Your go-to employee productivity guide for 2021

Targets! If you are a manager, team leader, or head of department, it seems likely that you will be under pressure to meet them.

You might be hardworking, lead by example, and a meticulous planner; but if your team aren’t pulling their weight, it can be hard to achieve the goals which are required of you.

The key, of course, is employee productivity. But aside from the standard training which all employees undergo, what else can we do to get the very best from our team?

In this productivity guide, we look at the very latest techniques for maximising workforce output…

The power of delegation– you should delegate wisely, but when you give more responsibility to the right employees, they thrive off it.

It is a natural desire for a team leader to be hands-on with everything, but for those who refuse to delegate, tasks can sometimes pile up to an unmanageable level.

This highlights the importance of gradually giving more responsibility to your team members, and it can increase their productivity in several ways.

Not only can they feel an extra motivation because of the trust you are placing in them, but you are also empowering them and maximising their potential as an employee, by widening the scope of their role.

T is for time out – highlighting the importance of taking breaks to your employees might seem like shooting yourself in the foot when it comes to productivity. But in many cases, the opposite can be true.

That’s because in many relentless, fast-paced lines of work, burnout is a very real risk. Especially now many more people are working from home and fall prey to some unhealthy habits around working hours.

Breaks can allow employees to re-focus, increasing concentration and cutting out potentially costly errors. Breaks are capable of improving morale and communication – but there aren’t just mental benefits to be had.

For desk workers, sitting for long periods – sedentary behaviour – is known to be bad for posture, so actively urging employees to stand up and take a stretch at least once an hour can help to guard against physical health problems.  Doing simple exercise to break up the work day is recommended by our expert sports scientists – and we show you how to do that within the ‘Keep Fit’ module of our multi-faceted wellbeing programme.

Communication is key – if you are the type of team leader to let his or her employees ‘crack on with things’, you could be missing a trick. That’s because timely communication doesn’t only allow you to keep connected with your employees, it is also a way of increasing productivity.

But it isn’t just how often you communicate, it is how. According to a study by McKinsey, employees take up as much as 28 per cent of their time managing email. Look to messaging and social apps as an alternative, and free up your team for other tasks.

Having an all-encompassing wellbeing programme in place also enhances communication, as it creates a discourse between employer and employee, as well as between employees themselves, that would not otherwise be available.

Healthy body, productive mind? – for work which is physically demanding, the advantages of fit employees hardly need spelling out. But even for occupations which are more taxing on the brain, there is evidence to suggest that a physically healthy workforce is a productive workforce.

Encouraging your employees to exercise regularly is a way to combat the ‘afternoon slump’, and give your team members more energy in all aspects of their role. Now that lockdowns and working from home are the new normal, employees need to have resources to do this at home, which is one of the many resources we provide in the Keep Fit Eat Fit wellbeing platform.  Because exercise is known to reduce stress and help to prevent tiredness, encouraging your employees to be physically healthy is a no brainer.

Physical and mental health are intertwined, and financial wellbeing also contributes hugely to people’s state of mind – which in turn affects their overall wellbeing and ultimately productivity.  Having access to tools that work in synergy with each other enhances results, hence why we have developed a complete wellbeing programme with everything under one roof.

Be big on incentives – incentivising your employees can take many different forms, and offer many different benefits. It shows an employee that they are valued, encourages them to keep progressing and can lead to an upsurge in productivity.

Incentives could mean a pay rise – but these should be given at the right time, or they can lead to an employee ‘taking their foot off the gas’. They can also include many other options, such as financial bonuses related to productivity and profits, sending them a ‘well done’ note, offering them an afternoon off, or giving them a gift in the form of a voucher.

Advise your team on sleep – we can’t be there to babysit, but we can advise employees how much sleep they should be getting, and on ways to get a more restful night’s sleep.

In general, seven to eight hours is considered the minimum, as any less risks impacting on productivity. If they start to drop below five or six, you might encounter even more serious problems, such as costly mistakes and communication problems. You can give your team tips on how to get ‘sleep fit’ within our programme, and they can learn how to prevent and address sleep problems, avoiding common pitfalls such as looking at their phone before bed and having too much light in their bedroom.

Those are some pointers on upping employee productivity in 2021. Let’s start thinking holistically about all the ways we can improve performance.