Having a happy and productive workforce is critical to a successful business. But if you put barriers in the way not only will you damage productivity but you’ll also restrict the professional development of your employees, which can lead to other problems such as a demotivated workforce, high staff turnover and poor quality products or services.
Here are 10 ways many organisations hamper productivity, are you guilty of any of these sins?
1. Poor communication
Poor communication between team members is perhaps the biggest barrier to productivity. Without proper communication, collaboration and creativity is reduced and there are timing delays as employees work out who is doing what or has the expertise to help, it can even result in duplication of effort. Regular team meetings and informal on-going communication is vital to productivity.
2. Lack of recognition
Managers need to make recognition part of their everyday activities if they want to keep their employees happy and motivated. A recognition and reward scheme will motivate employees to achieve their goals and go the extra mile. It’s amazing (and well documented) that a simple thank you to individuals or teams at the end of the day can go a long way to keeping employees engaged in their work.
3. Not providing the right tools
In order to do our jobs we need the right tools, whether that’s a mobile phone, a laptop or a piece of software. However one important tool that often gets missed off the list is the necessary skills and knowledge. Ensure employees have the skills and knowledge needed to do their job and if they don’t organise some training to bring them up to speed.
4. Misunderstanding priorities
When there isn’t a clear priority we all tend to focus on doing the easiest tasks first. However this can mean that others in the team end up waiting for a task to be complete before they can do their part. Managers need to be clear on priorities and employees should be encouraged to ask about priorities when there are none.
5. Too long personal conversations
Personal conversations in the workplace give us a short break and can help towards boosting productivity, but not when the conversations go on and on. When conversations last a long time productivity not only suffers for the duration of the conversation but it also takes employees a while to mentally get back to work. The right policies and business culture can address this issue and help you to find a healthy balance.
6. Lack of focus
When we have too many things on our to do list we tend to try and multi-task and do them all, as a result it takes longer to finish any one task. Encourage your employees to prioritise their to do list on a daily basis and work through one task at a time.
7. Consistent lateness
One employee consistently being late into work can effect the productivity of the whole team, not just the individual concerned. Managers need to lead by example and be on time as well as taking the necessary action to rectify the situation if they feel a bad example is being set.
Not only does micro-management by managers reduce productivity due to employees having to tell their managers everything they are doing, but it also creates frustration that will have a demotivating effect and result in reduced productivity. If an individual is unable to work without micro-managing then there is probably a greater problem behind the scenes. Are they dis-engaged? Easily distracted? Not given the appropriate motivation? Or simply in the wrong job?
9. Internet use
Personal use of the Internet whilst at work can be a distraction, and perhaps even create a PR nightmare. With abundance of smart phones it’s difficult to ban all personal use of the Internet whilst at work, but you should have (and enforce) policies on personal Internet use. Giving employees short breaks where they can check their phones can also help you achieve greater levels of productivity and job performance.
10. Not delegating
It may seem quicker to complete a task yourself but not delegating can lead to reduced productivity in the long run. When delegating a task let your employee know what needs to be achieved and by when, and then leave them alone to get on with it – unless they ask for help. Set clear deadlines so you don’t need to keep checking on them, as this will reduce both yours and their productivity and it can be demoralising for the employee. Who knows they might come up with a better or quicker way of doing it!