Last Updated on January 6, 2021

11 Things You Can Do to Increase Employee Productivity

11 Things You Can Do to Increase Employee Productivity

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Americans spend 8.8 hours a day in the workplace.[1] That is even more than the 7.7 hours we spend sleeping. The fact is we now spend more time with our co-workers than we do with our family, which means they have the opportunity to affect our mood on a daily basis, so employee productivity is a must.

A motivated employee creates a positive environment in the workplace, while an unmotivated employee is destructive and demoralizing.

Here are some effective ways to help you motivate an employee and boost employee performance.

1. Create a Family-Like Atmosphere

We are not talking about treating an employee the same way you would treat your mother or your brother. This is about creating an atmosphere where employees feel safe and respected.

Make sure your employees know that regardless of how you feel about them, you always have their backs and are willing to guide them through failures and help them celebrate successes.

If you want an invincible team, make them feel safe first.

2. Know Your Employees’ Background

Our motivation for work is a huge factor on how we will perform in the workplace. A college student working in the daytime and going to school at night has a different motivation for working than that of a single mother having to feed two kids.


Understanding your employees’ motivation will allow you to structure a support system that is both beneficial and motivating for each employee and help you increase employee productivity all around.

3. Train and Retrain

An employee is more likely to be productive when they understand exactly what is expected of them and are given the training to perform such a task.

Training gives confidence, and confidence leads to employee productivity.

Remember, after some years, an employee will likely need to be retrained on any new tools or processes being employed at the office. Offering this will help them continue to grow and stay motivated to do their best work.

4. Use Small Incentives

You will be surprised at how powerful a $10 gift card can be in the workplace. It has little to do with the money or the monetary value; it is related to how employees are recognized for their achievements. When they receive a small reward, they feel that they are being appreciated, which is a great way to motivate anyone.

5. Listen to Opinions

The final say should always come from superiors, but you should always encourage employees to share their thoughts and opinions and genuinely listen when they do. Employee engagement is a must if you want to increase productivity.

Valuing the opinions and listening to the suggestions of employees before making a decision will show them that they are part of a team and will give them a sense of contribution to the company.


Employees work better when they feel that their voice is being heard, as they will be more interested in contributing to the cause of a company.

6. Treat Employees as Individuals

Employees have lives outside of the workplace, and these should always take precedence over work[2].

That single mother you employ may not always have a babysitter lined up. The college student may have a final that he must complete to graduate.

Employee Engagement

    If you want to improve employee productivity, be respectful and understanding when life happens to your employees, and you will have an appreciative and productive worker.

    7. Give Them the Right Equipment

    Make sure that the everyday equipment in the office works. There is nothing worse than having an employee say that they couldn’t complete their daily tasks because “the computer was down.”

    Do not give them any excuses to slack off, but also be understanding when there are office mishaps that prevent them from getting things done.


    8. Answer Questions

    An employee may feel it is better to do something wrong than to ask how to do something right for fear of looking incompetent.

    You are the person in charge for a reason. Hammer the point home that asking questions is a good thing, and whenever an employee does come to you with a question, respond with patience and a clear, direct answer.

    Answering questions clearly and in a timely manner will keep employee productivity high.

    9. Celebrate Victories, No Matter How Small

    When an employee sees that every positive contribution to the team is acknowledged, he or she knows that their actions count and that what they do is really making a difference.

    Celebrations don’t need to include cake and champagne. It can be a simple “Good job” and a pat on the back. As long as you’re recognizing victories, it will help motivate each person at the workplace.

    10. Be a Role Model

    When people see the boss working, they will also work. When they see the boss slack off, they will do the same. A workforce will always mirror their immediate supervisors, so be the kind of worker that you want your employees to model in order to increase employee productivity.

    This involves a good deal of self-reflection, so make sure you’re analyzing your own work ethic alongside that of your employees.


    11. Treat Employees Equally

    There is nothing worse in the workplace than seeing employees not being treated as equals. We all have experienced having a peer who was viewed as the “favorite.” We also remember how discouraging and resentful that made us feel.

    If you are a boss and you have favorites, you run the risk of having a split workforce.

    In a time when competition for work is at its highest, we must all remember that we are being watched. That includes bosses, managers, and supervisors. In order to discourage a cutthroat environment, offer the same amount of feedback and attention to each employee, and be careful to avoid choosing favorites.

    The Bottom Line

    Anne Mulcahy puts it well when she says,

    “Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person – not just an employee – are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled. Satisfied employees mean satisfied customers, which leads to profitability.” -Anne M. Mulcahy, Former CEO of Xerox Corporation

    Employees who have superiors that care will ultimately be more productivity and content at their place of work. If you’re interested in increasing employee productivity, create a work environment where each team member feels heard and respected. Everything will fall into place from there.

    More on Increasing Productivity



    Featured photo credit: Clayton Cardinalli via


    [1] Bureau of Labor Statistics: American Time Use Survey
    [2] Get Smarter: How to Improve Employee Engagement

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    Paul John Sardoma

    A light-hearted Christian perspective on situations and events that we face on an everyday basis.

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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.


    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!


    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.


    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.


    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.

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    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via



    [1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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