10 Easy Steps to Greater Productivity

The productivity of work is not the responsibility of the worker but of the manager.
~Peter Drucker

In today’s highly competitive workplace, employee productivity is of paramount importance. If production is lagging, there are ways you can identify and correct low productivity. Let’s try to identify a few potential problems and come up with some solutions.

1. Your Employees Don’t Feel Motivated

An unmotivated employee is a frustrated, unproductive employee. A person needs to feel that he or she is appreciated, and that their work is valued. The importance of rewards and incentives cannot be overestimated. Of course, money is a great motivator, but you could also offer time off as an incentive, or perhaps a chance to attend a training session. If nothing else, a pat on the back and a “Fabulous job on the Watkins account, Elise,” works wonders.

2. Your Employees Aren’t Accountable

An employee with no sense of accountability is not productive. If the buck can be passed, many employees will not expend much effort on a task. Make sure your employee knows what his goal is, and work to help him achieve it. This will ensure consistent effort.

3. You Don’t Listen to Your Employees

Employees who feel they do not have the ear of the boss will never work to their full potential. Your inter-personal skills are vital. Your employees need to feel that they can reach out to you, and that you will reach back.

4. You Keep Your Employees on a Tether

It can be difficult to avoid the temptation to micromanage. Obviously, you have to offer assistance and give direction, but you should proceed on the assumption that you hired your people because they were qualified to do their jobs. Trust them. Let them find their own style. As long as they deliver, does it really matter how they go about it?

5. Your People Aren’t Challenged

People are at their best when they’re engaged in what they’re doing. If work is boring and mundane, an employee is unhappy, and therefore not productive. Everyone has a different level of capability, and what might be exciting to one worker may be deathly dull to another. You know your people. If Anthony loves filing and thinks there’s nothing better than creating a colour-coded system, whereas Jennifer loathes the mere idea and would far rather be building a work station, we think you know what you have to do.

6. Your Expectations Are Unrealistic

Do you set impossible goals? If you have a 200-page annual report that has to be done, and you set your workers the task of having it written, proof-read, printed and bound in 24 hours, don’t be surprised if they a) fail to deliver, b) take even longer to complete the work than they would have if you’d been reasonable, and c) resent you. You will have lowered productivity, and you’ll have no one to blame but yourself.

7. You Waste Time with Meetings

Of course you have to have meetings, but keep them brief. Less talk + more action = greater productivity.

8. You Don’t Encourage Teamwork

The more input workers have in a project, the better the outcome. With most teams, there’s a healthy element of competition, and a drive to get the job done in the fastest, most effective manner. Guess who wins in the end: You do.

9. Your People Don’t Have the Tools They Need

There’s little more frustrating than trying to do a quality job with sub-standard equipment. Make sure your hardware and software are up-to-date, and have office equipment serviced regularly to avoid time-wasting breakdowns. If you’re giving people shoddy tools, don’t expect productive work.

10. You Don’t Know When to Stop Working

Everyone needs a break once in a while. Don’t discount the importance of a chat at the water cooler or a takeaway lunch. Throw a staff party once in a while. Happy workers are productive workers.

To Sum It All Up

If your workers are unproductive, it’s your problem, and you must make it your priority to solve it. These are just a few ideas to help you increase productivity in the workplace. You can find a wealth of suggestions online, or perhaps you could attend a seminar. Don’t neglect this vital part of your business.

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