Procrastination is the scourge of the modern workplace. From kitchen chatter to illicit Facebook sessions, worker productivity is under attack from countless distractions. Encouraging your employees to focus on the task at hand can prove challenging, but there are several ways to successful increase the productivity of your workforce.
Before you try to improve general levels of productivity in the workplace, identify those teams or employees who are already falling short of their peers. Although there is no metric to measure productivity by, you can compare performance from month to month.
If one of your workers or departments isn’t performing as well as in previous months, assess the situation to find out why. Has the team received new members? Do they have the tools to do their job effectively? Are there any external reasons why they might not be focusing on their work?
If there are no obvious explanations for the drop in productivity, you may need to your employee about your concerns. Frame the conversation in supportive terms, and ask them if there is anything you can do to help them in their role. Taking a proactive interest in workforce development is a great way to improve employee satisfaction, which in turn can boost productivity levels.
Unless you manage a sales team, financial incentives are rarely a good idea. Bonuses – especially if made public – can lead to resentment in the office. However, providing your employees with less divisive incentives is a good way to improve productivity.
When deciding on a ‘prize’, find out what matters most to your employees. Physical gestures, like a box of chocolates or a bottle of wine, are always appreciated. Alternatively, you could give them a week of early finishes, or an extra day off work. The financial value isn’t particularly important – the goal here is to show your employee that you value their work.
The target – a set number of sales made, for example – should be ambitious, to encourage your employees to work hard. However, it also needs to be achievable, as nobody will strive towards the unattainable.
Create Opportunity for Growth
Employees like to feel they’re climbing the career ladder, not sitting in a stagnant position with no way of progressing. If you don’t provide opportunities for growth, productivity levels will soon begin to subside. You run the risk of alienating your work force, or even driving them out to other companies.
Of course, you can’t promote every worker, as you need staff at all levels of the business. However, training is a good way to keep workers feeling as though they have something to strive towards. This in turn will raise productivity, and will also improve the quality of work being produced.
Consult your employees about upcoming training programmes. This will give them a greater sense of responsibility, and they will be more likely to actively participate in the training given. Ask them where they feel they have room for improvement, and also whether there are any skills they would like to build on.
This post was written by Anne Haimes, director of AH Interiors. Anne is a passionate interior designer and seasoned business owner with over 20 years’ experience, based in Henley-on-Thames, England.