We have collated five practical solutions that can be implemented into any business, big or small, to improve productivity and send your work level through the roof!
According to the Office for National Statistics, full-time workers in the UK average work around 39.1 paid hours per week (Monday to Friday), which is considerably more than the average 32 hours sleep the average British person gets over the same period of time. With studies showing that an alarmingly high number of employees at a non-managerial level are unproductive and disengaged at work, it is vital to optimise your workforce.
Small Incentives: Big Differences
Studies have shown that small rewards can have a huge difference on employee motivation, you don’t have to break the bank with a complicated rewards/incentives program to get your employees onside. Dale Carneigie (A Leadership Training Guru) summed it up – “People work for money but go the extra mile for recognition, praise and rewards.”
Forbes Magazine created a 25 piece list of low cost methods of rewarding employees, which provides valuable advice for employers to think about.
Create a Happy Working Environment
In my experience I have found that all successful small businesses are built upon strong inter-personal work foundations. By that, I mean that small businesses tend to thrive when they are full of positive relationships between co-workers. Research suggests that positivity in the working environment has a direct correlation with high job satisfaction; thus leading to increased productivity and good levels of employee engagement. Entrepreneur.com recently published an article on 7 ways to create a friendly working environment. One point is for the boss to have a positive attitude. A negative attitude will often rub off onto your employees which in turn will make them unhappy and potentially less productive.
This balance between a work environment and an office that is perhaps too relaxed is easier to achieve than you might think. In an office where people can behave naturally, and be themselves, instead of feeling forced into strict work-place policy for behaviour, will create positive dynamics between workers. This in turn allows employees to be more comfortable with each other and with you as an employer; making everyone feel like they are working towards a common goal that they are personally invested in.
Snacks, Snacks and More Snacks
Napoleon was correct when he said an army marches on his stomach. A good workforce (in my opinion) requires three things, rest, food and drink. Providing ample time for breaks within the working day not only will reduce the amount of time spent ‘vegetating’ by employees, but will also improve morale and mood within the work-space.
In the modern world, less and less people prepare packed food. People are lazy, and thinking ahead and making a lunch the night before does not appeal to most, so they spend time and money finding and buying food from shops near their workplace.
The morning ‘coffee-run’ whereby the office ‘brew bitch’ is sent to the nearest Starbucks/Costa/coffee shop to collect orders for the company can be avoided by simply having a vending machine installed at the company premises. Vending machines are a time saver, as one vending machine business in Essex puts it “vending machines help to improve productivity in the office. A cup of tea takes on average 5-10 minutes to make from filling up the kettle to putting a splash of milk in the cup.”
Do Not Be a Fear Figure
In big business, being a scary CEO has its benefits, however, inside the small business workplace it is a different story. Employees are much more likely to be motivated to work for you if they like you; even more so if they respect you and your vision for the company.
As an employer it can be hard to juggle the myriad of tasks that befall your desk each morning and ensuring your staff are happy and well looked after but it is VITAL that you don’t become a stranger in the workplace. As H.S.M Burns put it “A good manager is a man who isn’t worried about his own career but rather the careers of those who work for him.”
Take time to answer employee emails, leave constructive feedback and interact with employees; don’t be afraid to admit your mistakes and take responsibility for your shortcomings. In essence, be a person. Nothing will make your employees respect you more than being able to relate to you.
A Bad Tool Makes a Bad Workman
We have all heard the phrase ‘a bad workman blames his tools’ and, I am sure, we have all used it to gently chide someone who is making excuses for poor work. However, an employee using bad tools (e.g. a slow or aged computer) will not be as productive as one using an up to date, working version.
Within the boundaries of expense, it is important to make sure that your employees have access to up to date, fully functioning equipment. Not only will this improve their productivity, it will also increase their sense of worth within the company, leading to a happier workforce!