Overcoming These Top 8 Productivity Challenges Plaguing Your Business

Staying ahead in a competitive workplace is challenging for all businesses. Not only do your products and/or services have to stay relevant, but you must continually strive to produce them at optimal speeds. 

Poor productivity can be a major contributor to falling behind not only in sales but in a competitive market. Productivity challenges are normal in the workplace, but there are ways that your team can work to overcome these challenges

This article addresses tips for overcoming these major 8 productivity challenges in the workplace. 

The Impact of Productivity in Organizations

Business blogs often tout the benefits of productivity; but it’s important to first have a broader understanding of why productivity is important, particularly with enterprise companies. 

Productivity, or the ability to efficiently work through organizational processes, is one aspect of organizational health that directly impacts a company’s profitability. 

If an organization has low productivity, then the company is not able to produce what it needs to in an effective manner. This contributes to more money being spent on producing each product, and a lower return on investment (ROI) and profit. 

Inversely, higher productivity means that a product or service is able to be produced more efficiently (or at least as efficiently as desired) and then the company can accurately and successfully reap a profit or positive ROI from the production of that product or service.

Productivity, when done right, can also contribute to positive organizational health in a number of ways, including:

  • Improved employee morale: Not surprisingly, productivity has a direct impact on how your employees feel about working at your company. Overworked employees will perceive an unhealthy work-life balance and have lowered morale. Optimized productivity levels will contribute to a better work-life balance and improved morale.
  • Increased employee engagement: Similarly, productivity can force employees to feel more or less engaged with the company. With too much work on their plate, then they might feel the need to be less productive. This is even more so if they are experiencing fewer wins because of overwork. 
  • Increased employee retention: Naturally, these two factors impact employee retention. The lower the morale and engagement there is, then the higher the turnover is. When you address major productivity challenges, then you are actually addressing employee concerns. Organizations that address productivity challenges, like inefficient processes, can create a positive feedback loop, showing employees that you aim to improve these problems.
  • Lowered operational costs: As mentioned earlier, operational costs go up when it takes longer to produce a product or service. By optimizing operational productivity, you cut down on these costs.
  • Improved customer support and satisfaction: Workers who are better adjusted, not over-worked, and are able to supply your company products within reasonable timelines are able to provide better customer support. You’ll see overall improved customer satisfaction when you address productivity concerns.

Factors That Affect Employee Productivity

Before we dive into the key productivity challenges that most organizations are facing, it’s important to also acknowledge the factors that affect employee productivity. Poor productivity is not always the fault of a business. 

Often, certain employees are inclined to lower productivity. However, businesses can provide the support that trains employees. Other times, poor operational processes might trigger negative company morale. In both these situations, businesses have some level of control over workplace productivity and can mitigate these situations. 

All organizations (that work with humans) will have to deal with personal problems that intercede in office productivity. This is natural, and your organizations’ reaction to these disruptions can impact productivity. If your reaction is to ignore personal problems or not allow space for your employees to deal with personal problems, then your employees won’t feel supported. 

However, if you provide support systems like allowances for taking personal breaks, self-care supports like meditation rooms or paid leave for personal problems, then your employees will feel more supported. These feelings persist even if they don’t have to use these supports. Just knowing they are available is good enough. 

Remote work profoundly affects productivity. Work from home can drastically improve productivity or negatively impact it, and considering that 71% of employees want hybrid or remote working style after the pandemic, then businesses need to be prepared to offer it. 

In adding remote working, be sure to have a productivity manager keep track of each remote worker. Regular online team communication can help bridge this gap. Most remote teams suffer from a lack of effective communication. 

Productivity Tips for Overcoming These Major 8 Challenges in the Workplace

Organizations of every size must contend with these top 8 productivity challenges in 2022. In addition to these 8 productivity tips, be sure to implement key productivity techniques for overcoming tough workplace challenges.

1. Employee Disengagement

Employee disengagement comes from overwork, inefficient processes, and more management, among other things. There are many reasons why a team member might feel engaged at work, but it’s a solvable problem if it comes from operational concerns. 

It’s first important to understand why your employees are disengaged. Conduct an anonymous survey to understand employee disengagement related to productivity, organizational health (management and organization), and operational efficiency.

If your employees are overworked, frustrated with processes, or feeling unsupported, then your team can take steps to solve these problems. Without conducting a survey, you’ll have to find other ways to get insight. 

You could consider 1-on-1 meetings with your team members and analyze the productivity metrics from your employee monitoring and productivity software. This software will inform you on where operational processes are falling short and alert you to the problem in the first place. Be sure to conduct job satisfaction surveys regularly and when employees leave. Consider analyzing an engaged employee to see how to improve this biggest challenge.

2. Ineffective Performance Management

Your company most likely won’t operate at all, let alone efficiently, without the right performance management in place. Most teams both in-house and in remote locations need management whose job it is to continually reassess performance and continue to optimize it. 

This person might be a project manager, in charge of monitoring the time tracking software, comparing it to accounting and invoicing, and implementing changes within the staff. Performance leaders also need to ensure that the changes they are making are going to make a change and are feasible within the structure. 

Assess your current performance setup and make sure you have someone in charge of performance management. Their role will entail management of the monitoring software, regular staff meetings around performance, and implementing and assessing changes made.

3. Inefficient Processes

Inefficient processes will continue to get in the way of healthy operations. Therefore, your management needs to remove these barriers and improve these processes. 

You can identify inefficient processes by asking your employees questions, gaining insight from customer interactions, and analyzing employee monitoring. Some tracking software will alert you to when applications and/or websites are being used and this could alert you to longer work times on given projects. 

Projects with certain processes could also be taking longer than those without, and you can then see more clearly the percentage of productivity overwork that certain processes are causing. Using a productivity tool like SoftActivity can allow you proper task and time management, even in a digital workplace.

Work with your staff and employees to test new processes. By removing inefficient processes, you could be improving team productivity by as much as 40%.

4. Poor Tracking

Poor tracking might not be contributing to your productivity challenges, but it certainly doesn’t help. It also is providing an inaccurate assessment of what is really going on during working hours. Inaccurate tracking, a lack of tracking, or inconsistent tracking does not properly inform performance management on how processes are working, their inefficiencies, and other challenges in overall productivity. Therefore, changes might not be addressed, and the same productivity challenges continue to occur. 

If you’re not tracking with software like SoftActivity, then you’re either piecemealing the tracking or doing it manually, which can be off by a large portion. Consider synchronized time tracking with SoftActivity, which provides time tracking and real-time employee monitoring features like screen monitoring, network alerts, and communication logs.  

5. Communication Overhead

Communication overhead simply means that it is taking a lot more out of your company to communicate. This might include meetings, internal communication with common clients, or private discussions. Regardless, this overhead eats away at your time budget and starts costing you money. 

With your performance management to see how much time is being tracked for meetings and for internal communication on applications. Also cross-reference this with other project management software and team calendars to assess its validity.

6. Incomplete Onboarding

Poor productivity might come about when staff is not fully prepared for the operations of the job. They may have been quickly and improperly onboarded and this can affect your team operations and overall company morale. This can happen quite easily with a remote team.

If your staff wasn’t properly onboarded, then you’ll have to make up for this training or education somewhere else. If it doesn’t happen in a proper training session, then you’ll be taking time out of your meetings to do it live; or you’ll have to make up for the errors from these staff throughout the day. 

Connect with new hires periodically within the first few months of onboarding to see that they are prepared for the job or have any concerns. 

7. Unrealistic Expectations

Unrealistic expectations are another major concern when it comes to productivity challenges. Expectation setting has to do with realistic operations and goal-setting. When your team knows what can be done and what should be done, then you can accurately set goals and expectations. 

But if your team is not aligned with this, then your management will essentially have one idea of expectations and your team another. This is no good, and often causes more stress and harm than good. 

Meet and break down exactly what your team should be doing so you get on the same page. Explain what certain things, like productivity metrics, look like to you and how you expect the metrics to change. Try to bring in some examples of what this looks like; always remember to have a conversation around productivity expectations rather than dictating these expectations. 

8. Insufficient Productivity Monitoring Software

In any environment, tracking productivity changes becomes more of a challenge without the right monitoring software. An insufficient monitoring software might let other productivity issues go by without a second thought. And other monitoring software is just not as robust as it should be. 

Consider switching to SoftActivity monitor, which offers one secure, remote console for admins to monitor all computers on their monitoring network. Also, you can access logs like keystroke logs and communication records to ensure that your productivity metrics are being hit.

See the difference today with a robust productivity monitoring software, SoftActivity

By SoftActivity Team.

February 14th, 2022