12 Ways to improve productivity in the workplace

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The way we work has changed almost beyond recognition over the past decade. There’s no such thing as a job for life any longer, and although the eye of management is always on operating as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible, there is – for most companies – also an emphasis on keeping employees happy to get the very best out of them.

Employees also need to fulfil their role and work as productively as possible; here are 12 tips for keeping everyone working at their best:

1. Allow employees to take responsibility

– for the good and the bad. Giving employees credit for their work and their ideas means that they will pay closer attention to and take responsibility for when things go wrong as well.

2. Keep tabs on each project

– make sure that each deadline is hit, and that projects are always broken into manageable workloads to prevent burnout.

3. Allow employees to have enough freedom to work in their own way

– creative employees rarely respond well to micromanagement, and even those who prefer guidance lost the ability to think for themselves when required.

4. Don’t forget to motivate and reward your employees

– although successful project completion and client relations should be their own reward, a happy workforce will work even more effectively when properly recognised.

5. Listen to everyone at every level of the management chain

– the best ideas can often come from the who would appear to be the most junior and inexperienced staff; often, their removal from issues can give them greater clarity in offering solutions.

6. Keep the management door open

– show employees that the boss is human, and is working as hard as they are!

7. Don’t ask for the impossible

– expecting your team to deliver a complex project ahead of schedule by putting in extra hours might work once or twice, say, if you have a new or important client, but expecting them to do so as normal procedure will quickly lead to demotivation and burnout.

8. Encourage employees to work as a team

– if employees are involved in tasks that involve solo-working, consider idea-sharing meetings once a week, so that everyone feels part of the company.

9. Make sure everyone is happy

– motivational bonuses don’t have to mean team building exercises or constant after-work partying, but a comfortable, relaxed workspace can stop boredom and stop employees feeling devalued.

10. Fight boredom

– however interesting an employee’s tasks, monotony can set in. Where possible, allow employees to experience other divisions within the business, and to pick up and swap skills with their colleagues.

11. Invest in people

– don’t have someone that could do Task A within the organisation, but do have someone that does Task B very well, and could cross-train? Allow for adequate professional development and further education.

12. Upgrade equipment

– there’s nothing more soul-destroying than rebooting your computer for the fourth time as a simple mailshot or newsletter crashes it without warning. Make sure that hardware and software is always up to date.

Productivity means different things to different people, so don’t forget to ask your workforce for their input!