I paid a smaller amount for a couple of months.

    This one phone call took no more than ten minutes to make, yet it solved my problem and took away a lot of the stress I was feeling at the time. I learned two very valuable lessons from that experience:

    The first, don’t go mad with newly acquired credit cards! And the second, there’s always a solution to every problem if you just talk to the right person.

    6. Take Some Form of Action

    Because overwhelm is something that creeps up on us, once we feel overwhelmed (and stressed as the two often go together), the key is to take some form of action.

    The act of writing everything down that is bothering you and causing you to feel overwhelmed is a great place to start. Being able to see what it is that is bothering you in a list form, no matter how long that list is, eases the mind. You have externalized it.

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    It also means rather than these worries floating around in a jumbled mess inside your head, they are now visible and you can make decisions easier about what to do about them. Often it could be asking a colleague for a little help, or it could be you see you need to allocate some focused time to get the work done. The important thing is you make a decision on what to do next.

    Overwhelm is not always caused by a feeling of having a lack of time or too much work, it can also be caused by avoiding a decision about what to do next.

    The Bottom Line

    Make a decision, even if it is to just talk to someone about what to do next. Making a decision about how you will resolve something on its own will reduce your feelings of overwhelm and start you down the path to a resolution one way or another.

    When you follow these strategies to can say goodbye to your overwhelm and gain much more control over your day.

    More Tips for Reducing Work Stress

    Featured photo credit: Andrei Lazarev via unsplash.com

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