The aim of every business is to create a productive workforce, but how can this be achieved and maintained?
While all employees are paid a basic wage, many work to live instead of looking forward to the start of a new workday each morning. Giving extra perks can increase employee loyalty and productivity.
Working from home
Allowing staff to work from home is a sought-after perk, not just in the current crisis, but for any number of reasons. Single parents, or individuals with caring responsibilities for family members, will work harder to support a business which also supports them.
People with health difficulties may find it easier to work from home, if the job is something they are capable of, but the traveling part is an obstacle.
With more businesses increasing their online presence, a lot of work is able to be done online.
Change the competition
Many organizations offer awards such as employee of the month, which is great for whoever wins the title; though sometimes the same person wins frequently. For everyone else, they can become resentful. Rather than having the desired outcome of working harder to achieve this title and any associated prizes, some people can become despondent – and this can lead to them producing less work.
If you feel the need to give your workforce someone (or something) to compete against, it should either be the organization you consider to be your biggest competition, or the workers should be pitted against themselves, to improve and aim higher.
Working as a team, you can encourage everyone to work together using their strongest skills and their unique mix of experience and qualifications to attempt to be better than a rival organization. This is a more effective way of getting the best out of everyone, rather than just encouraging the same individuals to put in the work, while the others are made to feel like they have no chance of competing.
Alternatively, you can encourage your workforce to team together in a similar manner to outdo their own performance from the previous month, with rewards for the whole team if they succeed or offer encouragement for next month if they fall short. Not every month’s productivity can be greater than the month before it. You might consider focusing on different aspects. One month the target could be making higher profits, while the next you could try improving customer service or acquiring more clients. To maintain a high level of productivity, the targets need to be challenging but attainable.
Alexander Friedman also has plenty of actionable ideas for how sustainable growth can be achieved, which could also be useful for increasing and maintaining your workforce’s productivity.
Support your workforce
Other than working from home, you can support your employees by offering flexible working hours, a supportive and encouraging team for them to work in, and opportunities to progress. This goes back to the idea of inspiring loyalty and making their employment feel like more than just a job. Regular team-building activities and social outings can make it easier for different personalities to work together. Full-time work takes up a big part of the waking day and to ensure everyone is more likely to produce results to the best of their ability, they need to feel supported by their employers and other members of their team.
If someone is good at talking to clients on the phone, while someone else has a talent for resolving email queries quickly and effectively, it makes sense for them to swap tasks.
Trying new things
Even for someone who enjoys their job, doing the same tasks can get repetitive and be uninspiring at times. It is a good idea to motivate your workforce and raise productivity if someone is feeling this way.
This can involve anything from holding a scheduled meeting outdoors, or in a local coffee shop if the weather isn’t great, taking regular breaks to allow your employees to take their mind off the task, or allowing music in the office. Listening to music may sound like a distraction, but depending on the style of music, it can help with focus. Better focus often means a greater level of productivity. Classical and nature sounds are usually best, but it’s important to note that some people may find it more distracting than inspiring.
Other than music, which can distract some people but inspire others, there are other distractions you can remove.
Allowing the use of mobile phones only during breaks is another way to increase productivity. These devices are one of the main distractions, with many people scrolling through social media and checking messages almost absentmindedly. This can affect how much work gets done and how focused your staff are on their work. You could even set targets for your team to achieve, to earn an extra ten-minute break to check their phone.