Increasing employee productivity is the challenge for every business owner, as a global market necessitates squeezing more work from the current workforce. Strong competition from abroad has made it critically important for businesses to perform at optimum levels or otherwise risk the closure of a local workplace presence and having those jobs eliminated or shipped abroad. You can increase worker productivity by employing the following seven tips.

1. Use a time clock. If your business does not make use of a time clock, then install one now. Require your workers to clock in and out to record their arrival and departure times. A time clock will help you gauge lateness and absenteeism, problems that can be missed when operating on an honor system. Explain to your workers that the time clock will help you better evaluate performance and to reward employees that stick to their schedule.

2. Keep meetings brief. Granted, few places of business can do without regularly scheduled meetings. Meeting represent opportune planning sessions and can help your project succeed by welcoming regular updates. Meeting lengths, however, can eat into worker productivity, therefore when holding a meeting have one employee take minutes and another develop an agenda. Follow that agenda precisely with scheduled starting and ending times. Eliminate unnecessary meetings from your schedule.

3. Use the right equipment. Electronic equipment can cost you a mint and can quickly go out of style. That line of PCs your I.T. department installed just three years ago is quickly falling behind. You may need to upgrade hard drives, bring in a new server or eliminate low performing systems. Evaluate your hardware needs to see if simpler equipment such as an iPad might be better used to accomplish some tasks. For instance, if an employee logs online simply to access information, a $495 iPad may make much more sense than a $1,500 computer work station. Evaluate your company’s cell phone plans for efficiency too.

4. Keep interruptions to a minimum. A big drag on worker productivity are interruptions. Some interruptions cannot be avoided, other interruptions can be managed while still others can be eliminated.  Examine what causes interruptions in worker productivity and tackle each problem accordingly. For instance, you may need to assign one person to field calls, another to respond to emails and yet another to wait on customers in your showroom. Attempt to streamline the customer interaction point without adversely impacting the customer experience.

5. Use email wisely. Your employees may be trapped in email purgatory, unable to escape the clutches of a system that once promised so much, but only delivers tyranny. Email can be a useful tool, but it can also kill workplace productivity. What you want to do here is have your I.T. department overhaul your email system, choosing a provider that catches and destroys spam, and a system that is easy to understand and scalable. Set up clear rules on engaging customers with email. Most customers will work well with what you have, while others may need direct intervention with a follow up phone call to resolve a complaint or issue. Establish a protocol to handle problems and for keeping email contained and usable for all.

6. Reorganize your work space. Certain tasks performed around the office can take longer to complete simply because of workplace inefficiencies. For instance, a much needed printer should be placed by the work station of the employee that needs it the most, enabling this individual to continue with his work while also handing printing projects. Managers should identify common barriers to workplace productivity and strive to overcome these. Entire work stations may need to be rearranged and the office environment gutted to provide a seamless flow of integrate worker productivity. The same reorganization can be applied to the showroom and retail levels, enabling customers to find, review and buy products with the fewest amount of obstacles apparent.

7. Assign relevant tasks. Your employees can easily be bogged down by assignments that have little to do with what they need to get done on a daily basis. Keep all assignments relevant to the employee, streamlining the work process and simplifying every task at hand. In some cases work can be outsourced, such as printing or perhaps brought back within the company fold, such as marketing. Evaluate the processes that can best be handled internally and externally, making changes as necessary. Reassign key employees as needed, retrain others and expect that some employees will leave voluntarily or with a separation agreement in hand.

Productivity Analysis

Raising worker productivity takes time and often meets resistance from employees who might not understand what is at stake. Accept worker feedback, develop a comprehensive and clear plan, and implement your productivity strategy once it has been articulated and accepted. Expect to tweak said plan as you move forward, a natural response that all successful companies will take.