How productive your employees are can be influenced by a wide range of variables. Naturally, sometimes this can include what is happening in their personal lives, but more often than not it rests squarely with the working environment.
Here we examine six factors which can help you boost your business’s productivity and lead to a much happier workforce.
A comfortable working environment can make a huge difference to productivity. Consider first whether your employees have everything they need close to hand. Can they access all the necessary hardware and are printers and photocopiers functional and relatively close to their desk? Second, is the temperature in the building an ambient one? People find it difficult to work if it is too hot or cold. Third, are all the desks and chairs set up in an ergonomic fashion so that staff members don’t suffer neck, back and eye strain?
These might seem fairly small issues in themselves but it is surprising how much lower productivity is when people can’t settle down to work comfortably.
If your technology is well behind the times this can slow people down and lead to frustration. Computers which are ill-equipped to deal with memory-hungry applications can mean employees need to sit and wait during extended processing time. While you may consider it is an unnecessary expense to keep your hardware up to date, it can save more than the initial outlay in ensuring productivity remains high.
You should also consider whether your staff possess the right tools for the job. Providing a VoIP connection for both internal and external communications offers many ways to communicate including screen-share, instant messaging, video conferencing and online chat. These can help your staff to resolve issues more quickly, such as by using screen-share on support calls, and it can also help to foster a better team spirit for staff working in different locations if they can hold meetings via video calls.
Productivity can also suffer if employees believe they are ill-equipped to do the job from a training perspective. This can be particularly true if they are promoted into a role where they need an expanded skill-set or moved into a position with line management responsibilities.
While in-house, on the job training, is important for your own policies and procedures, don’t rule out external training. A relevant course can help staff perform in their role better and it is also valuable to them and their future career so they are likely to work much more productively for a business which offers this advantage. Many universities now offer flexible and part-time study so it’s realistic to fit education around full-time working.
An employee who feels supported by their boss while free from micro-management will be much more effective in their role. Staff need to respect their line managers and higher levels of management within the business but they will also thrive better in a culture free from blame. A working environment where people can express both their concerns and their positive ideas to move the business forward will be much more successful.
Targets and Rewards
A good working relationship with your manager also ties in with having a well-defined appraisal process and structured feedback. If employees are not clear on their own personal objectives, and those of their team, they are going to fail to reach them. In addition, a culture of reward rather than punishment always works best to motivate people. Let staff know what rewards they can expect for a job well done. While remuneration is one part of this equation, it is not the only one. Even sincere thanks and public praise can go a long way.
If you have the first five steps in this process in place then you will experience high staff morale within your business. To retain high productivity you need to ensure your employee engagement doesn’t falter. A workplace where staff know they are valued and where they recognize they are playing a part in the overall success of the company, is one where productivity will remain high.
The day-to-day environment can also help with this so inject life into the workplace and foster a thriving environment where employees feel free to have fun and interact with their colleagues. If staff look forward to coming to work you will not only gain in terms of productivity but you will also see an increase in staff retention and customer satisfaction.
Helen has a passion for business and in particular employee engagement. She enjoys using her years of experience managing her business to help other small business owners looking to develop their company.