Updated August 9, 2023
Improve Productivity In The Workplace
India has large agricultural land, and still, more than half of the population is dependent on farming income. Still, their contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is lower than industry and services because of low productivity. Likewise, in industry, a company may have the best products and people, but success is determined by how productively its resources are utilized. In the 21st century, when all traditional concepts of business and trade are being rewritten, it is essential that companies and individuals up their game ensure paramount performance and improve productivity in the workplace.
If you analyze successful companies and firms, one can notice that they go to a great extent to ensure peak performance and employee satisfaction and enhance an employee’s productivity. Whether it is tech giants like Google or Microsoft or a small startup enterprise, they all seek to improve their work in ways bound to increase output.
The following compilation of tips and tricks is for enterprises and individuals seeking to improve productivity. While some of them (okay, well, most of them) might seem rather simple, they go a long way in terms of the results they yield.
Ways to Improve Productivity In The Workplace
Below are the 10 ways to improve productivity in the workplace:
1. Make Sure that the Office Environment is Comfortable
Always make sure that the temperature and lighting are comfortable. Too much blue light, the kind produced by compact fluorescent lamps, can cause great strain on the eyes. Also, it is imperative that the temperature in the office be optimized according to the climate. Make sure the temperature is uniform. You don’t want one employee sweating out an ocean while another is freezing. This might be quite a task, and it will impact an employee’s productivity.
Another important factor here is the color of the walls. Each color has its own effect on the human mind. The red color is very passionate- the mere sight of it elevates vigilance, blood pressure, and heart rate. Yellow, on the other hand, inspires creativity. This color works best in environments where creativity is of utmost importance. Designers, developers, and artists will find this environment more stimulating.
Blue helps to focus on the task at hand. This is an ideal primary shade for an office. Green is a soothing color that reduces eye fatigue and keeps employees at their peak efficiency while ensuring they remain calm.
Make sure the workplace is not very noisy. This can affect productivity in the workplace, as 9 out of 10 employees find it hard to focus. But that doesn’t mean the office must be dead silent.
Decorate the place with plants. This ensures that the environment remains fresh instead of getting bone dry by the air conditioner. A recent study reveals that indoor plants placed at the right spots can increase employee productivity by up to 15 percent.
2. Stay Clear of Unnecessary Meetings
Know exactly which meetings to attend and which to skip. In an office environment, meetings are obviously, very common. Conventional logic says it’s good to step out there and meet people. However, nothing beats the time you spend at your workbench doing your work. A meeting involving the senior personnel in the company is very likely to be important, and it is advisable to not skip these. If the meeting is to decide how the lobby must be repainted, you’d be better off sitting in your cabin doing some actual work. Whenever a meeting arises, ask yourself: “Do I really need to participate in this?”
You’ll be surprised to see how much work you get done by avoiding workplace banter.
Avoid unnecessary chitchat and negative gossip with fellow employees because it will impact an employee’s productivity. Engaging in friendly banter during breaks, not work hours, is okay.
3. Take a Break once a Couple of Hours
The human mind can focus on any given task for about forty minutes. After this, the attention level starts to wean out until one loses focus completely. Every two hours, take a short break of 10-15 minutes. If you work eight hours a day, this would mean 40-60 minutes of breaks. 60 minutes (an hour) might seem like a lot of time for breaks, but the added boost in attention provided by these helps you make up for the lost time. During these short intervals, do those activities which help you relax.
It can vary from listening to music to doodling on a notepad. Whatever you do doesn’t matter as long as it works for you. Sitting in front of your computer for 8 hours without any movement is the worst thing you can do to your body. Take short breaks, go for brisk walks, and eat healthily. Spending long hours at your desk does not guarantee productivity. It is not how much time you spend but how much you get done in whatever time available that matters. Again, nothing is worth sacrificing your health for.
4. Avoid Multitasking
You’d be surprised if I told you how many people believe that multitasking is a sign of efficiency – the more tasks you can juggle, the more efficient you are, and the more time you save. Maybe even you believe this to be true. However, the cold hard fact is that by multitasking, you waste more time and energy than you would have to perform the same tasks one after the other. The human brain was not built for multitasking. It is hardwired to focus on one task at a time, which can negatively affect an employee’s productivity.
I’m not talking about everyday activities like cycling or driving a car. Maybe you can ride a bicycle and listen to music simultaneously. Maybe you can talk while driving. I’m sure all of us can manage that. But multitasking will reduce your efficiency when it comes to things that require more mental energy. This is because humans have a very low short-term memory capacity, which cannot handle the huge inflow of information that occurs during multitasking. You’ll not only end up wasting time but also won’t remember what you were doing. That’s just an elaborate way of saying you should avoid multitasking if you can.
5. Flexibility in Work Hours and Work Options
In the earlier days, employees were required to clock a 9-to-5 routine at the office, eight hours of solid work enclosed in a cabin. Those days are long gone. With the technology of the 21st century, it is possible to work anywhere in the world as long as a decent internet connection is available. According to reports, giving employees the freedom to work from home or on the move can improve the productivity of employees anywhere from 30% to 60%. The reason is rather simple-allowing an employee to complete his work without being present at the office is a sign of trust and confidence in the employee. The employee feels respected and happy that he/she is not bound to a strict set of rules. Happy and satisfied employees are far more productive than their stressed counterparts.
Flexibility can extend into allowing employees to create their work environments. While that might sound like an outrageous idea, it helps improve workplace productivity. It can be as simple as giving each employee a cubicle where they can play their own music and work with minimal distraction/disturbance. Some companies, like Google, even allow employees to wear casual clothing and bring pets to work.
6. Provide Regular Feedback
Most employees would like to receive feedback regarding their work from their superiors. Put yourself in the shoes of the student who has just submitted an assignment or taken a test. You’ll be anxious to know the results because, at that point, more than anything, you want to know how you’ve performed. You want to know whether what you’ve done is the right thing. This analogy applies to the work environment as well. Employees want to know whether their work is up to mark or, as they say, if they’ve ‘nailed it.
Employees would appreciate regular feedback on performance and areas to improve productivity in the workplace. Everyone would like to know how their work has helped the company and how they are contributing to its growth.
It must be noted that such feedback serves its purpose only when it is strictly objective. It must serve as an instrument for guidance, not as a reason to chide an employee.
7. Reward Employees
Everyone likes recognition for their work. When employees show improved productivity in the workplace, they have put greater effort into their work. A small reward tells them you’ve recognized their efforts, which spurs them on. Even a minor reward like a day off or a small bonus would make an employee very happy. Most companies have an ‘Employee of the Month’ and/or an ‘Employee of the Year’ awards. Some even give recognition to those employees who have shown little or no absenteeism.
8. Employees & Top Management must Know their Roles, Function, and Responsibilities
Through numerous surveys and studies, psychologists have concluded that having an objective or a goal to work toward increases one’s productivity by motivating one to work harder.
If you’re the employer, encourage your employees to do the same.
Setting high goals and working towards them will ensure you’ll still have reached somewhere even if you don’t achieve them. Having small achievements is better than having none at all.
No establishment has ever thrived solely on individual competence. Teamwork is essential for the smooth and efficient functioning of any firm. The very basic level of team building starts at the hiring process, and it will enhance an employee’s productivity.
When hiring an employee, ask yourself these questions-
- Is this person competent/qualified enough?
- Is this person compatible with the existing employees?
- Do this person’s work culture and work ethic match that of the company?
- Is this person committed to working with you in the long run, or is he/she a job hopper always looking for a better deal?
Building a strong relationship between staff members is quite another challenge.
- Create teams and assign them a task for which they are collectively responsible. A common goal brings people together. Give the team some autonomy to complete the task at hand in their own way. This shouldn’t be much of a problem as long as it is clear that there is a deadline before which the task should be complete.
- Have all the employees meet outside the work environment. Hold an informal meeting and play some team sports. Have the employees get to know their colleagues personally. This will need to strengthen their relationship in the office and enhance the productivity of an employee.
10. Improve Productivity
This applies to bosses and employees alike. Before you start improving workplace productivity, take some time to list the activities you’ll have to do at work the following day. Such a trivial task can help you save a lot of time and mental energy. There’s no question of forgetting to send that important email or preparing the monthly performance review presentation (or anything else, for that matter) as you’ve already written it down.
A company’s productivity improves manifold when the employees are happy and satisfied. Employee performance will peak only when the environment is congenial, and the relationship between employees and management is cordial and warm.
A company is not a one-man operation; it takes a group of people to run it and a great leader to lead them. And this is why a company is only as good as those working there. The employees must not hate their job; instead, they must look forward to showing up at work. It is the company’s responsibility to ensure this and enhance the productivity of an employee.
If you’re an employee, this article has hopefully given you some pointers on how to be at your best every day. As an individual, you can, up to an extent, choose where you want to work and choose wisely because, in the long run, it is imperative that you’re in a job you love if you want to be at your best. And the key to success is, of course, being at your best.
The above were some suggestions to improve productivity in the workplace. Here are some further articles to learn more: