According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Americans spend more than eight hours a day in the workplace — which is more than we sleep each night. That means that we’re spending more time with our colleagues than we do with our families. As a result, it’s only natural that they’re going to influence our mood and productivity.
Influence from the team is significant when you’re co-workers are optimistic and motivated. But when they’re in a lousy mood or unmotivated that can pretty destructive to the entire workplace.
Thankfully, there are ways that you can correct the negative vibes by doing the following eight things to boost employee productivity:
1. Improve cultural fit with better training.
The first place to start is by recruiting employees who will fit perfectly within your company’s culture. Zappos does this with their Family Core Values where the hiring process is more of a courtship.
Potential employees must pass an interesting test called the “nice guy,” test. They also complete the service test and the ultimate test where new employees are offered $3,000 to quit. That may sound silly, but those not committed to the company’s values will take the money and run.
As Keith Tatley, founder of Manager Foundation, writes for RecruitLoop, “While on the surface cultural fit may not seem like a critical factor in the hiring process it is arguably one of the most essential criteria of selection. Employees who do not fit in with your culture negatively affect those around them.
2. Train, train, and retain.
If your employees are lost or confused then how can you expect them to be productive? That’s why when you hire employees you need to define their roles and responsibilities clearly. Most importantly, you also need to provide the appropriate training.
Also, keep in mind that training needs to be continual. Maybe a better word is perpetual training, meaning you should be providing frequent opportunities for them to enhance their existing skills or develop new skills that will make them more productive and encourage them to stay with your company.
3. Encourage autonomy.
Studies have found that encouraging ownership drives employee motivation. But, how can you promote autonomy?
- Start with explaining why the work that your employees are doing is essential.
- Give your team opportunities to share feedback and their opinions.
- Let your employees decide how they want to solve a problem or complete a task.
- Build trust among your employees.
- Hold them accountable.
- Delegate effectively.
- Provide frequent feedback.
- Allow your employees to share their strengths and talents.
- Give them the tools and resources needed to succeed.
- Use mistakes as a learning opportunity.
4. Optimize the workplace.
According to a study by Ricoh and Oxford Economics, it was estimated that the UK could achieve a 1.8 percent increase in GDP through workplace optimization. Even better, it won’t cost an arm and a leg to accomplish this.
- Make sure that there’s ample lighting so that people aren’t straining their eyes. Ideally, you should also allow in as much natural light as possible.
- Invest in standing desks, ergonomic chairs, and encourage everyone to tidy-up their workplaces.
- A 2004 study from Cornell found that when office temperatures were increased from 68 degrees Fahrenheit to 77 degrees Fahrenheit typing errors dropped by 44 percent and output increased by 150 percent.
- The German Association of Engineers states that 70 decibels is an acceptable volume for carrying out necessary, transactional office-based work. If possible, try to reduce noise levels as best you can.
- Provide healthy snacks that boost brain power. Also provide a space for employees to meditate or exercise — this improves energy, focus, and creativity. If that’s not possible, offer gym memberships.
- Researchers at the University of Warwick found that happiness leads to employees being 12 percent more productive. Employees do this through meditation, helping each other out, and reflecting on three things to be grateful for.
5. Celebrate the small wins.
“Everyone likes to be recognized for something positive they’ve done, whether it’s big or small. However, despite size, every success should be celebrated,” writes Rose Leadem in a previous Calendar article.
In fact, in an article published Harvard Business Review researchers found that people were motivated by progress.
Rose adds, that when “employees know they are progressing at work in some way, even if it is just the slightest bit, they will, in turn, be happier, more motivated and continue to keep up the great performance.”
By celebrating small wins employees feel that they are progressing. As a result, it boosts performance and productivity.
6. Let employees work remotely.
Various studies have found that remote workers are often more productive. They even take less sick days, aren’t as stressed, have higher morale, and log in more hours.
There isn’t one reason why this occurs. But, when working remotely, employees don’t have to deal with distractions like office noise and impromptu meetings.
They can also schedule their days so that they can work when they’re more productive. And, because they’re cutting out that daily commute, they’re able to work more hours.
As an additional perk, your business will also enjoy the cost savings of remote workers since you’re not paying for a large workplace or utility.
7. Offer great perks.
While you need to pay your employees what they’re worth, it’s also been found that perks are more motivating than financial rewards. Perks could include anything from:
- Career advancement opportunities.
- Health, dental, and vision plans.
- Free refreshments and snacks and relation areas
- Wellness and childcare programs.
- Discounts from other businesses.
- Team building exercises and social outings.
- Create a culture that fosters positive morale by eliminating micromanaging and showing employees that they’re appreciated.
8. Consistently measure employee activity and productivity.
Measuring your employees isn’t exactly a new idea. As HBR noted back in 1988, “It’s essential to measure productivity appropriately.” Knowing an accurate measurement allows you to see the quality of work that your team is putting out.
You can do this by recording the usage of websites and applications, as well as tracking their time through time tracking tools. There’s also productivity-measuring tools so that you can monitor, streamline, and manage projects.
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