In 2019, Microsoft Japan decided to give their employees a 4 day work week without decreasing their salary. The consequence of this drastic initiative speaks for itself. Workers became 40% more productive than before. What can we learn from this? It certainly shows that working longer hours doesn’t necessarily lead to finishing more things. However, time isn’t the only aspect to consider when it comes to improving your workforce performance. You need to assess all the factors that can affect your staff productivity. For example, the workplace environment, the organisational processes, and the quality of the interactions between employees can truly have an impact on efficiency. So what can you do to trigger more productivity? At deskbird, our goal is not only to create the best hybrid work software, but we also want to support you in building a successful employee-centric business. For this reason, here is a complete guide with 11 key actions to boost employee productivity.
What is employee productivity?
To put it simply, employee productivity measures how much work one can deliver in a certain amount of time. Nevertheless, it’s important to dig a bit deeper into this concept as it’s a lot about both employee input and output. Not only does the time spent on a task matter but so does the level of energy and of engagement employees dedicate to it. The goal is to deliver a good product or service and, most importantly, add value to it.
Decades ago, workplace productivity was based on the misleading idea that to be more productive workers had to work longer, today things are different. As Microsoft Japan’s initiative has confirmed, productivity is not only about time. Yet, so many other factors play a big role in gaining efficiency, like providing the right workplace technology, taking care of employee well-being, providing the opportunity for hybrid work and much more. We have gathered the 11 most important topics that can help to improve your employee productivity.
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How to improve workforce performance in 11 steps?
1. Focus on employee centricity
It is no surprise to see big companies, such as Google or HubSpot, continuously adopting more and more employee-first initiatives. One of the key changes that we see in the world of work is the adoption of a more employee-centric approach. The workforce can drive the destiny of a business, towards success or failure. These large organisations clearly understand this. Focusing on the needs of your workforce is the first step to enhancing productivity. When people feel they are cared for , listened to and recognised, they’re naturally more engaged, motivated and therefore more productive.
2. Create a positive workplace culture
As we are talking about how people feel at work, the culture of the workplace also plays a big part in the way employees operate. What is the type of corporate culture that prevails in your company? Do you let it grow organically or do you constantly work on it to make it better? This cultural aspect has an impact not only on your image but also on your employees’ experience and well-being. Businesses with a negative workplace culture tend to see a higher employee turnover and a lack of engagement from those who stay. Building a positive workplace culture is very important if you want to attract talent and keep your employees happy and motivated.
3. Make work flexibility your priority
Every single one of us has different personalities and ways of working. For example, some people truly need to be surrounded by their colleagues to be motivated while others prefer to stay alone in a quiet place to get things done. While some people can tackle their duties as soon as they get out of bed, others need a coffee first to start the day slowly and then rock later in the day. For this reason, flexibility is a must when you want to develop a productive workforce. This can easily be achieved by implementing a hybrid work model and flexitime. Nobody knows your employees better than themselves. Let them schedule their own timetable and see their output level growing!
4. Prioritise smartly
It isn’t always easy for employees to know which mission is most important and which task to carry out first. If your team members struggle with prioritising, you need to help them learn how to do so. For instance, you can try to implement the Pareto rule, also called the ‘80-20 rule’. The concept is simple: 20% of your actions create 80% of your results. However, to achieve this equation, your workforce must know how to prioritise smartly. You may be interested in applying the Eisenhower Matrix which is a very effective working method.
5. Avoid multitasking and distractions
Although we all do it, sometimes we don’t even notice it. Unfortunately, while multitasking can make you feel effective, it is totally counterproductive. Our brain is made to concentrate on one task at a time, not two, three, or more. The same goes for distractions. Avoid as many as you can to prevent your team members from stopping in the middle of their work. A study from the University of California Irvine demonstrates that you need exactly 23 minutes and 15 seconds to regain focus. In other words, if your employee is writing an important report and you jump into their office to discuss a meeting, they will need that much time to be able to focus again on their task.
➡️ How are the new generations influencing corporate culture? Find out in our article about the impact of Gen Z in the workplace!
6. Reward your workforce
As part of a people-first culture, showing recognition and appreciation for your workforce is vital for a business to succeed. Everybody needs to feel that their work is noticed and valued. On one hand, when employers and managers show appreciation and reward their employees, engagement and motivation rise. On the other hand, few rewards are one reason for the Great Resignation and why many employees quit their job. Those who can’t leave their position may become completely disengaged and even experience burnout. Either way, this is a point you don’t want your workers to reach.
7. Minimise micromanagement
Trust is a key factor when it comes to increasing employee efficiency. Being constantly on the backs of your staff is actually going to create the opposite of productivity. As a leader, showing your team that you fully trust their skills and their work is an amazing way to enhance engagement. Workers who have more freedom and flexibility in their work also tend to be more creative and take more initiative. If you’re managing a hybrid team, this might be challenging at the beginning. Nevertheless, micromanagement is a management method to avoid when it comes to improving workforce performance. A person that feels trusted is also less stressed which helps him/her to be more focused and efficient.
8. Improve the workplace design
The environment where your employees are working can definitely increase productivity. How can the office design have an impact on employee efficiency? The way we feel in a place plays a part in our behaviour. There are many aspects to consider like the office space planning, the light, the plants, the colours and materials used, etc. You can even try to improve the productivity level of your workforce by following the Feng Shui office concept! An office with different workspace types (single desks, meeting rooms, collaborative work areas, etc.) is also ideal to answer everybody’s needs.
9. Embrace the benefits of workplace technology
Workplace technology has truly changed the way we work. Nowadays, almost everything can be automatised which gives employees the chance to optimise their time and focus on more important tasks. Communication tools, such as Slack or Zoom, are making remote work a lot easier. Flexible work has never been easier since HR can manage the hybrid office space with desk booking software. As far as workers are concerned, they can now plan their week calendar themselves with the employee scheduling system. If used correctly and smartly, all those tech tools combined are also a great support to help your workforce to gain efficiency.
10. Create the best communication strategy
Remote and hybrid work has forced companies to pay even more attention to providing efficient means of communication to their employees. They need to be quick, simple and most importantly employee-focused. A lack of communication or bad communication can seriously impact the productivity of the workplace. Mistakes might be made, meetings might be missed, conflicts can start to appear, and stress levels may increase. If you want to support your team in being productive, communication shouldn’t be underestimated.
➡️ Are you feeling exhausted after a long day working from home? Read about Zoom fatigue and how to overcome this consequence of online work.
11. Focus on employee well-being
Productivity is not only related to workspace design, recognition, corporate culture and so on, health and well-being also play a big role in the capacity of your workforce. For instance, physical activity has a proven impact on our ability to focus, so why not encourage your employees to practise more sports? Also, how can you expect a team member to concentrate and finish their work properly if he/she doesn’t feel well psychologically? Physical and mental well-being are key components to boosting workforce efficiency that is important to keep in mind.
In a nutshell, if you are a manager and you are looking for ways to enhance your workforce’s performance, focus on their well-being and happiness. By concentrating your efforts on employee centricity, including work-life balance, recognition, access to hybrid technology and the creation of a people-first workspace, your team members will be more eager to exceed their goals. Employee productivity isn’t about working more or longer, it’s about working better. These 11 key aspects are all playing a huge role in increasing productivity in the workplace. As an expert in hybrid work, our role is to help you embrace all the benefits of hybrid work.