October 26, 2020
11 Ways to Increase Employee Productivity

Maintaining high employee productivity is essential to an organization’s growth and success. In turn, strong employee engagement is the foundation of high productivity levels. 

But did you know that only about 34% of the American workforce feels engaged? This is bad news for many companies, since disengaged employees cost them significantly, according to Hubstaff’s State of Productivity and Management Report 2018.

Despite this, only 15% of organizations were focused on improving workplace productivity in the next three years, according to a KPMG global study from 2012.

Whether your company already boasts stellar productivity levels or it could use some improvement, there is no time like the present to look closely at employee engagement and performance. Consider what you can do to ensure your staff is happy and that you continue to recruit and retain top talent. 

Hint: You don’t have to spend a lot of time or money!

Below, we’re sharing how to increase employee productivity with 11 simple and cost-effective methods. Read on and determine where you can implement positive changes today!

11 Tips for Boosting Productivity in the Workplace

Allow for flexible work schedules.

The standard 9-to-5 is becoming a thing of the past as many businesses let employees set their own hours. After all, allowing flexible work schedules reduces stress for employees, and we know that reduced stress means increased productivity.

Flexible schedules enable staff to work around other responsibilities in their lives. Perhaps they have a family to care for or classes to attend. Allowing them to focus on these important areas shows workers that you care about their work-life balance. 

Also, keep in mind that everyone works differently and is more productive at different times of the day. Some prefer the early morning hours, while others are evening workers. As long as they’re producing quality work and meeting deadlines, let them work when they prefer.

Encourage regular breaks.

We’ve all read the data saying just how unhealthy sitting and staring at a screen all day can. Tell (and show!) employees that it’s not just ok, but encouraged that they take regular breaks. 

Studies show that taking timed, calculated breaks throughout the day actually makes us more productive. Advise employees to move around, do some stretches, or go on short walks outside together. Even simply chatting with colleagues for a few minutes serves as a nice reset before getting back to work.

Regular breaks that involve moving around and getting away from that screen also help reduce risks of diabetes and depression, restore motivation, improve creativity, and reduce boredom. Plus, they give employees a feeling of freedom knowing that they can step away and aren’t expected to be chained to their desks!

Establish a remote work policy.

Working from home is a topic that arises more and more when discussing how to increase employee productivity. And while many businesses have already pivoted to telecommuting this year, it is worth keeping a remote work system in place for the future. Let employees work from home where and when possible. 

Research shows that remote employees are more productive. In an experiment done in 2013 by Stanford University professor Nicholas Bloom and other scholars, 16,000 call center employees at Chinese travel company CTrip volunteered to work from home for nine months. The study showed a 13% performance increase over that time.

A SurePayroll survey found that 65% of full-time employees think that flexible (see above) and remote work schedules can increase their productivity—yet, only 19% were allowed to work remotely. Listen to your employees and show them you trust them. Remote works!

Emphasize self-care and work-life balance.

America’s workforce is STRESSED. OUT. 

Job-related pressures and fears are the leading source of stress for American adults, according to the American Institute of Stress.

High stress levels take a toll on employees’ physical, mental, and emotional health, causing them to be less productive…and causing you to lose precious time and money.

Encourage healthy practices and work-life balance, including: 

  • Getting quality sleep
  • Dedicating time to exercise and relaxation
  • Keeping a balanced schedule

Do more than just telling your staff to do these things. Show them you mean it by practicing what you preach. Often, many employees feel that they have to stay as late as (or later than) the boss. The culture and attitude comes from the top down, so if managers maintain a healthy work-life balance, employees are likely to follow suit.

Provide them with the right tools and equipment.

Now for the basic-but-essentials: Prepare your team with the proper tools and equipment. Nothing causes frustration and disrupts productivity quite like malfunctioning hardware or subpar systems. 

Provide staff with good computers, printers, and whatever other technology or equipment they need for their jobs. When tech needs repair or maintenance, be sure to get it done quickly.

This also goes for software and apps. Help your team run smoothly by setting them up with: 

  • Time and productivity tracking apps: Keep workers focused and on task and gain insight into your team’s productivity. (e.g.: Toggl or Harvest)
  • Project management tools: Make teamwork easy with a platform that allows employees to share ideas, thoughts, files, and more. (e.g.: Asana, Basecamp or Trello)
  • File storage and sharing apps: Keep files organized and easily accessible without worrying about running out of space. (e.g.: Google Drive or Dropbox)
  • Communication apps: Communicate quickly and easily; many apps also let you organize conversations by group or topic. (e.g.: Slack)

Avoid micromanaging.

When the manager is constantly looking over shoulders, it makes employees nervous and frustrated. This of course decreases productivity. Who wants to be under a microscope all the time?

Encourage autonomy by giving team members the freedom to do their jobs on their own terms. This shows them you trust them and helps increase their confidence, which will entice them to take more initiative in the future.

When you allow employees to take care of the day-to-day operations, you can focus on the higher-level work. In the end, everyone will be happier and more productive.

Communicate frequently and openly with employees.

By keeping the lines of communication open, you will stay in the loop on how employees are doing both at work and in their personal lives.

Have regular one-to-one meetings and check-ins to find out if they’re motivated and happy with their work. Discuss their current position and their future with the company and the possibilities for their career. 

Even if an employee has areas that need improvement, focus on some positive contributions they have made. This shows that your company has a positive outlook and wants to keep moving forward. You’ll also give individuals a sense of purpose and their future with the organization.

Maintaining open communication also means keeping employees informed of how the company is doing overall. Sharing big positive news and how each department has contributed can motivate employees. Discussing poor performance or challenges can open up the conversation on how everyone can work together to improve. 

Open communication and transparency are an important part of motivating employees and improving productivity.

Help employees hit their goals.

Managers can set employees up for success by helping them prioritize their tasks and projects. This will help staff schedule their day efficiently and hit their goals. 

Another helpful technique is creating both short-term and long-term lists. Encourage employees to make both, which will help them manage their time and projects more effectively.

Act as a buffer between employees and other colleagues and departments by setting expectations. When your team’s plate is full, helping them reprioritize tasks can prevent overwhelm.

Give them more responsibility.

Delegating work is another great way to demonstrate to employees your confidence and trust in them. When an employee has been performing well and appears ready to take on more, give them a new responsibility.

Entrusting staff with more responsibility motivates them, builds on their leadership skills, and helps them grow in their role. It also boosts morale by providing a sense of achievement and direction. 

Offer helpful and fun employee perks.

Research shows that employees are looking for perks that improve their lifestyle and finances and often value these over salary.

The good news? These perks don’t have to cost your company too much (if any) money!

A few we’ve already mentioned above, including remote work and flexible schedules. 

Some other simple, low-cost perks include:

  • Unlimited PTO
  • Flex days off
  • Health & wellness perks (fitness classes, office gym, gym memberships, etc.)
  • Employee discounts on your products or products from your vendors

Check out our full list of low-cost employee perks.

Provide opportunities for incentives and bonuses.

This might technically fall under perks, but it’s important enough to call out as an important employee motivator. 

Let’s be realistic: Although people are looking for more than just a good salary nowadays, we are still driven by rewards when it comes to our work. And when your business is doing well, why not show appreciation to those who are working hard to get you there? 

You can do this by implementing a bonus structure. It doesn’t have to be expensive and may even look different among various departments. Bonus structures help set actionable goals for employees to work towards. 

Bonuses can include: 

  • Monetary bonuses
  • Extra day(s) off
  • Unique rewards (e.g.: experiences or gifts)

How to Increase Employee Productivity

Some of these strategies for improving productivity in the workplace can be put into practice fairly quickly. Others may take some planning or occur gradually. Either way, keeping employee engagement top of mind will help business owners and managers ensure a higher-performing workforce.

Do you need help motivating your employees? Contact BlueLion today at 603-818-4131 or info@bluelionllc.com to learn more about our consulting services. We’ll help you push your team into full gear in no time!

The information on this website, including its newsletters, is not, nor is it intended to be legal advice. You should contact an attorney or HR specialist for advice on your individual situation.