If increasing employee productivity was easy, then every workforce would operate at close to 100%. However, the reality is that employee productivity figures are nowhere near that. So what steps can you take to give your team’s productivity a boost?
In this article, we’ll take a quick look at why productivity is so important before providing some practical steps that you can take to increase the productivity of your team.
Why is Workplace Productivity So Important?
There has long been a ‘productivity puzzle’ that governments and businesses have been desperate to solve. Yet, despite having access to more advanced technological tools than ever before, employee productivity growth has been slowing in several sectors.
This is a big problem because the productivity of employees can make or break the success of businesses and even entire industries. There are two factors that determine how successful employees are at their work:
- Their productivity – the amount of work they complete
- Their effectiveness – the amount of effort they put into that work
In an ideal world, employees would put the maximum effort into their work and finish as much as quickly as possible. That would help businesses to grow and become more profitable, but in many cases, that’s just not happening. So what can you do about it?
How Can You Increase Your Employees’ Productivity?
1. Invest in a project management tool
Employees who do not have the right tools for their jobs grow increasingly frustrated and decreasingly productive. That’s why it’s so important to be aware of the tools that are available and how they can help.
Project management software is designed to make it easier for teams to work together, make better decisions and become more efficient. Some of the biggest roadblocks to more productive teams are routine tasks such as emails, meetings and ‘busywork’ – that is, the work that keeps people busy but has little value.
That’s where project management software, including tools such as Scoro, can help. They make it easy to monitor your team’s workflow so you can determine your team’s billable and non-billable hours, check your team’s utilization rates and ensure accountability for the time spent on client work. That allows you to identify your top performers and understand where productivity improvements can be made.
2. Optimize meetings
Meetings, or more accurately inefficient and unnecessary meetings, are the biggest productivity killers in the workplace. They cause employees to lose an average of 31 hours a month. That’s four working days every month that could be spent on productive and billable tasks.
Here are a few simple steps that you can take to optimize your meetings:
- Only hold essential meetings
- Reduce the number of meeting attendees and only invite vital employees
- Limit each meeting to 15-20 minutes – that’s enough to cover the important points.
3. Invest in employee learning opportunities
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, there is a direct correlation between employers giving staff access to learning opportunities and an increase in employee productivity. However, unnecessary training can be a productivity killer in itself, so any learning opportunities must provide employees with skills and knowledge that will enhance their performance.
That can include task-specific software training and hands-on training that enables employees to learn as they go. Training that allows employees to learn at their own pace can also be very effective as it gives them more time on complicated topics and allows them to test out their newfound skills.
4. Give back to your team
If you treat your employees as robots whose sole purpose is to make your business more profitable, then it’s little wonder that they’re not productive. Employment is a two-way street and to get the most from your employees, you have to show them that you care.
Allowing flexible schedules so employees can work around their existing commitments and giving them the option to work remotely some or all of the time can provide a big boost to their work-life balance. In turn, that ensures that when employees are working, they’re more engaged, more productive and fully focused on the task at hand.
5. Set achievable goals
You can’t expect employees to be productive if they don’t have a clear, defined and achievable goal to work towards. Too often, employees are given goals that are too broad or difficult to measure – or worse still, they are given a goal but then saddled with lots of smaller, unnecessary tasks that prevent them from achieving it.
Following the SMART criteria is a simple way to set employees goals that are:
Ask yourself whether a goal meets all of these requirements before you set it. If it doesn’t, then think about how you can tweak it so it does.
Increase Productivity and Grow Your Business
If you think that all workforces are unproductive, then think again. While productivity is a big problem in many workplaces, there are relatively simple steps that you can take to fix it. Putting these productivity hacks to good use will help you gain the edge on the competition and fuel your business’s growth. Here are eight more ways to boost productivity and give your business the edge.
You may also like: Four Simple Ways to Improve Employee Productivity
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