6 steps to increasing productivity at work

Germany, France and the US lead the way in workplace productivity, with the UK still some way behind. The UK government launched the ‘Fixing the Foundations’ plan in 2015 to tackle the issue, and Motivates Inc conducted their own research on it. They asked over 2,000 employees to identify what employers were doing to resolve issues affecting output per hour in the workplace. They found that employers were more productive the more flexible their employers were with their time. For example, employees who we’re allowed to work from home were more productive. The research also found that 42% of employers hadn’t done anything to improve falling productivity levels. Why is this?

Based on Motivates Inc’s findings, we’ve put together a list of 6 things employers can do to increase productivity.

1. Introduce flexible working
More and more companies are introducing flexible working. Companies should be helping employees, not restricting them. 23% of employees said they’re more productive when working from home compared to 9% in the office. Those who work from home often find they’re less likely to be interrupted or distracted.

It doesn’t necessarily have to involve employees working from home all day or all week. Employers should always communicate with their employees when looking for ways to improve their working conditions. If an employee feels they need to work from home one morning or for a few days, listen to them. It doesn’t necessarily mean granting their every wish, but 2-way communication is the key.

2. Streamline your meetings
“Why couldn’t this have just been sent in an email?” Employees spend on average 1.2 hours a day in meetings, adding up to 288 hours a year. Meetings are still essential and are very effective, but only if they make the best use of everyone’s time. They are still absolutely necessary in many cases however employers will find that throughout the year there are many hours that employees lose to meetings.

Instruct managers to only conduct meetings where necessary and to try to streamline them as best they can. Some issues can be resolved in a face-to-face chat or through a quick phone call. For essential meetings, only invite those who really need to be there.

3. Review your administration procedures

Ask your employees, what admin tasks take up too much of your time? 22% of employees say they spend too much time filling out timesheets among other similar admin tasks. Review the issues raised and see how you can streamline them or remove them altogether. Move with the times and make productivity your primary focus.

4. Reduce the amount of time spent on emails

Could the success of emails be the death of them. The introduction of emails seemed to be a massive win for productivity. And while it was and still is in many cases, employees are now finding that the sheer amount of emails they receive is negatively affecting their productivity. 40% of employees receive anywhere from 26-75 emails a day. Over a month this amounts to 1,500 emails and over a year 18,000.

5. Allow for increase autonomy

Micromanagement can have a significant negative effect on employee output. No one wants their boss looking over their shoulder every 5 minutes watching and critiquing everything they do. Not all managers are like this of course. However, empower your employees! Trust them to get on with their work and you’ll see the rewards.

6. Show more appreciation

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14% of employees say better recognition from managers would help improve their productivity. 15% said an increase in job satisfaction would also increase their productivity. If your boss isn’t recognising your good work are you going to be more or less productive? Happiness is the key to productivity. Recognition for good work is positive reinforcement. It’s also really easy to implement!

Increasing productivity in the workplace is largely about trusting your employees and treating them with respect, as well as identifying where employees lose the most hours. Communicate with your employees, ask them where the problems lie and show your appreciation. Also, putting more trust in employees can not only empower them but increase productivity.