How to Encourage Productivity in the Workplace

October 15th, 2012

Procrastination. No one is exempt from this workplace woe. But it’s a dangerous problem to have, especially when it’s more than the typical post-lunch afternoon slump. When your entire workforce is unproductive, the results are scary. We can’t prove that procrastination is contagious, but we’re hoping that productivity is.  And there is good news: there are simple steps you can take to promote a more productive workforce.

We don’t have one life-changing insight to share, but there is a pretty clear formula for success. If an employee isn’t productive, it’s probably because of one of these reasons: they feel undervalued and unhappy, they feel the work they do isn’t meaningful, or they can’t get their work done. Diagnose your workforce then make a difference with one of these tips:

Problem: Your Employees Feel Undervalued.
Solution: Recognize Your Employees’ Work.

It was our top point in how top companies keep top talent, and it’s a big motivator for productivity as well. Employees who know their hard work is valued are more likely to keep working hard, right? There are simple ways to motivate your employees from progress reports to employees of the month awards to gift card incentives. Take your pick, and watch the morale – and the productivity – rise.

Problem: Your Employees Don’t Find their Work Meaningful.
Solution: Help Them Find a “Calling.”

Every job serves a purpose. Even the simplest positions are part of a larger cause. Show your employees how their work serves the company, their fellow employees, or potential customers. Employees who feel their contributions are meaning will feel more motivated to get their work done.

Problem: Your Employees Can’t Get Their Work Done.
Solution: Break Down the Barriers.

There can be hundreds of hurdles, from large to small, that are preventing your employees from getting their work done quickly and efficiently. Is it a communication issue? Is there a process that can be better defined? Is there equipment that needs to be replaced? Does the organizational structure need a change? Get down to the root of the problem by asking your employees directly. Removing daily frustrations will be like removing a weight from your employees’ shoulders.

Problem: Your Workforce is Unhappy.
Solution: Redefine Your Workplace Environment.

A happy worker is a productive one. Happiness is so important that we even wrote a whole post about how to increase happiness in the workplace. Here’s a summary: simple additions to the workday such as face-to-face interactions can have a huge impact on your workforce. Also, it’s important to encourage time for fun and creativity. Start small: simply tell your staff to step away from their desks for their full 30 minute lunch break. At the far end of the spectrum, companies like 3M let their employees work on a personal project for one hour each day. The important thing to note is that happiness is most definitely contagious. Make a great work environment and the benefits will follow.

How do you keep your employees productive? Share your tips in the comments below or post on our LinkedIn Group page.

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