18 Techniques to Increase Productivity in the Workplace
Workplace productivity can cost companies thousands of dollars in time theft. Low productivity is normal, but it can also be a result of low company morale and problems in the workplace.
No matter what the issue is, you need to stop poor productivity before it gets worse.
Here are 18 workplace techniques to increase productivity:
1. Implement Time Tracking
Time tracking software forces employees to start and stop time tracking when they are conducting a task. This allows employees and managers to see how much time was spent on each project (as a whole) and on individual tasks.
Time tracking can bring attention to inefficient workflows, employee burnout, over productivity, and other issues in company productivity. With this data, managers can begin to see how long projects are taking and begin to adjust scheduling, estimates, and management styles.
Time tracking can be conducted in employee tracking software and then sent to the manager dashboard. Employees will need to manually add time and projects will need to be synced and organized beforehand so that the data can be properly interpreted. However, with this software, you can improve employee productivity greatly.
2. Use Project Management Software
Project management software is software that organizes projects, tasks, and reminders so that your team knows who needs to complete which tasks. This type of software allows for better organization of daily tasks, including naming, hierarchy, delegation, scheduling, and data storage.
Project management software uses different project management styles like kanban boards and Gantt charts to dictate how projects will progress. There are many different types of project management styles and software and each can be customized for project needs. This software often has automation as well.
3. Encourage Productivity Hacks in Team Settings
Productivity hacks are different techniques that could prove to be successful in increasing employee productivity. Since every employee is different, you never really know what will work for each person. Consider presenting a number of productivity hacks and asking them to try one for a week.
Here are some productivity hack ideas to try:
- Notice and stop multitasking
- Set a single goal for each day
- Work in short bursts
- Take regular breaks and/or stand up regularly
- Block apps and distracting websites
- Create a dedicated workspace in a home office or on a computer
- Meditate or clear the mind for 5 minutes before work, or when coming back to work after lunch
4. Conduct Productivity Meetings With Employees
Managers should regularly schedule meetings with employees, including remote employees and contract workers, to establish and follow up with productivity meetings. These meetings will help both parties establish goals and expectations around productivity.
In these meetings, set goals and expectations with your employees and then use software to track and understand employees’ behaviors. After some period of time has passed (such as two to three weeks, or a month), you will want to reconvene with your employees to track and discuss the progress.
You can interpret metrics and performance concerns individually with each employee or address overall team productivity as well. Remember to set a realistic and clear goal so that your employees are motivated to achieve it. This will give you a better result.
5. Set Expectations and Follow Up on Performance
Low productivity might develop when employees don’t understand their given roles. Without understanding their roles, job expectations, and key performance indicators (KPIs), they might not be confident in which tasks to complete next, how to properly complete their tasks, and performance goals.
It’s important to set expectations around employee productivity. Don’t just tell your employees that you expect them to work. Explain to them what it means to be productive and what that looks like in their given role. Be sure to provide examples and walk-throughs when necessary.
6. Collect Metrics to Prove Performance Declines and Improvements
Metrics help to establish a baseline productivity level so that your employees can see tangible improvements or declines. Metrics can include the number of hours worked on average on projects, the number of a certain type of task being completed, completing daily e-mail checks, and email follow-ups. Each metric will depend on the job role of course, but there are certain baselines that you can establish.
Metrics can be tracked through given productivity tracking software and time tracking software. Collect the metrics and then interpret them with your employees or team members. This is a great opportunity to show what those productivity metrics mean to you.
Maybe the employees thought they were productive? If they aren’t actually productive when they think they are, then you’ll want to identify barriers to performance successes and highlight workplace efficiency techniques.
7. Reward Productivity Publically With Your Team
When employees are engaged, they are more productive, resulting in a potential increase in profits by 21%. Publicly rewarding productivity can encourage employee engagement.
There are ways to reward and incentivize employees for productivity wins. Things like gift cards, free PTO, and the classic pizza party for the most productive teams are easy wins in busy offices.
It’s okay to reward productivity publicly, but be smart on chastizing low productivity as this can decrease morale. Use the reward system primarily for employee motivation and not the opposite.
8. Connect Productivity Tracking With Payroll Systems
If you’re continually tracking productivity but you aren’t seeing any improvements, you can consider connecting tracking with payroll. Most tracking systems connect directly to the software so that payroll is automated and based on productive hours rather than self-reported billing.
Consider classifying only certain tasks as billable hours so employees understand not all productivity is the same.
9. Encourage Breaks and Socializing
Low productivity isn’t always about your employees wanting to goof off or commit time theft. Really, they are human and they may need breaks and time for connecting with their colleagues.
If you encourage breaks and socializing, you’re telling your employees that it’s okay to not have to be productive all the time. A constant state of work or productivity can be demoralizing!
Boost company morale and employee productivity in turn by budgeting for social time and team-building activities.
10. Set Workplace Focus Time
Once distracted, it takes an employee 23 minutes to regain focus. By allotting even just one hour of focus time, you’ll be encouraging a time period when your employees aren’t distracted.
Consider implementing a workplace focus time. This is time that your employees know is dedicated to a certain task. You can delegate specific tasks or just tell employees that messaging and emails should be disregarded during this time. This time period of hyper-focus might surprise you!
11. Encourage Delegating When Necessary
Sometimes employees stay bogged down on a certain task when they shouldn’t. In reality, they should be able to move forward on it, but this is not always the case.
Encourage delegation and even go as far as providing avenues for delegation.
If an employee is available for taking on extra tasks, they could set up a status that alerts other team members in the chat channel.
Additionally, other members can alert members when they have tasks that are available for delegation if anyone wants to PM for more.
12. Set Realistic Goals
So many productivity woes are centered around teams setting unrealistic goals. Let’s look at a job role in customer service answering emails. If it takes an average of one minute to respond to an email and there are only two hours in a day to respond to emails, then it would be impossible to expect each team member to respond to more than 120 emails in that time period.
Management would want to consider setting realistic goals, like only responding to 100 emails or taking breaks when answering emails so that averages can be kept high. Other forms of customer service tasks like answering phone calls and chats can help break up hard-to-achieve goals.
13. Offer Managerial Support
Employees often feel that they can’t hit productivity goals when they don’t have the support they feel they need. Being open about productivity concerns can be crucial and can encourage your employees to reach out if there is a concern.
Managerial support for increasing productivity can look like:
- Offering techniques for improving workplace inefficiencies
- Encouraging employees to do their best
- Offering incentives for hitting lower-range productivity markers
Certain things like listening to music can boost productivity. Encourage your employees to enjoy simple pleasures while doing mundane tasks.
Managers might want to consider other techniques for remote employee support. After all, remote employees aren’t in the cubical next door. You may need to hold virtual office hours and regular meetings to stay connected.
14. Improve Workplace Conditions
Low productivity can very easily come from poor employee morale and bad workplace conditions. Workers do not want to be worked to the bone or worked endlessly. If your employees are stressed, tired, or overworked, then productivity will naturally be lower. In fact, 41% of stressed employees think that their stress is negatively impacting productivity.
Take a look at your workplace conditions and consider the different ways in which these conditions are impacting your productivity performance. Perhaps you need to hire more employees. If you notice increased productivity with a new hire, you’ll know you made the right choice.
If you can’t improve workplace conditions due to certain factors, consider other incentives like bringing in lunch and bonuses. Regardless, looking at your workplace conditions can improve employee retention and morale overall.
15. Adjust the Office Environment
The office environment is not always conducive to productivity. Changing the office environment can provide a productivity Fung Shui. And there are new and innovative businesses who are leading the charge on this.
Consider these hybrid office examples for long-term and short-term improvements.
16. Conduct Job Satisfaction Surveys to Understand Employee Wellness, Engagement, and Productivity
One great way to identify productivity concerns is through employee wellness surveys. It might be the case that your employees are having workplace issues but they either do not know how to bring this up or feel uncomfortable doing so.
Anonymous surveys are a great way to identify and address potential issues in the work environment. Happier workers will mean higher levels of productivity, better products, and more innovation. Ask your human resources department to get this set up.
17. Teach Efficiency Habits
Workplace learning sessions will help your employees to learn new efficiency habits. Perhaps your employees actually don’t know how to work more efficiently. Perhaps they think that they are able to multi-task when we know that this is not the case! And efficiency habits are continually improving.
In addition to efficiency habits, consider employee training to boost overall employee productivity. Consider teaching workers the traits of highly productive people, as well as tangible ways to also be productive:
- Know what’s important
- Plan their day
- Get back on track quickly
- Understand and protect their priorities
- Arm themselves with the right tools
- Can have a focus times
- Are well organized
- Are disciplined
- Keep learning
When teaching these traits and habits to your employees, make sure that they understand that even if they do not feel organized or productive on their major tasks, they can complete other tasks. Sometimes crossing small things off a to-do list is enough to re-engage.
18. Conduct Employee Monitoring
Employee monitoring is one of the most trusted methods for improving productivity. With this software, employers can do the following:
- Track project time
- Objectively understand work performance
- View employees working harder and smarter and those having trouble
- Be alerted to poor operations and poorly managed projects
- Gain metrics around employee performance
- Catch wasted time
- Read time tracking reports
- View records of visited websites and applications
- Track task duration
- Track attendance
- Read communications and messages to catch procrastinating employees
- Catch employees shopping on the clock
- Get teams on the same page
- Save valuable time, money, and resources with time theft
See why tracking time and projects with SoftActivity monitoring is the best way to reengage your employees and boost productivity.
By SoftActivity Team.