How to Keep Employees Focused and Productive

Encouraging productivity in the workforce is a task that many businesses struggle with. A lack of productivity can come about when your company is going through times of change like management transitions, or, it can be more systemic and one of the reasons why your company does not succeed above the competition.

According to the Harvard Business Review, an unproductive workforce during uncertain times is normal. But, as you may be asking, what does it mean when your workforce is not productive and times are, well, normal?

Whatever is happening at your company, you recognize that your employees need to improve their ability to focus and get work done.

What steps should you take? How do you keep employees focused and productive? 

There are several ways to improve productivity. In this article, we are going to address the wide range of tactics your company can adopt to make this critical shift.

While your business may or may not use each of the tactics, it’s important to recognize that just adopting one may not be sufficient enough to motivate change. You may need a combination of tactics to create the well-oiled machine that your industry demands. 

Employee Monitoring Software

Implementing a monitoring software is the first step that your company should take in addressing a lack of productivity. An employee monitoring software will tell you hard numbers around the who, where, and what of employee productivity. 

Employee monitoring software is a software tool that records logs of the goings-on on a given computer. This type of software can be remotely installed across a network, so it can be quickly implemented and begin to track numbers. 

You can also set the preferences for privacy and security so that you can protect sensitive employee information. 

Most of the time, this software will track keystroke frequency, web browser activity, time spent within an application, and more. This software not only aims to improve employee productivity, but it will also identify potential security breaches and insider threats.

Be careful in how you implement software to monitor employees, especially if employees will know that this software will be implemented. If your company is noticeably going through changes, then you may want to first address how the management interacts with employees. 

Management Accountability

If there is a specific change that your company is going through, your management may need to step up and be accountable for workplace anxieties that are causing productivity losses.

Founder of the Institute of Coaching at McLean Hospital and author of Emotional Agility, Susan David, takes a more behavioral approach to address workplace concerns. Distraction can occur when our neuroanatomy recognizes a “highly charged” atmosphere. Therefore, when one person in your workplace is anxious, this can then be mimicked by their colleagues. 

You can understand the amount of distraction power that management can convey. If there is uncertainty at the management-level, then your employees will be anxious because they cannot anticipate what new events will happen. Therefore, if your employees are showing a lack of pride in their work, then they may be reflective of a broader workplace and management culture.

There are several behavioral changes that management can do to mitigate this. Cofounder of Wisdom Labs, Rich Fernandez, believes that compassionate management is a healthy way to adapt and showcase workplace resilience.

This might involve:

Taking care of yourself

Label your emotions and then make a conscious decision to distance yourself from an emotional reaction to behavior that reflects your values.

Acknowledging the uncertainty

Ignoring an uncertain culture is akin to lying to your employees. Address that there are changes in the works so they can move on. 

Encouraging self-compassion

Employees may be unproductive because of the physiological response that stress can cause. Prioritize self-care so they know they are not alone. 

Asking what people need

Do this by putting yourself in your employee’s shoes. Sometimes it may feel like you’ve done everything you can. If there is no end in sight, ask what would make an employee feel like they can work at that moment.

Focusing on what you can control

Or rather, focus on what you control at your job. Research shows that making progress on small, incremental goals can improve performance. Focus on the little things.

Encouraging and modeling self-care 

This can be something as simple as team meditation, breaks focused on deep breathing and encouraging a culture that wants to step out of stressful workplace culture.

Boosting Employee Morale

Once you have quantified productivity by implementing computer monitoring software, and your company has addressed C-level concerns, then you can identify ways to positively boost employee morale.

Some ways that your company can do this is by recognizing hard work, prioritizing feedback in a positive and constructive manner, and encouraging mental breaks. 
If your company has not already established a level of personal accountability in the hiring process, then you may need to focus on workshops or set aside workplace meetings for this reason. 

If your company is experiencing cases of chronic unproductivity, then that is a sign of a toxic culture. Here are some principles to remember in these situations:

  • Some work stress is normal
  • Employees can control their actions and emotions around stressful work culture
  • Encourage self-care constantly

If you abide by these principles, you will see the numbers drive. More than that, you will begin to see a positive workplace culture that thrives on interconnectivity, growth and communal support.

Tracking Change

Being able to identify when employees are productive will be key to identifying the ways that your business can grow and the tangibles necessary to do so. Employee monitoring can do this for you. Without tracking productivity,  you will never truly know how to make these changes.

Adopting an employee monitoring software will also protect your company from potential disruptions. If an employee disagrees with your management and they argue that they are being productive, then you have the data to back up your claims. 

If employees remain unfocused, then you can openly introduce the monitoring software that you are using. Finding ways to normalize this type of monitoring will also change the workplace culture, but often for the better.

Letting employees know that your company has a productivity tracing system will absolutely encourage productivity.

Using software to monitor your employees like SoftActivity will cut your unproductive times in half.

Try SoftActivity for free to see how employee monitoring software can improve your employees’ focus.


Employee Monitoring: An Expert Guide

By SoftActivity Team

February 10th, 2020