Productivity is central to progress in any business – and yet sometimes it can seem elusive. If your workforce needs some support on this front there are many different ways that an employer can help to boost the productivity of a workforce, some of which are more predictable than others.
- Create the right working conditions. Ensuring that your employees are comfortable has a huge role to play. For example, one study found that an increase in environmental temperature from 68 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit increased output by 150%. Plus, exposure to natural daylight significantly improves worker wellbeing.
- Remind everyone to take regular breaks. There is a wealth of research now that backs up the idea that working for long periods without a break will actually make staff less productive in the long run.
- Offer flexibility over working hours. If it’s possible for your business it can be beneficial to give employees options when it comes to morning start times. According to one professor from the University of Colorado, 80% of us have work schedules that don’t fit with our internal clocks and we’re getting up too early and being less productive as a result.
- Rethink the way the business organises meetings. Today, the average employee spends twice as long in meetings than in the 1960s. It’s crucial to ensure that the meetings you’re scheduling are not wasting time or simply running on too long. Review your business’ meetings policy and streamline the schedule so that meetings are concise, effective and only take place when really required.
- Encourage greater collaboration. Working alone on a task or project is rarely as productive as when employees collaborate and work together. More hands make lighter work.
- Abolish perfectionist standards within your organisation. Allowing staff to make mistakes will actually encourage greater productivity. One study of academics found that those who were perfectionists were less productive than those who accepted that they were only human.
- Provide opportunities for activity. Aerobic exercise has been found to improve brain function and if your employees are active they are also much more likely to be healthy and motivated. Ensure that staff have time in their lives to do exercise, whether you establish a cycling to work scheme, offer gym benefits or create sports teams and running clubs for employees to join.
- Give staff options when it comes to being available on email. Stress can have a very negative impact on productivity and being constantly available via email is a big cause of stress. In fact, one study found that stress levels decrease when emails are only checked three times a day.
- Make sure your employees eat well. Food is essential to power the body and the brain and healthy choices can contribute significantly to how productive your people are.
Workforce productivity can be affected by a number of different factors, many of which can be positively influenced by the way your business is run. For employers there are a wealth of opportunities to help make your workforce more productive, from environmental conditions to the culture of the business itself.