People sometimes wonder what exactly productivity at work means, how it can be ascertained, the benefits of having a conducive environment, how to improve productivity, etc.
Productivity in the workplace relates to how efficiently your workers accomplish your company’s goals.
In some cases, it can be ascertained by reviewing the amount of work your staff carry out within a certain number of hours or amount of labor cost.
It could be the speed at which your workers produce a product at the factory, handle technical support calls for a tech firm or serve customers at a restaurant.
Benefits of a Productive Workplace
Our workplace encompasses more than the employee lounge, office area and lobby. Policies, resources, professional relationships, and company culture also fashion the environment in which we work.
Any effective and successful business understands the importance of productivity in the workplace.
Being productive helps the firm increase and utilize the capacity of the human resources it has. Most productive companies have happy and healthy employees, which are the basis of a successful organization.
A productive workplace not only benefits the workforce but also customers and investors.
When your employees manage their time and produce work without defects, you get a greater output for your labor and materials costs. Ultimately, this increases profitability, reduces waste and satisfies investors.
In addition, employees tend to feel better about their work and have better morale in a productive environment. This can lead to employees providing better customer service, attending work regularly and staying motivated in their work.
Productivity in the workplace will often translate into good customer service and interaction.
This total client experience is the key to satisfying customers and clients, and almost all highly productive companies use this to gain customer loyalty.
When a customer is loyal to your business, they will share their experience with others, which is a marketing advantage coming out of high levels of productivity.
Effects of Low Productivity at Work
Low productivity in the workplace refers to a condition where one or more workers complete tasks, processes, production or sales inefficiently.
Low productivity has a number of negative impacts on a workplace, including economic effects on profitability and systemic implications for worker morale.
When your workplace is not productive, you’ll usually see a negative financial impact in the form of higher costs for labor and supplies.
For example, your employees might take longer to complete one task or create one product, and resulting in a lower output of goods or services.
Low work efficiency also harms your company’s competitiveness and can cause its place in the market to suffer if your competitors create more value at a lower cost than you do.
Factors low productivity at the workplace can cause include:
Productivity and profit have a strong correlation. The people and equipment required for production cost a certain amount of money.
When these resources produce a relatively low amount of goods, services or sales for the money spent on them, the profit margin for the company is low.
In some cases, company leaders react by implementing salary freezes or even cuts.
These measures may stem the tide of rising costs, but they don’t do much to increase productivity. Managers must explore cultural solutions to compel higher production.
Downsizing and Low Morale
Low productivity also contributes to downsizing, which most often means layoffs.
When a company has a broad productivity problem, leaders may respond by letting a number of random workers go. This doesn’t do much to improve productivity, but it cuts labor costs.
However, the employees left after such moves often suffer from low morale based on lost relationships and fear of losing their own jobs.
A better approach is to set goals with employees and work teams and address productivity shortfalls on a worker-by-worker basis.
Work Avoidance and Turnover
Low productivity and low motivation often go hand-in-hand.
Workers who don’t care to optimize productivity on the job are also likely to skip out whenever possible.
Companies with low productivity often suffer from high rates of absenteeism and turnover.
Unmotivated, low-producing workers may call in sick periodically based on a limited perception of the value of their roles.
Turnover results when employees aren’t motivated or don’t feel that their contributions are valued.
Improved training to instill confidence and customized motivational strategies that match each worker may help.
Suffocating Benchmarks and Standards
Rigid production benchmarks and performance standards are common responses of some company leaders to broad productivity problems.
For dedicated employees who already perform well, benchmarks provide a quantified target to reach. However, employees already struggling with motivation to work hard often wilt under the pressure of challenging benchmarks.
Collectively, the pinch felt by such workers only exacerbates the problems of low morale and poor productivity.
A manager must find the distinct factors that motivate each worker for such benchmarks to succeed.
Causes of Low Productivity
Having low productivity in the workplace is not something uncommon.
Researches show that employees are only 60% as productive in their workplaces as they could be.
So, why is this happening? See some of the most common reasons why employees may suffer from low productivity levels at work.
A big issue that causes low productivity is workplace stress.
When employees are being pursued by job-related anxieties, they lose concentration, get distracted and are unable to complete their tasks in the best possible way.
They may jump from one task to another, thinking about how to best utilize their time and finish as much work as possible.
Another reason for the increased stress levels in an organization is when your team members are being overburdened with too many tasks at once.
Imagine seeing your colleagues constantly distracted by the next task that they need to work on and not being able to focus their attention on one thing.
Do you think that they will be productive? I doubt it.
Uncomfortable Office Furniture
Traditional office furniture is often uncomfortable for many due to their rigid design constraints – the default is supposed to be a one-size-fits-all solution.
Many offices take advantage of bulk-buying cheaply made office chairs because they believe they are making purchases which won’t hurt their bottom line.
In the short term, this may be true – what they are actually doing is hurting both themselves and the employees.
Many jobs nowadays require sitting for a long period of time.
Sitting in an office chair that is uncomfortable and not ergonomic can also produce negative effects on your health.
Picture the last time you had to sleep on an uncomfortable couch or bed, how long did it take you to fall asleep? You were likely tossing and turning to find the right spot.
The same principle applies to an office chair; if you are uncomfortable you will have the urge to move around and try to adjust yourself.
A distraction such as this can make can take you roughly 20 minutes to refocus yourself on the task at hand.
Lack of Sense of Belonging
An important reason for low employee productivity might be the fact that they do not feel that they belong with the company that they are part of.
It is important for every CEO or senior manager to make sure that the environment in their business is welcoming to new hires and does not make them feel underappreciated.
Before hiring you should communicate the principles and values of your company first to make sure that everybody shares and will follow them in the future.
Otherwise, the probability of your new workforce being less productive than the rest will increase, just because they will feel that they are not in the right place.
Lack of Recognition
Providing employees with acknowledgment of the good work that they have done is one of the easiest management tasks. However, it is also as easily neglected.
When the workers at one organization are not being recognized for the efforts that they put in, they get demotivated, which decreases their productivity.
Once this happens, CEOs will start facing the problem of unhappy employees, whose attention will not be directed towards doing their work in the best possible way.
Instead, they will be sending out resumes and applying for different jobs.
Toxic Workplace Behavior
Setting up rules for good behavior between people in your organization is crucial to their productivity.
You may be thinking that bullying in the workplace is a thing of the past, however; there are still many employees that suffer from it.
Often, toxic behavior in the workplace happens because there are some people trying to sabotage and manipulate the work environment.
This can be more often seen in bigger organizations, where some employees use sneaky methods in order to advance their careers and climb higher the corporate ladder.
This type of behavior will make the affected team members unhappy, which will force them to think about their position in the company in the long term.
Do you think that people will remain in your company if they do not see a future in it? I seriously doubt it.
Damaged Organizational Structure
Another major reason for employees’ low productivity could be the bad organizational structure within a company. This might take many forms but usually happens when there is a failure to optimize workflow in the best possible way.
Very often, there are situations, especially in bigger organizations, where there is a lack of coherence between departments.
All of the individual parts of one company must work towards the achievement of the same goal.
Even if there is a small confusion regarding who is responsible for what, then the probability of having low productivity in the workplace will increase significantly.
Too Many Meetings
Having meetings is an integral part of any company because this is how ideas for business growth are being generated, different forecasts – discussed and team performances – evaluated.
In many cases, however, organizations tend to schedule meetings between employees for even the smallest cases. This is a wasteful activity that consumes a lot of the time of your workers and thus leaves them unproductive.
Another major reason for the low productivity levels in the workplace is poor management.
Researches show that nearly 80% of employees have experienced bad management, which demotivates them to give their best for the company that they work for.
There are still many managers in organizations who tend to micromanage their subordinates and take the form of bosses whose only job is to require more and more.
In today’s world, this tactic does not work any longer. Businesses nowadays do not require bosses but instead leaders who drive change and carry their companies forward.
Ways to Help Employees Be More Productive
Consider how your business is currently operating, and be open to the potential of changing the way you work.
Remember that it’s equally as important to make short-term and long-term lists as it is to prioritize tasks, especially in a small business.
Is there a better way that staff members could structure their day to enable them to achieve their daily goals?
Provide each member of staff with a plan and encourage each to make a list to ensure he or she completes prioritized jobs on time and stays on task all day, resulting in efficient working.
Delegation comes with an element of risk, but increased responsibility is important for improving the morale and job satisfaction of staff.
Responsibilities should be given to qualified employees that have a proven track record with success in a certain field, and they should be trusted to perform these tasks well.
If employees are given the opportunity to gain skills and leadership experience, it will be of great benefit to the organization and also provide the employees with a sense of achievement and direction in their own careers.
Social media can be a huge productivity killer, but it isn’t practical to have a no-phone policy.
Instead, employees should be urged to be focused and engaged while allowing them some breathing room.
Employees could be encouraged to turn off their mobiles but take regular breaks during which they can be free to check their phones. This will ensure that the time spent at their desk is more productive.
Provision of the Right Tools and Equipment
Providing employees with the right tools and equipment is important so they can perform their duties efficiently and on time.
There’s nothing more counterproductive than spending time waiting for paperwork to print because you haven’t got a fast printing device.
High-quality, modern programs and equipment make a massive difference not only to the workforce but also to how the company is perceived.
Improved workplace furniture
Equinox Ergonomic office chairs are recommended for jobs that require seating over long periods of time.
They conform to each worker’s specific shape, support the spine, and keep tissues and joints in a neutral position.
Overall, research has shown that switching to ergonomic office furniture can:
- Reduce employee absenteeism
- Reduce employee mistakes
- Keep workers on task
- Increase employee engagement
- Improve job satisfaction
- Boost employee morale
- Demonstrate a company’s commitment to safety
- Better Work Productivity
Not only do our ergonomic office chairs offer workers health benefits, but, by reducing stress and distractions, they also make it easier to stay focused on the job.
Focused employees are more productive employees — better able to make quick responses and fewer mistakes.
A common problem for managers is having no clear, strong sense of whether their employees are high-performing or not.
Do the employees need an incentive to stay on track? Help them by offering goals that are achievable.
Clear direction should be provided to supervisors and employees to help clarify expectations.
This helps increase productivity, as there would be a clear focus and clear goals.
Encourage, motivate and reward.
Employees should be told they are doing a good job however when need be – there should be constructive criticism.
Most importantly, personal incentives for top performance should be offered from time to time.
The success of certain employees should be indicated to all staff to cultivate a sense of fulfillment to motivate others.
When employees are rewarded and motivated to work harder, they’re more likely to put increased productivity high up on their to-do list.
Ensure Employees Are Happy
A stressful workplace will not yield results.
Workers that constantly operate under highly stressful conditions are found to be less productive and have higher levels of disengagement and absenteeism … They need to be happy!
Showing employees how much the company appreciates, respects and values them on a personal level is gratifying – and often overlooked.
If you want your staff to work to the best of their ability, try out a few of these tips and enjoy the benefits.
Optimization of Meetings
A better approach to having countless not-so-necessary meetings would be to use daily stand-up meetings where all staff divided into teams go through tasks that have been finished, are in progress or will soon get started, thus achieving a perfect synchronization between one another.
This strategy will keep senior management up to date on what’s going on inside their organization and employees will not waste time in thinking what is expected from them.
Meetings should be used for discussing future steps and emerging problems, and not for debating tasks, which are already well known or completed.
Such sessions are often considered a waste of time.
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