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A Simple GuideTo Workplace Productivity: What, Why & How For Employers

by Peg Manrique on Dec 20, 2022 11:49:23 AM

Whether your employees work on site or remotely, productivity is essential to better profits, lower operational costs, and an improved culture. But if you’re like many companies, you may be struggling to assess your workplace productivity, and how to boost it if it’s suffering in your organization. Sound like you? Then let’s explore everything you need to know about employee productivity to optimize performance in your workplace.

In this article, we’ll discuss what productivity in the workplace is, how you can measure it, and ways you can enhance it in your organization. After reading this, you’ll understand how to enhance practices at your organization for a more productive work environment.

What is workplace productivity?

Workplace productivity is the efficiency with which tasks and goals are accomplished at an organization. On an individual level, it’s a measurement of the amount of work an employee can do in a specific amount of time. However, it’s not just about the work itself but the way in which it’s done. That’s why a number of different factors impact productivity, including the tools workers use, their skills and personalities, their level of engagement as well as your business’ workflows and processes.

Why is workplace productivity important?

The productivity of a company’s workforce plays a key role in its profitability since higher levels can generate higher profits without adding headcount and payroll costs. This isn’t because you’re just looking for employees to accomplish more in less time; instead, it’s about finding other ways to improve productivity in your operations like looking for areas where you could eliminate bottlenecks or could benefit from technological improvements.

In addition, your company will save time if it’s more productive. That means you can free up employees to focus on other and even more strategic initiatives such as strategy or working on improvements to your operations.

High levels of workplace productivity also have the added benefit of helping to improve your relationships with your customers since you’ll be able to complete work on time and deliver goods and services faster. This will demonstrate that your company is well-run, which can strengthen existing relationships and attract new ones that will benefit your business.

Lastly, more productive workplaces can also improve morale since when employees complete work on time, they’ll be less likely to burn out. And if your workplace operates effectively and efficiently, they will feel more satisfied in their job. This, in turn, can further improve productivity and performance because happier employees are more engaged.

What is the impact of low productivity in the workplace?

Many companies don’t operate at maximum productivity. In fact, research suggests that in an eight-hour day, the average worker is only productive for about 3 hours. This can be due to a number of reasons such as inefficient meetings, poor time management, manual processes, and workplace distractions like texting or getting snacks.

And when workplace productivity suffers, this can have a number of serious consequences for your business. For example:

  • It can hurt sales and ultimately your ability to meet your goals if you can’t meet project timelines.
  • The quality of your deliverables can suffer due to increased errors, rework, and delays.
  • Low productivity can impact motivation, which can cause a cascade of problems. For instance, employees may disengage and even start to look for another job. And companies with high turnover rates can further impact productivity. 

How is workplace productivity measured?

There are several ways you can measure workforce productivity. Some common metrics companies use include:

  • Revenue per employee, which calculates the most recent 12 months of revenue divided by the current number of full-time employees.
  • Number of units produced, a fundamental measurement if you’re in manufacturing. In an office environment, this could be the number of calls made in an hour.
  • Downtime, which is the percentage of time that an important business system is unavailable.
  • Labor utilization rate, a ratio that assesses the proportion of an employee’s time spent on productive tasks.

There are other ways to gauge productivity as well. That can be simply checking the completion of tasks against their deadlines, keeping track of employees’ work performance, or checking how well workers manage their time.

No matter how you choose to assess your employee productivity level, if you find it’s low, then you’ll want to take steps to increase it. We’ll talk about ways to increase productivity in the workplace next.

How to Increase Productivity in the Workplace

Some factors that contribute to an employee’s productivity are out of your control, like the amount of sleep they get or an unexpected illness. However, there are many steps your business can take to help boost workplace productivity levels.

  1. Have effective communication tools so employees can quickly and easily get in touch with each other.
  2. Maintain a clean working environment and encourage employees to keep an orderly workspace as well. This will help them more quickly locate things they’re looking for.
  3. Minimize distractions by asking employees to silence their personal cell phones and blocking social media from work computers. This is particularly important because when someone is interrupted, it takes them an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get back on task.
  4. Make sure each meeting has an agenda.
  5. Recommend employees take breaks throughout the day so they can return to tasks ready to focus.
  6. Implement systems, workflows, and processes to improve efficiencies.
  7. Ensure that each employee has the right tools for the job and is appropriately trained in how to use them.
  8. Hold regular check-ins or reviews to let employees know if they’re underperforming and identify ways to inspire productivity.
  9. Provide clear direction so your employees can plan and prioritize more effectively.
  10. Establish a culture of employee engagement since research shows engaged employees are 17% more productive than their peers.

For more tips on how to boost employee engagement for a more productive work environment, read our next article on the top 7 strategies that can boost your workforce.

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