When you’re running a small business, you need to be as productive as a company as possible if you want to succeed in what is likely to be a very competitive market. One of the best ways you can do this is by working on improving employee productivity because it is your employees who are responsible for the day-to-day tasks that keep your business afloat.
Most of us know what we should be doing to improve employee productivity, but there are lots of things we really should not be doing that many of us are, and this can make it difficult to make progress.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at some commonly seen things that will destroy employee productivity.
- Working your employees too hard
So many business owners make the mistake of thinking that the harder they push their employees, the more productive they will be, but this is rarely, if ever, the case. Employee wellbeing is likely to fall dramatically when they are overworked, and when employees are not happy and healthy, they do not work at full capacity, are less creative, and are more likely to have to take time off sick.
In fact, many studies have found that giving employees more breaks and more time off is the best way to boost their productivity. So, you need to work on finding the balance between hard work and rest if you want to get the most out of your employees.
- Rewarding them for being busy
It’s a good idea to reward your employees as it helps to boost their wellbeing and gives them more incentive to do the best work they can do for you. However, if you reward their busyness instead of their productivity, this could backfire.
Often, it can be difficult to see the difference between busyness and productivity because you often equate one with the other, but this is not the case. One employee could be working hard for 10 hours but achieve very little in that time while another could work for 6 hours and achieve much more.
So it is not always working harder that gets results but taking time to prioritise tasks, giving yourself time to think, and achieving good work that really matters.
By focusing on the end results rather than the amount of time spent on a project, you will see greater levels of productivity in the end.
- Holding unnecessary meetings
One thing that can really zap an employee’s productivity levels fast is meetings. Of course, sometimes meetings are necessary when you have something important to discuss or you need to get the team together to work on some new ideas. However, often meetings are not essential; instead, you could convey the information you need to deliver in an email, and doing so will free up more time for your employees to get on with the business building tasks that really matter. Never schedule meetings without a good reason, when better options are available, such as sending an email.
- An unpleasant working environment
No one is going to be as productive in a dark, cramped, noisy office space as they would be in a clean, bright well-organised one, so it stands to reason that, if you want to improve employee productivity levels, you should think about improving the working environment too. Things as simple as natural light and plants in the workplace can dramatically increase productivity, so it does not necessarily have to be an expensive exercise.
- Not investing in the right tools
They say a bad workman always blames his tools, but actually, it is the case that not having the right tools can hinder productivity. Think about it, if your employees have computers that are slow, they are never going to reach their full productivity potential or if they are still using manual equipment when automated versions are available, the same applies.
Investing in the best tools available for your employees will help them to be more productive over many years. Therefore, it is likely to be one of the best investments you can make for your small business. You need to think in the long, rather than the short term and ensure every employee has up-to-date and appropriate tools for their work.
If you can avoid making these productivity-sucking mistakes, then your employees will be supported in becoming the most efficient and productive they can be and your business will improve significantly as a result.
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