Five ways to improve office productivity

Productivity is key to a successful business. If you have a team full of procrastinators, you’re not going to achieve your targets – it’s that simple.

The office space can often be home to idle chit chat and aimless wandering, with employees easily distracted by what’s going on around them. A survey found that the average worker in the UK spends 43 minutes of every workday procrastinating, with social media temptations being rife.

But, there’s a lot to be said for how a company handles their staff to get the best out of them. Not everyone is able to add a climbing wall to their workplace like Adobe has, nor is it feasible for every company to include the increasingly popular ‘office pet’. However, with a few tweaks here and there, a business can help improve productivity levels in their office.

Flexibility

With millennials now occupying one in three of the workforce, they have brought with them a greater desire for the work/life balance. The desire for a 9-to-5 role has diminished dramatically, with many claiming that flexibility is more important than money when they are looking for a new job.

Founder of the Virgin Group, Richard Branson, recognises this and expects it to become a main part of working life. He believes that by offering a flexible working pattern, a business can encourage its employees to ‘stay and fulfil their potential’. “Hopefully that’ll be the world of the future,” he says. “That’s something we’re working towards. Trying to get more flexibility in the workforce generally”.

Attractive and practical working space

A modern and spacious environment can go a long way to enhancing an employee’s productivity. A recent survey states that sitting for long periods of times can be detrimental to your health. That is why many companies have started to introduce adjustable desks.

Offering colleagues the chance to complete office-based tasks while standing can help people feel more alert throughout their day. “Desks need to be in sync with our natural movement,” Kay Sargent, Senior Principal at HOK, told Fast Company. She also believes an intelligent layout of an office is key.

“There’s a huge movement to design to human potential. We see staircases are now designed to be in the centre of offices and not in the back as exits.” Designers have found that this creates possible positive encounters as people pass each other on the stairways.

The colour of an office can also have an effect sub-consciously on a person’s mood and brain function, with blue said to stimulate the mind, yellow inspire creativity and green create a calming balance.

Promote healthy living

Offering employees key wellness benefits can help keep morale up, which in turn will boost productivity as employees will feel a sense of value. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, healthy weight males miss three days of work on average through illness or injury each year, while those who are overweight miss approximately five days.

Recruiters FRG Technology Consulting recently reviewed their employee wellness benefits and made some key additions, including a nutrition plan. “Employee health is at the heart of our HR commitments,” says CEO James Lloyd Townshend.

“In our latest employee satisfaction survey our staff told us that they would like to eat healthier and be more active in everyday life. The health and well-being of our employees is hugely important to us. With that in mind, we have implemented a world-class training and nutrition plan that includes company challenges and rewards for our team.

“To promote a healthier work-life balance, we’ve also introduced summer working hours. To reward our employees for their on-going hard work, we’re trialling a 3.30pm finish on a Friday, allowing our staff to enjoy an extra two hours of their weekend.”

Regular interaction with staff

Keeping in contact with your employees is a key component in maintaining a positive atmosphere. If you separate yourself from your staff, you run the risk of alienating them and affecting morale.

Maintaining productivity within the workforce is a challenge, but a manager who communicates well with their staff well helps workers to keep one another accountable. Such skills allow everyone to have a clear view of how they can take the business forward. It also decreases uncertainty and, by giving exact direction, you can create a less stressful and more enjoyable environment which will breed a higher level of efficiency.

There’s many ways in which you can get your point across. If you’re not always in the office, sending work-related newsletters can help keep your staff up to date with all goings on and helps to keep them engaged. As well as this, a regular group call can enhance an employee’s feeling of worth by keeping them in the loop.

Set goals

Making sure your employees have set goals is imperative to any business. When establishing a measurement system, management in a business must set clear and achievable targets for their staff. A good guide to follow is to set SMART goals; specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound.

By giving employees something to aim for, they are more likely to focus on the job at hand than if they were just left to their own devices. Once these targets are in place, management should have regular check-ins to review their progress. This would make sure that the employee stays on the right path.

Employees who clearly understand the goals that they have been set and exactly how it impacts the company naturally become more engaged with their role.

Conclusion

By following these simple steps, a business can set itself on the way to success. Poor productivity leads to money being squandered. No matter what size a business is, the key objective is to make money and, with a happy team by your side, you are more likely to achieve your end goal.

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