How to ensure employee productivity in a world full of distractions

How to ensure employee productivity in a world full of distractions

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From Facebook to Pokemon Go, modern day employees have it pretty tough when it comes to distractions in the workplace. Although technology can also help them achieve their at-work goals more efficiently and effectively, it can also serve as a serious determent when it provides a more entertaining experience than the work they have in front of them.

If you’re an employer struggling to find the balance between offering an enjoyable work environment while also getting the best work out of your employees, you’re not alone. It can be difficult to achieve a workplace culture that fosters independent work, while also inspiring productivity and efficiency. Fortunately, there are several simple steps you can take to become more effective in your efforts to increase employee productivity without cracking down on employee fun.

Here are five ways you can ensure employee productivity, despite the many disruptions your employees face in today’s workplace.

1. Keep your employees happy

In a recent study conducted by Warwick University, employees surveyed showed a 12 percent spike in productivity when they met criteria that considered them to be “happy” at work. The same study showed that unhappy employees showed a 10 percent decrease in productivity. Moral of the story? You need to make sure your employees enjoy their work environment if you want them to perform to the best of their ability.

A report on the study generated by Go to Meeting explained that some of the key factors involved with employee happiness include the quality of their relationships with coworkers, commute time, how well they get along with their managers, the degree of control they have over their work, and whether or not a natural work environment is accessible.

If you’re looking to increase productivity among your employees, consider each of the areas mentioned by the report, and think about what you’re currently doing to increase your employees’ satisfaction with them. Things like planning a few team building days, investing in ongoing leadership training, and offering spaces for your employees to work on benches outside of your office for part of the day, could really go a long way in keeping your employees happy.

2. Understand where your employees excel

Few things are worse than attempting to complete a task in a timely manner when it involves skills that are outside of your own expertise. If you’re looking to have your employees work as effectively and efficiently as possible, it’s important that you take notice of their strengths and weaknesses, and assign their roles based on their abilities. Sure, you want to foster growth and encourage learning among your employees, but forcing them to work in an area where they are weaker will only leave them less happy and less productive.

If you’re at a loss when it comes to effectively managing your employees’ strengths and weaknesses, I recommend checking out this guide for a little help. It explains a little bit about how you can appropriately assign your employees’ tasks based on their strengths, while also guiding them to grow in areas where their performance could stand to improve.

3. Keep meetings light

We all get annoyed when we’re pulled away from current projects to attend meetings that seem kind of pointless. If you notice that employee productivity is lacking, a surplus of meetings could be the culprit. By scheduling and attending unnecessary meetings, your employees lose a significant amount of time from their days that could be better spent executing the projects they’ve been asked to oversee.

Start to notice your meeting scheduling habits and consider whether or not you could stand to cut a few out of your daily routine. Once you’ve trimmed down your day a bit, ask your employees to do the same. Ask them to consider whether or not they feel that some meetings could be handled as a simple chat with a smaller group, in order to save some time and resources. You could also share this post from the Moz blog with them as well. It will surely give them a few good tips on scheduling more productive and effective meetings.

4. Consider a project queue platform

There’s something about having a to-do list that magically makes your work seem more organized and constructive. Providing a platform for your employees to create and complete their own to-do lists, will help them organize their work without making them feel like you’re imposing on their desire for autonomy.

An online platform I’ve had the best experience with is Basecamp. This platform allows you to create shared or individual projects, load up to-do lists in your queue, and collaborate with others using a shared file space. Your team could use a platform like this to either organize solo tasks, or facilitate the process of collaborating on group projects.

5. Help them take ownership of their work

A critical component of productivity is accountability. Employees who take ownership of their work are more likely to work diligently to see it through to completion. Although many employers try to take the route of attempting to make their employees hold themselves accountable for their work, this is rarely effective. They key is to help your employees find projects that they can really call their own, and produce a finished product that they can feel accountable for.

SoapBox HQ offers up an excellent article that explains how you can help your employees take accountability for the work they produce.

Now that you’ve got the tips to get started, it’s time to analyze your current employee productivity efforts, and see how you can implement these concepts to send your employees’ performance through the roof! If you have any questions or additional tips for fellow readers, I’d love to hear them. Let me know in the comments below.

How to ensure employee productivity in a world full of distractions

Сomputers and Internet greatly facilitate the work of millions of employees all over the world, and your company is no exception. However, they also bring in a lot of distractions that can eliminate the positive effects and pose a serious threat to employee productivity, aside from other factors. This is what worries employers all over the world and this is what they’re seeking a solution for.

Before you decide what to do about all the things that shift your employees’ focus from their duties to something else, it is important that you “know your enemies”. In other words, let’s see what are the major distractions at the workplace?

Сommon “productivity killers”

Personal issues

Naturally, this is and will always be the primary issue. Your employees have families they need to care about, kids who get sick, they face divorces, household conflicts, financial issues etc. But it is important to strike a balance between too much interfering and total negligence in this case.

Portable devices

Your employees no longer use their phones for calling only. They send text messages, play games, watch videos, use various apps and social networks.

Social networks

It’s hard to find a person without a profile in at least one of the social networks, therefore, they act as a very strong distraction, making employees want to peep in and check their profile every now and then. These short breaks, if taken too frequently, can cost a lot in terms of productivity, because every time a worker gets back to the task, he/she needs some time to find where he/she stopped.

Office atmosphere

Some offices, with the modern equipment, are less conducive for productivity than a city park. Having many people talking and moving around, numerous phones ringing incessantly and hearing outside noise often results in employees having difficulties with concentration. They may prefer working from home or working late hours to get some silence.

Tips to Boost Productivity

The first thing you need to understand and accept is that distractions are inevitable. You cannot eliminate all of them, and don’t need to. Sometimes, they can even be useful.

Another thing you need to realize – productivity isn’t limitless and you cannot work immensely on boosting it. Moreover, employees are human beings, not robots, and it’s impossible to make them work productively each minute of their working hours.

Therefore, the best idea would be focusing on helping employees beсome more efficient instead of exercising strict control over the distractions described above.

1. Use the employee productivity software

By installing employee productivity software like Yaware.TimeTracker you will be able to track attendance and activities on their computers. You’ll know what time each worker arrives and leaves the office, and be able to view schedule violators in a few clicks. Time tracking software will also help stop social networks abuse by collecting the data on all websites and apps used along with the duration. This can be an excellent alternative to blocking access to non-work related resources altogether. Instead, you can allow their use for a limited time daily and include it in the company policy. The software also tracks the number and duration of breaks throughout the day, and is capable of requesting for their reason.

The advantage of a time tracker software is that it virtually eliminates the need for physical control since it is automated. Other than that, it excludes fraud. Unlike timeclocks that anyone can swipe and employee in/out, it is practically impossible to deceive and all the data provided is accurate. Plus, Yaware.TimeTracker can estimate employee productivity based on the resources used, so you’ll be able to measure the progress objectively.

2. Create company policy on the use of mobile devices

While it’s impossible and not needed to forbid mobiles at the workplace, you can set the rules of their use and control how they are kept. It can be helpful to provide employees with corporate phones, which will contain only the necessary apps and connections.

3. Spur productivity with financial rewards system

Again, make sure employees know what rewards they are going to get. Even insignificant sums can act as strong incentives to work better. However, it is important that they are not the base of your productivity boosting strategy.

Conclusion

In order to succeed in the quest for higher productivity, you should act to motivate employees rather than make them work under the threat of a punishment. Anyway, to a great extent it depends on the person – so if you hire ambitious people who are willing to win and achieve more and more, it’s unlikely that eliminating distractions would be your primary concern.

Nevertheless, time tracking software would be helpful in increasing employee productivity in your company. You don’t need to make any commitments – use the free 14-day trial to check it out and then make your decision. Ready? Then, register your account and go ahead.

Ready to improve employee productivity?

One Comment

tushar

Hi, thank you for this post I agree with you that Сomputers and Internet greatly facilitate the work of millions of employees all over the world, and your company is no exception. However, they also bring in a lot of distractions that can eliminate the positive effects and pose a serious threat to employee productivity, aside from other factors. very useful information

Recent research from BambooHR shows that breaks, small talk and socializing in the workplace can actually help bolster productivity and employee engagement.

Senior Writer, CIO |

What are your employees up to when they’re not actively on task? Chances are, you’re thinking they’re surfing the Web, doing some online shopping or banking, or posting cat videos on Facebook. But research suggests that more “traditional” distractions, like trips to the break room, watercooler chat and trading gossip with their colleagues, are actually consuming more of workers’ time — and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

A recent study from human resources information systems company BambooHR conducted in October polled 1,005 U.S.-based full-time employees and found that traditional activities, like taking breaks to the office water cooler or the break room and participating in small talk, still reign supreme as the most time-consuming workplace distractions.

“We expected to find employees spending massive amounts of time on Facebook, texting and surfing the ‘Net. We were surprised to find that the old standards were actually taking up more time. And we also realized that’s not a bad thing,” says Rusty Lindquist, vice president of insights and human capital management at BambooHR.

For some companies, these results would trigger management’s natural inclination to stamp out these kinds of distractions in the name of greater productivity, Lindquist says, but doing so could actually have the opposite effect.

“When you get physically fatigued, your muscles hurt, or you’re stressed. But when you’re mentally fatigued, you get burned out and your performance suffers. Standing up, moving around, grabbing a snack, having a conversation — these breaks help your brain take a break so it can refocus and refresh, which goes a long way toward increasing performance and productivity,” says Lindquist.

Improving engagement

Social connections in the workplace can also contribute to greater employee engagement, which tends to correlate with better performance and productivity, says Tim Eisenhauer, co-founder and president of collaboration solutions company Axero Solutions.

“Everything falls apart when engagement levels suffer, and it’s a common problem for many businesses. Fortunately, engagement rates will improve if you let employees relax and converse,” and that translates to a much more positive corporate culture, Eisenhauer says.

Building culture

Culture is hugely important in such a tight talent market; without it, it’s hard for companies to retain and attract the talent they need to remain competitive and innovative,”Employees need to feel comfortable and confident for a positive company culture to develop. Culture is often born from shared interests, many of which have nothing to do with work. It’s unrealistic to expect collaboration and engagement to come together without the help of water cooler chat,” and similar activities, Eisenhauer says.

In fact, a lot of startups and forward-thinking companies are designing their office spaces to reflect an increased emphasis on communication and collaboration, with open floor plans and shared workspaces. Of course, there should still be enclosed, private spaces for meetings or when employees need to really focus without distractions, but in general, the emphasis is on constant communication and collaboration, Lindquist says.

Facilitating communication and collaboration can be as simple as making small talk, says Eisenhauer, especially if you have a variety of personality types in your workplace. “Some people find it easy to work and collaborate with people they don’t know. Others need a degree of shared personal interests for collaboration to be at its best. Getting to know someone before diving into complex tasks together can make a huge difference,” he says.

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Water cooler chats, coffee breaks and casual conversation not only improve engagement and productivity, they can also increase workers’ interactions with senior level management and executives, and foster increased trust in and respect for company leadership, Eisenhauer says.

“If employees are afraid or hesitant to talk with their managers or with higher-level executives, your business will suffer. People are more likely to open up when the conversation is about personal interests and not about work-related details. Water cooler chat is ideal for people to get more comfortable with their managers,” and company executives; they’ll be more comfortable speaking up and making their voices heard, he says, and they’ll trust that leadership will listen.

The bottom line? Don’t be so quick to discourage these activities when you see them. If you’re encouraging social interaction, communication and collaboration, employees will notice. They’ll be more willing to trust you, to go the extra mile when needed and be more loyal to their employer. That respect will translate to greater engagement, increased collaboration and better productivity overall.

“Employees want workplaces where they can establish friendships, communicate and collaborate openly. If you want to retain your current employees and attract new talent, you almost have to double down on the social and collaborative aspects of the workforce. If you try and impose restrictions, they’ll go find someplace else to work,” Lindquist says.

In today’s remote work world, it can be difficult to measure employee productivity. Here are some ways to ensure your workers are performing at their best.

By: Nicole Fallon, Contributor

Measuring employee productivity has always been important, but it’s especially critical in the modern world when so many workforces have gone fully remote.

It’s easy for remote employees to be “out of sight, out of mind,” but staying on top of their performance is essential for fostering an efficient team. With the right productivity metrics, you can ensure everyone is on track and making progress.

How to measure employee productivity

There are many simple ways to measure your employees’ performance, even if their normal “9-to-5” schedule has been disrupted by their obligations at home.

Project management tools

Karen Oakey, director of human resources at Fracture, recommends using collaborative project management tools to accommodate different teams as employees try to balance their work and personal life.

“We use basic project management tools like JIRA, Asana and Google Suite, as well as internally-developed processes to track initiatives, project tasks and deliverables to completion,” she said.

‘Planned-to-done’ tasks

Since the work of each department and employee is different, using a single productivity metric isn’t always fair or accurate, said Sahin Boydas, founder and CEO of RemoteTeam.com. However, for consistency, Boydas’s team focuses mainly on “planned-to-done” tasks.

“Employees are assessed based on how well they plan their work, alone or with the team, and how well they execute their tasks to meet deadlines,” he said.

Net Promoter Score

A net promoter score (NPS) tells you the likelihood of customers recommending your brand and its products to a friend or colleague. Becca Hoeft, chief brand officer of Sunrise Banks, found that calculating her company’s NPS is a direct indicator of employee productivity.

“If our customers’ needs aren’t being met, then productivity will be down,” Hoeft said. “A high NPS score is indicative of a well-oiled team that’s sufficiently meeting customer needs.”

Results

No matter what an individual employee’s job title, measuring their productivity is all about results. Defining what successful results look like for each employee, depending on their projects, provides a more accurate picture of their overall performance, said Nerissa Zhang, CEO of The Bright App.

For example, she explained, a social media manager’s measurable results might be to post a certain number of times per day or week on the company’s platforms, or boost follower counts by a certain percentage each quarter.

What if an employee’s productivity is slipping?

If an employee is falling short based on their performance metrics, the first course of action should always be honest, transparent communication without judgment or immediate punishment.

“If you notice the employee is consistently slipping, this should be the first flag to start the conversation before it snowballs into larger issues,” Oakey told CO—.

Oakey advised having an open discussion about what’s working and what’s not, and really listening to what the employee has to say.

“Whenever an employee is not meeting agreed-upon deadlines or expectations, we have a personal conversation with them to see what’s behind their slip in productivity,” added Zhang. “Based on this conversation, we can determine the cause of the problem and come up with a solution together.”

Whenever an employee is not meeting agreed-upon deadlines or expectations, we have a personal conversation with them to see what’s behind their slip in productivity.

Nerissa Zhang, CEO, The Bright App

How to get everyone on board with productivity metrics

Employees typically understand why managers need to keep tabs on productivity, but if it’s communicated poorly, your staff might feel like they’re being micromanaged. Here’s how to measure employee productivity without making your team feel like they’re under constant pressure and surveillance.

Let them know how you’re measuring productivity

Being transparent about how you’re measuring your workers’ productivity will both hold them accountable and inspire them to do their best work at all times.

“I recommend making staff aware of . metrics you’re using to measure employee performance,” said Hoeft. “Discuss it in weekly team meetings and get everyone up to speed on how to improve the customer experience.”

Set clear expectations

Oakey noted that clearly defining employees’ deliverables, including deadlines, is key to ensuring everyone is on the same page.

“Set clear performance expectations and a path to open communication if questions arise or further support is needed,” she added.

Get them involved in their own success

Employee involvement and support from leadership should be a priority for all managers when tracking their workers’ productivity, said Boydas.

“Involve … employees right from the stage where you define the metrics [for] productivity,” he said.

This strategy allows managers to “identify the uniqueness of each employee,” added Boydas.

Foster a culture of open communication

Zhang said her team reviews weekly reports from their employees outlining what they’ve accomplished and worked on, including a section where they discuss any challenges they faced. This encourages employees to openly communicate their concerns without fear of reprisal.

“Your employees need to feel comfortable being honest when they’re being tasked with providing unrealistic results or asking for additional support when they need it,” said Zhang.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

Follow us on Instagram for more expert tips & business owners stories.

With companies all over the U.S. and the world mandating or encouraging remote work, here are ways to keep your employees getting critical work done.

By: Sean Ludwig, Contributor

There’s no doubt coronavirus (COVID-19) has drastically changed the business landscape in 2020, with more businesses than ever encouraging or requiring employees to work from home. While many employees already do some work remotely, many workers and managers are still trying to adjust to this paradigm shift.

Working from home means more distractions, fewer ways to interact naturally with fellow employees, and more social isolation — all of which can lead to less productivity. To overcome these challenges, employers should explore new ways to manage and collaborate with employees and enable more ways for employees to connect with each other.

Here are six ways you can keep your team productive while they are working from home or in the field.

Equip your team with tech and productivity tools

First and foremost, one of the most important ways to help teams succeed while working remotely is to get them tools to help them stay connected and productive. These include project management tracking apps such as Asana and Airtable, chat/messaging apps such as Slack and Microsoft Teams, and video conferencing apps such as Zoom and Google Hangouts.

Equipping teams with these new technologies allows managers and employees all stay on the same page no matter where they are working from, whether it’s from home or waiting in a long line at the grocery store. These new apps might also help keep your team more productive and connected after COVID-19 fears lessen and people go back to work.

Establish daily check-ins

With managers no longer getting daily face time with employees and employees not being able to chat around the proverbial water cooler, creating a daily check-in routine is an important way to set priorities and foster connections. A morning check-in via video chat, phone call or instant message can create a sense of normalcy. These check-ins can be one-on-one or held among small groups.

The tech and productivity tools mentioned above can be vital for revamping regular check-ins. For example, if you previously held a daily all-hands meeting in-person, you may want to use a video conferencing app to have a virtual version of the same meeting each morning. Revamped meetings that adapt specifically to remote workers can help you maintain productivity.

Set virtual office hours and be present on instant messaging apps throughout the day to help employees.

How to ensure employee productivity in a world full of distractions

Encourage dedicated workspaces

Many regular office workers have never needed dedicated workspace in their homes, but if they are now regularly working from home, managers should encourage the creation of home offices that are separate from communal space. In some cases, companies have even offered large stipends to help workers create appropriate, productive spaces for remote work.

Dedicated workspaces can help free employees from the normal distractions from home life. With many parents needing to be at home with their children due to school closures, an office away from family can allow you to maintain focus and stay on task. Even if this office is a temporary makeshift space — such as a guest room, basement, attic or walk-in closet — this can help you mentally separate work from home.

Provide emotional and steady support

As working from home can contribute to loneliness and negative emotions, employers should do what they can to provide emotional support to employees. Leaders should set the tone for their virtual offices with a calm and upbeat presence, which helps create a level-headed workplace where people can still get things done.

In a fully remote work setup, managers should also be more available than usual for check-ins and other questions that may come up given the unfamiliar circumstances. Set virtual office hours and be present on instant messaging apps throughout the day to help employees.

Leaders should additionally encourage self-care among their employees, who mentally are trying to adapt to remote work, the stress of new environments and the stress of daily updates around COVID-19. Managers should advocate for Remote employees to exercise, get quality sleep, take showers, and continue on with lives as normally as they can.

Dress for success

While it may not sound important to be dressed for business while working from home, psychologically it does help many workers to not be wearing sweatpants and pajamas while trying to be productive. Dressing up for yourself can also mentally help you feel better, thus making it easier to focus on checking important tasks off your list. Dressing appropriately also allows employees to feel more comfortable hopping on an impromptu video call with clients or coworkers.

Don’t forget about non-work interactions and team building

Finally, one last thing that may not be obvious to managers is the importance of facilitating non-work interactions among remote workers. Creating time and space for workers to talk about news, hobbies, and other topics — just as they would have done in the office — helps them relieve stress and feel better connected. One way to do this is to leave a few minutes before and after video conferences open for people to catch up. Another is to host a weekly virtual happy hour (drinking not required) or a virtual team-building exercise to build bridges between employees.

For more resources from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce:

  • All of our coronavirus content in one place.
  • COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs
  • Reopening Guide and Resources
  • Main Street Lending Program Guide
  • Social Media Toolkit for Reopening for Reopening
  • State-by-State Business Reopening Guide, with interactive map
  • Paycheck Protection Loan Guide
  • Economic Injury Disaster Loan Guide
  • Guide to PPP Loan Forgiveness
  • Employee Retention Tax Credit Guide
  • Coronavirus Response Toolkit for Businesses
  • Customizable flyer for businesses to communicate with customers
  • Find your local Chamber of Commerce
  • The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s list of small business resources for coronavirus assistance
  • CARES Act Guide for Independent Contractors and 1099 Workers
  • U.S. Chamber OnDemand – A new streaming service

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

Follow us on Instagram for more expert tips & business owners stories.

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When it comes to ensuring that your business is as productive as possible, there’s a lot of different areas to investigate – but by far the most important is your employees. If your employees are working at a good pace, and are completing work on time, then the chances are that your business will perform well; if they’re not, then it most likely won’t.

The common solutions used to boost employee productivity

The fact that employees are crucial to overall productivity is very well understood, which has led to the development of a number of solutions that are designed to help encourage productivity in staff members. Apps that help with time management , for example, have become a staple in offices across the world, while more and more companies are choosing to introduce employee benefits schemes or offer work incentives to help keep productivity levels as high as possible. Similarly, the link between employee engagement and productivity has also become a focus, with companies going above and beyond in order to increase engagement from their staff.

All of the options above are well worth exploring, and could be genuinely beneficial to your business – but there is an aspect of productivity that can often be overlooked: distraction.

How distractions impact productivity

Being able to focus on a task is at the heart of productivity and, without this ability, even the most advanced apps or most tempting incentive schemes for boosting engagement (and subsequently productivity) will struggle. If employees are simply unable to completely give their attention to a task, then that task will either be done slower than it actually needs to be, or not completed at all. No matter how engaged an employee is, or how big a reward there is for completing a task on time, if they can’t actually settle their mind to the work, it’s not going to be done.

The distractions of the modern workplace

Unfortunately, distractions are everywhere in the modern work environment. Here are the most common causes of distractions, along with solutions as to how they can be reduced:

#1 – Office distractions

Open plan offices may have become the standard, but they do lead to higher rates of distraction – either because employees talk to one another more, or due to employees overhearing conversations and finding themselves distracted from their own tasks.

The solution: Encourage employees who wish to converse to go to a separate area, rather than the main office itself, to do so. Also ensure that there are ‘quiet spaces’ in your office where employees can retreat if required; you can find out more about these spaces at thereceptionist.com .

#2 – Tech disruptions

Business technology problems can also be hugely distracting for employees. If a staff member wants to work, then they need their computer hardware and the business network to function as required. If this does not happen, then staff can become distracted as they have to pause their original task and seek solutions or workarounds to the issue they are experiencing.

The solution : All computer hardware should be checked and, wherever necessary, updated in order to ensure full functionality is maintained. You can also consider the likes of onlinecomputers.com for managed IT services that can proactively monitor your network and ensure that distracting downtime is kept to a minimum.

#3 – Emails

According to expandedramblings.com , an office worker will receive 121 emails per day, which means there are potentially over 100 occasions every single day when an employee has to pause a task to check and see if an email is important.

The solution: Implement a company-wide policy that email notifications should be switched off , with employees instead checking emails when they have the chance to do so rather than being directly distracted from tasks by the ping of a notification. If employees need to contact one another urgently (and thus cannot simply wait for the recipient to decide to check their emails), then they should be encouraged to call or seek to discuss the matter in person

#4 – Notifications from collaboration tools

It’s not just emails that can result in continual distraction due to notifications; platforms such as Slack and Trello can also be problematic. This is especially true given that many of these platforms are used for idle chat rather than business-related activities; a little lighthearted conversation is, obviously, fine, but in terms of notifications, employees cannot tell the difference between a notification they have to check as it is important for work purposes, and a chattier, less-time-sensitive notification.

The solution: Ask employees to turn off all notifications from collaboration tools when they need to focus updating – if possible – their status within the tool to reflect that they will no longer be able to reply. As with email, any urgent queries can be called through or addressed in person.

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How to ensure employee productivity in a world full of distractions

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Getting productivity levels up is something all managers and HR team members have a vested interest in. Keeping the organization running at optimum levels is the best way to know when new hires are needed and also to be most effective in spending payroll dollars.

How to ensure employee productivity in a world full of distractions

Source: Tashatuvango / Shutterstock

Here are a few tips employers can utilize to increase employee productivity:

  • Ensure the employees have all of the tools they need to do their jobs well. This may mean updating or getting new software or updating processes and procedures. Get input from your employees on what they’re missing.
  • Invest in employee development by offering training that fills skills gaps to allow employees to perform at their best.
  • Encourage managers to delegate to ensure they’re focusing on the right activities. Train them in delegation if needed.
  • Get employees’ input on what can be improved about the organization and how their jobs can be made more efficient—and be sure to follow up on the input and implement as much as possible.
  • Ensure employees understand their goals and how their work fits into the larger organizational goals and vision. Measure progress against goals on a regular basis, and course-correct along the way.
  • Offer incentives for reaching difficult goals. These may be monetary, but they don’t necessarily have to be. Consider providing small incentives along the way to reaching larger goals. Even small incentives can be motivating.
  • Regularly evaluate employee job requirements, and ensure no one is overloaded. Burnout will cause stress and will not help productivity over time.
  • Check in with employees to monitor engagement levels. Engaged employees will naturally be more productive. HR has a direct role here in the form of employee engagement surveys.
  • Monitor the cultural atmosphere and workplace vibe. If it starts becoming negative, take action to turn that around. Negativity can reduce morale, which could lead to frustration and less productivity.
  • Give regular feedback and plenty of recognition and encouragement. Recognize a job done well to encourage more of it.
  • Ensure the work space is conducive to productivity. If possible, allow natural light in, and make it more welcoming.
  • Consider adding an employee wellness program if it’s not already in place. Encouraging wellness can improve health and reduce absences, thus increasing productivity. As an employee benefit, this is another area where HR is the primary department having an impact on productivity.
  • Ensure the lines of communication with employees are open and that communication from HR and management happens frequently enough to keep employees in the know about what’s happening in the organization. That helps foster trust and transparency.
  • Ensure breaks happen at appropriate intervals to allow the employees time to recharge. Encourage vacation time, as well, to reduce stress and burnout.
  • Consider allowing flexibility in work schedules. Flexibility in scheduling can allow employees to work hours that will best suit their nonwork life and reduce issues and distractions in the workday.
  • Consider allowing remote working options. Remote working can reduce commuting stress and time and can increase productivity.

What other policies or changes have you implemented to further improve employee productivity from the HR perspective?

How to ensure employee productivity in a world full of distractions

With the world slowly returning to normal following the gradual easing of lockdown measures, the attention of many business leaders is on the return of their employees to the workplace.

Is the office space COVID-secure? Are there procedures in place to ensure that staff members feel comfortable? What will happen to the typical workplace ‘banter’ employees will have come accustomed to?

These are all questions many employers will have found themselves asking over recent weeks and months. After all, it is their key responsibility to protect the health and safety of their staff. If they don’t, the result could be catastrophic not only in terms of staff retention but productivity as well.

So, how can employers safeguard against this, ensuring the productivity levels of their employees remain as they were, if not better than before the COVID-19 outbreak?

Well, that’s where we come in. Utilizing project management tools such as ClickUp helps you plan projects, schedule tasks, and manage your resources in a centralized workspace where you can communicate and collaborate with team members whether they have returned to the office, or are now working remotely .

Join us as we run through some effective ways for employers to improve their staff’s productivity while transitioning back into post-COVID office life.

Redesign Your Workplace

With the 6 feet (2-meter) social distancing measures in place, it’s safe to say the workplace is going to look very different when workers return.

Employers will now need to ensure the workplace is kept as COVID-secure as possible, whether that be through a thermal camera on employees’ entrance at work, desks being situated a safe distance apart, or holding lunch breaks on a one-by-one basis.

But why should they stop there?

Many workers enjoy being able to concentrate while at work, away from any distractions they may come across outside or while at home.

Employers should consider implementing strategies around this idea when it comes to redesigning the office. One UK manufacturer, Smartlouvre , suggests utilising MicroLouvre glazed partitioning to ensure privacy in the office, as it “provides a new and exciting dimension to high-performance glass aesthetics, designed to maximise both appearance and function”.

Clean the Office

While it may sound fairly obvious, having a clean office environment can do wonders to the productivity levels of staff – and now more than ever.

Since we have recently been in the midst of a global pandemic, everyone’s sense of hygiene and personal health has been heightened exponentially.

Workers will now be more conscious of the environment they’re having to work in – the dirtier it is, the less comfortable they’ll feel, and the less productively they’ll work as a result.

From the printer to the phone, the mouse to the keyboard, the cooler to the kettle, there are numerous germ hotspots throughout the office , so employers need to keep them clean.

Also, hand sanitizer and antibacterial hand gel should be made available at all times to combat the spread of disease, regardless of whether it’s coronavirus or not.

Communicate With Your Team

After many months of self-isolating, employees will rightly want to know what’s been going on with the business throughout lockdown.

Since the pandemic came about so suddenly, many organizations were caught off guard and forced to constantly alter their strategy in order to stay afloat.

That’s not to mention the overwhelming effect of the furlough scheme as well. Many staff who were furloughed during the lockdown will likely now feel out of the loop, seeking reassurance and clarification on what the business’s aims now are post-COVID-19.

Employers need to tell their staff this information. Nobody – whether it be an employer or employee – enjoys being left in the dark. Only by working together as a team can staff be expected to want to work productively for a company.

Moreover, some businesses will have had no choice recently but to rethink their working approach, in terms of both the services they offer and how their internal processes are run. It’s important, therefore, to consider how staff will respond to these changes.

Say, for example, a particular company decided to adopt ClickUp’s all-in-one productivity software during lockdown to streamline all its processes and remove the need for multiple apps. When it comes to transitioning back into the office, that company’s staff will now need time to get up to speed with the new software, which will only be possible if an effective communication channel is in place.

Be Transparent

While on the topic of effective communication , business leaders will need to be completely open and transparent with their staff.

Employees aren’t stupid, after all. They will recognise how trying the period has been that the coronavirus pandemic has brought with it, and the economic uncertainty that’s set to follow in the coming months and years.

Therefore, they have the right to know the nitty-gritty details of how their place of work has been impacted.

Whether it be a huge decline in revenue, profitability, clients or staff members, the more honest an employer is with their staff, the more motivated their employees will be to work harder to get them back to where they were before the pandemic, or even beyond!

Listen

As mentioned already, staff have had a tough time of it lately due to the lockdown and – whether employers like it or not – sometimes personal life has to take priority over work.

Leaders need to set an example for their workers, listening to their needs, and allowing them to work in a way they feel comfortable with.

If an employee needs to work from home two days a week to fit their child’s nursery opening times, for example, then they should be allowed to. Chances are, they will work harder and faster as a way of thanking their employer for listening and allowing them to work around their personal life.

Likewise, if an employee doesn’t feel comfortable coming into the office, employers should give them the freedom to work from home or reassure their concerns by ensuring the office space is kept as COVID-secure as possible.

In Conclusion

So, there you have it: five key ways to ensure staff work as productively as possible when returning to the workplace.

In essence, it all comes down to ensuring they feel comfortable. If they don’t, and they are worrying about the risk being back at work could pose on their family or friends, their focus won’t be on the task at hand. That means their productivity will suffer as a result.

By implementing an open and honest means of communication between workers, staff will soon feel a lot more motivated to work at their best, allowing all thoughts of Coronavirus to be left at the office door.

Need a remote work OS to help your team be productive? Create a free account with ClickUp today!

The COVID-19 outbreak has forced many businesses to offer, if not require, work-from-home options for employees. With people working remotely, employers face many challenges with maintaining the same level of productivity as before the pandemic. Here are five guidelines to help ensure your employees are maximizing their time outside of the office and inside their homes.

How to ensure employee productivity in a world full of distractions

Source: Tashatuvango / Shutterstock

Require a Set Schedule

Contrary to popular belief, a large number of employees end up overworking when they work remotely. One reason is because they don’t maintain a set schedule of working hours.

Be sure your employees have a start time, a designated lunch break, and an end time. Working set hours not only provides a consistent schedule during which you can reach them for assignments or questions, but also gives their minds time to rest.

Enforcing a hard limit at the end of the workday prevents employees from working nonstop. Additionally, setting a schedule for your nonexempt employees and accurately tracking their hours is especially important for correctly paying overtime, if any.

Eliminate Distractions

On average, remote employees lose at least 27 minutes per day on distractions, including text messages, phone calls, and conversations with other household members. Encourage them to manage the distractions by:

  • Silencing their cell phones;
  • Making it clear to other people in the house they shouldn’t be disturbed except for emergencies;
  • Choosing a quiet location to work such as a den/office or spare bedroom; and
  • Using a pair of noise-canceling headphones.

If employees are working on company-provided computers or laptops, have your IT department block all social media websites such as Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, and Instagram.

Provide Access to Programs

Equip your employees with tech and productivity tools. If they had access to specific programs in the office (e.g., Outlook, Adobe, and Word), be sure they have the same options at home.

Also, think about how working remotely may have affected certain work tasks. For example, do employees need a DocuSign account to send documents electronically for signatures? Do they need an external webcam to attend video conferences?

Encourage Breaks

On average, people can focus on any given task for about 90 to 120 minutes. After that, they need a 5-minute break to recharge.

You should encourage employees to take appropriate breaks to prevent fatigue. Statistics show regular breaks increase productivity, improve mental well-being, and boost creativity.

Require a Productivity Log

Productivity logs are gold mines for increasing output. They boost employee efficiency, motivation, and focus. They cause employees to become aware of wasted time (searching the web, doing household chores, browsing social media) and minimize the time spent not working.

In addition, productivity logs allow you to identify which employees are close to burning out, who needs more work, and who needs help staying on track. They also help you to analyze whether the work is being distributed evenly.

Bottom Line

During the pandemic, many employees are searching for a sense of normalcy after being faced with working from home in unsuitable spaces alongside spouses, children, pets, and other distractions. The above tips can help employees get back to normal while improving morale and increasing productivity.