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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

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Reference

More by this author

Dinnie Muslihat

Writer, content marketer & productivity enthusiast

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

More on Building Habits

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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