A productive workforce is a profitable workforce. Few can or will argue with that. However, increasing your employees’ productivity may seem like a difficult task, particularly if you have limited time or resources. However, it’s not impossible. This article suggests some easy ways that you can give your employees’ productivity – and your business’ bottom line - a boost;

Encourage learning

When was the last time your employees went on a training course? Was it when they started working for you?

Maybe it’s time to invest in some training and development for your employees. Companies that offer training and development programmes not only have a more productive workforce but they also benefit from higher staff retention.

If you don’t have the room or resources to carry out onsite training, e-learning is a great alternative. Your employees can learn in an environment they are comfortable with and they can do it at a pace that is suited to them.

If someone on your team is keen to learn a new skill that is related to the work they do, offer to fund (or part-fund) the course for them. Upskilling is a great way to renew a person’s passion for the job and to increase their productivity.

A happy (and productive) workplace

Research suggests that employees who are happy at work are 12% more productive. Whilst, unhappy employees are ten percent less productive.

The environment people work in has a definite impact on their happiness and productivity. You can create a calm and comfortable workspace for your employees by regulating the room temperature, reducing the use of harsh overhead lighting, providing quiet break areas with nourishing snacks, and by introducing calming colours throughout the workspace. Blue is the colour of the mind and stimulates soothing, calm and clear thoughts. Green and white are also thought to reduce stress levels.

Provide your employees with the correct equipment

It sounds obvious, but it's worth remembering that working with outdated and faulty equipment can slow down productivity. Moreover, if your staff is forced to work with technology that slows down their progress or makes their job more difficult, it can also lead to mistakes being made and your staff becoming discouraged and demotivated.

You can stop this happening by carrying out regular checks and upgrading equipment when necessary.

If your team is involved in project work, or if their job involves working with multiple documents at once, consider giving them an extra monitor for their computer. Research shows that providing people with two or more screens to work from can improve their productivity as it reduces the amount of time they spend moving between apps and documents.

Acknowledge and reward your employees

It's an age-old understanding that people are motivated by money so incentives like bonuses or profit-share schemes are often the "go-to" way to boost employees' productivity, however, research also shows that financial rewards are not the only way to incentivise staff. In fact, one study found a number of things were more valuable to staff than a cash bonus. An opportunity to lead projects, attention from leadership and praise from management were all things that motivated staff more than financial rewards, so before you invest in setting up a bonus scheme, think about the ways you can give your staff more attention, commendations and opportunities to grow in their role.

Be flexible

It’s often found that businesses which offer flexible working hours also benefit from increased efficiency and productivity. Furthermore, employees who work flexible hours are also more motivated while working and take fewer days off.

Being flexible isn’t simply allowing your employees to work from home. If an employee asks to leave early to go to a dentist or doctor’s appointment, be as flexible as you can to accommodate their request. This small token will be greatly appreciated by your employees as it is making their busy lives a little easier.

Maybe try to be flexible with start and finishing times. It’s not easy for everyone to work the same fixed hours. Things like childcare, transport connections etc. can make it difficult for them to get into the office for nine o’clock every morning. Or consider allowing some of your employees to work different hours or to have a reduced lunch break so they can leave earlier.

More and more companies are looking to incorporate flexible working policies into their business. They recognise that by giving their employees flexibility in the workplace they can become more productive. In fact, a recent study showed that businesses who introduced flexible practices saw their profits rise by up to 61%. So again, flexibility is good for productivity and profits!

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