This week the UK’s longstanding issue with productivity is back on our screens and in our papers. Lack of training for the bottom 20% of the workforce has been credited as a major part of the problem with those who don’t excel in the current academic system failing to have their creative potential realised. This is a contributing factor however to an issue which has been playing on the UK for years. Our employees work longer hours than many of our neighbouring countries, and yet we don’t achieve the same results. So what can be done to help productivity and how can you make an immediate change in your workplace?
1) Motivation killers
Many of the most common motivation killers like distracting work colleagues, lack of incentives or too few rewards are overlooked when we consider how to get more from people. This isn’t because they don’t occur to us, but rather we feel that these are areas which will be difficult to change. The problem is, you can’t ask for more from people without giving something back. Perhaps you can’t afford to increase salaries, but could offer a performance measured bonus scheme. Or have the opportunity to win more holiday when staff meet their targets. Look at creative ways you can motivate people if you’ve got a widespread productivity problem, it may be that your staff simply don’t feel appreciated enough.
2) Break down the technology rut
It isn’t natural in any case for humans to work behind screens for 8-10 hours a day. The fact that we push people to do it anyway results in staff pretending to be productive despite their sight and mind needing a rest. To remedy this, you should encourage management to identify as many tasks as possible which can be performed offline or away from the desk and apply this to the way they assign their team work. In turn, you can also implement technology breaks. These are at an employees discretion and allows them to walk away from their computer for a short while, as and when they feel they need to, without needing to justify or disguise the break as something work related.
3) Change the way people work
Boredom is one of the biggest culprits for lack of productivity. You’ll identify this particularly in staff who once had plenty of motivation and now drag their feet. The reason for this is usually the simple monotony of a daily routine which eventually transpires into laziness. Consider the ways you can mix up the day and break daily habits. Maybe your managers stop asking an employee to send you their work each week in the usual format and instead have them present it to the team to brainstorm new ideas. The pressure of bringing their work to the table will snap them out of the habit of sending the same mediocre report each week. Or you could look at ways that you can change the format of the working day. Look at flexible working options, encourage people to take brain breaks when they need a refresh, and actively push people to redesign their working day based on their own energy and productivity patterns.