Productivity is a key yardstick on which business efficiency is measured; the more output achieved, the more revenues and profits are likely to increase. For the most part, improving productivity revolves around having efficient, content and well-managed staff, therefore much of what is done to improve productivity is geared towards ‘people’ matters.
Here are five factors that can help improve productivity as told by Intuit Market:
Having effective and easy to use business systems in place helps people do their jobs efficiently and prevents frustration and time wasted through labouring under handicaps – such as outdated equipment no longer up to the demands made on it.
A basic example is a slow running computing system showing its age and becoming a frustration for those using it, or old and slow printers still in use so making routine admin tasks such as printing correspondence, forms or checks a laborious chore.
Also, overhaul basic admin and office systems for controlling paper-work. These small changes can make a big difference to your overall efficiency.
Support and goal setting
It’s clearly hard to assess and monitor productivity without an objective in mind, so setting realistic productivity goals gives a reference point and makes it easier to set directions for respective departments or employees.
So long as objectives are realistic (ideally consult with those staff first before setting objectives) people tend to work more efficiently with a clear focus and goal in mind.
Without interfering in every day to day task performed by staff, encouraging and motivating them will help, as will rewarding successful goal achievement.
Happy staff are likely to be more productive than discontented ones, therefore ensure their working conditions are as good as possible:
Comfort – keep the working environment at a steady temperature; if people are too hot or cold it affects concentration as staff try to warm up or cool off. Consider investing in improved heating or air conditioning systems if need be.
Natural light – if possible let more natural light in as the way work areas are lit undoubtedly affects productivity. If it isn’t possible, use bulbs that give off warmer, daylight colours such as orange and yellow hues as opposed to blues.
It’s worth assessing the office layout to maximise natural light. This can also help in reducing artificial light used and can, therefore, reduce energy usage and save you money.
Trust and training
Investing in staff not only helps ensure that they have the right skills for their particular jobs but improves morale in that they feel they’re being helped to develop their careers. It encourages people to take more interest in their jobs and the trade or industry they’re employed in. To this end, encourage them to spend some time learning about their trade and related business topics.
Once you have trained staff and they know their objectives, then it’s important to trust them to ‘get on with it’ rather than being tempted to micromanage every little detail. After all, your staff have been hired to do a certain job so they should be capable of doing it on a daily basis.
Aside from general monitoring and measuring, your time is better spent ‘out of the kitchen’. Meddling and micro-managing your staff can definitely harm productivity.
Think forward with your staff
Describing the future objectives of the business and the benefits to all when these are reached can help motivate staff to see how their role contributes to the bigger picture.
Whilst reviewing past activities and where necessary, analysing ‘what went wrong’ is important, it shouldn’t be the dominant topic when communicating with staff. Looking forward and stressing positives when appropriate is key.
The greater good
Helping to get the employee mindset away from simply ‘doing their bit each day’ to contributing to an enterprise moving forward with ambitions on a bright future helps staff to actually want to strive to help achieve overall success.
More on boosting productivity and the benefits of training the workforce.
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