If productivity in your workplace is low or on the decline, it can be easy to assume that it is due to team members who might be slacking off or dragging the chain. Realistically, however, low productivity can actually be caused by any number of factors and the decrease in efficiency may have less to do with the character of your employees and more to do with a poor working environment than you think.
If you have found that an employee’s enthusiasm for getting their job done efficiently has waned, there are some things you can do to ensure all hands are back on deck and that the whole team is working to the same standard and at the same speed with a few of these morale-boosting efforts.
Create a comfortable working environment
Being physically comfortable at work plays a large part in being efficient. If the surroundings are unpleasant, employees will dread being at work, leading to a lack of focus and an overall sense of negativity.
By making sure that there is adequate space to work, the area is clear, clean and safe and staff have access to Workplace Health and Safety-compliant chairs and workstations, employees will naturally feel more at ease and have one less thing to concern themselves with at work.
Provide regular feedback
If an employee isn’t pulling their weight, it is imperative that the reason why is out in the open so it can be nipped in the bud. It may be the case that this person simply doesn’t know they aren’t being as efficient as expected.
By providing regular feedback, monitoring workloads and keeping team members on track, the standard is set early and issues can be corrected as they arise.
Equip your staff with the tools to succeed
Without the right software, equipment or access to vital resources, productivity may be low because processes are genuinely slower. Promote transparency and survey your employees to find out what would help them be more efficient in the workplace and, if it is feasible, make improvements to assist them to complete their jobs more effectively.
Promote flexible working
While many thrive in an office environment, some people work harder and faster in a more solitary setting. If it can be reasonably achieved, promote flexible working hours and working from home arrangements so that those who would prefer to start their day late and end late or work from the quiet of their own home can be as productive as possible in the environment that energises and motivates them.
Encourage mental health days
Personal leave days are not just for people suffering from gastro or a cold – taking time off for mental health reasons is incredibly important for productivity, too.
A 2014 report prepared by PwC, in conjunction with Beyond Blue, the National Mental Health Commission and Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance, showed that for every $1 Australian workplaces spend on mental health, their business saw an average return on investment of $2.30. With that kind of return can you afford not to promote personal leave days being used for mental health purposes?
If an employee is feeling stressed, depressed or anxious – whether work-related or not – they are more likely to come to work feeling refreshed if they have had a chance to remove themselves from what can be an overwhelming environment for a day or two, if they choose.
Low productivity in the workplace could be caused by one or many factors, but by addressing the issue early on and attempting to fix it through changes in the working environment and a lift in team morale, personnel will feel content and a shift in behaviours will follow.
For more information about improving productivity in the workplace, get in touch with the team at Preston HR.