Organizational productivity has always been a priority for business and HR management. Individuals work harder, better, smarter, and faster as a result of an organization’s efforts to boost their people’s productivity.
But why is there such a strong emphasis on productivity? The solution can be found in economics and the definition of productivity, and hence the answer can be attributed to the fact that productivity assesses the output of whatever input is used, which, in workforce terms, refers to the labour and production of the people who work for your company.
The broader picture of labour productivity is that it is ultimately used to calculate the economy’s overall performance. As a result, the ultimate focus for businesses and HR directors is on how to enable employees within organisations to become more productive.
In this article, RisePath will help you look at some of the obstacles to productivity in the workplace, as well as five key productivity boosts to enhance it.
How May Workplace Productivity Be Increased?
It’s important to remember that employees are in critical need of help with work-life balance and mental and physical health. Perhaps this is especially true during the current Coronavirus pandemic when many individuals work from home and the barriers between work and home are becoming increasingly blurred.
This indicates that, while productivity is vital, it is equally crucial to balance productivity with people’s needs.
For Human Resources, this includes cultivating a culture and environment that is responsive to the workforce’s demands, as well as delivering helpful knowledge that may be incorporated not only within teams but also inside individual work styles.
#1 Productivity Boost: Stress the Importance of Sleep
Sleep deprivation has a significant detrimental impact on people’s performance, which has a broader impact on the workforce and productivity. However, the impact of a lack of sleep on focus, logical reasoning, and working memory can be detrimental to overall efficacy and well-being.
As the prefrontal cortex of the brain is particularly vulnerable to sleep deprivation, tasks that need these cognitive skills and complex thought are harmed the most when sleep is in short supply.
Employee well-being and a lack of enough sleep can result in decreased productivity as well as an increase in sick leave, both of which are adverse to productivity initiatives.
Adults need seven to nine hours of sleep every night, which can be difficult to achieve in organisations with shifting shift patterns. However, focusing on instilling the value of sleep in your employees can have a huge positive impact on workplace morale and productivity.
#2 Productivity Boost: Encourage good task and activity planning
When it comes to productivity, to-do lists are invaluable. Even the most senior and experienced executives benefit from having a day plan to work from. Focus is increased and a great sense of success is created when jobs are marked off as accomplished when we’re organised and have clarity about the chores and activities that lie ahead.
This means that encouraging team managers and people leaders to fully embrace the benefits of fostering good task and activity planning within their teams can pay off not only in terms of productivity but also in terms of employee well-being.
Multitasking, which is often a fallback strategy when people have too much on their plates or aren’t provided with the time or support they need to focus on the priorities of their workload and responsibilities, is also counterproductive, according to research.
Multitasking can be used not just to do numerous different activities at once, but it can also contribute to a sense of success and feel-good dopamine highs in the brain.
However, emotional fulfilment is one thing, while productivity is quite another. The problem with multitasking is that, on the surface, it appears to be efficient and well-organized. The wow factor can readily be achieved by an individual who appears to be juggling projects, calls, emails, and the latest team initiative. However, how much gets done on time and without jeopardising the person’s mental health and well-being is a crucial concern.
Multitasking separates the brain, according to research findings. This means the brain is rapidly going from one activity to the next, jumping about, and as a result, the multitasker is less effective at filtering critical information, less integrated into a process, and ultimately less productive.
As a result, it’s critical that HR and management teams collaborate closely with employees to discuss and establish best practices for task and activity planning.
Top Tips for Task and Activity Planning
- Preparing a to-do list of essential jobs and activities the night before helps to focus the mind on what’s important and eliminates the mid-morning hustle to get everything done for the day.
- Reduce the size of to-do lists so that they only contain the most critical things.
- Consider how many of the critical chores you can realistically complete or make significant progress on before the next day.
- If your to-do lists are becoming increasingly daunting or unprogressive each day or week, talk them over with a boss or co-worker.
#3 Productivity Boost: Reduce Workplace Distractions
External noise must be adequately reduced in order to be productive. And when we say noise, we don’t necessarily mean the exterior noise of a busy road outside your office or home office window. Alternatively, the sound of your co-workers discussing their newest weekend plans may be distracting you from that crucial proposal that may be outstanding – although finding workarounds to these distractions can also be beneficial.
Reduced noise also refers to the constant barrage of distractions that can derail even the most concentrated of people. Notifications from instant messengers, Slack, Microsoft Teams, social media, and email have all been shown to reduce productivity.
As a result, HR should endeavour to promote good distraction hygiene as well as a culture that values, encourages, and rewards not responding to things right away.
Too many companies, especially in this era of remote working, have fallen into the trap of expecting workers to be available and accessible at the drop of a hat or an email. This can lead to availability presenteeism, which occurs when people are sick but still go to work.
Availability presenteeism occurs when employees believe they must be available at all times to answer that question or reply to that newest request, while they are actually working on something that takes their whole attention and focus.
Knowing what to cut out and ignore is a natural extension of being organised with your plan of activities and to-do list and will eventually pay off in productivity benefits.
#4 Productivity Boost: Champion Exercise During the Workday
While many offices are presently operating on a remote or hybrid basis, this trend is likely to continue. COVID-19 regulations have forced the closure of gyms, fitness centres, and exercise classes. The advantages of physical activity in terms of improving brain functions are the same as they have always been.
Exercise has been shown to have an effect on workplace performance when done during the workday, according to research. Concentration, creativity, and faster learning can all benefit from increased brain activity, but so can the capacity to connect and get along with people.
It makes sense for HR to support workplace initiatives that promote well-being and fitness, regardless of whether or not employees are currently on the job.
Regular exercise breaks and time away from home-based desks and computers to incorporate some form of extremely beneficial physical activity can add weight to productivity efforts while also improving workplace wellbeing.
#5 Productivity Boost: Encourage a Culture of Self-Care
While it is not the role of Human Resources to micromanage how employees and the workforces care for themselves, HR does have a responsibility to help people do the right things not only at work but also in their personal lives.
Productivity becomes a natural outcome of that healthy environmental culture through supporting a culture of self-care, one that actually values the benefits of having a healthy, emotionally secure, and thriving workforce.
Having fun at work, taking frequent breaks, and being aware of when burnout or weariness is setting in are all important values to instil in the workplace. However, additional pillars, such as those listed, such as getting adequate sleep, exercising, and focusing on priorities, are all important aspects of self-care.
According to research, supporting a culture of self-care leads to healthy workplaces that enable people to thrive at work and reach their full potential. As a result, building a workplace that actively promotes wellbeing, self-care, satisfaction, and overall happiness helps both employees’ productivity and the productivity of the company as a whole.
Putting Everything Together
Workplace productivity cannot be achieved without first evaluating and considering what may be done better. What can be done better? What can be taken away? Stop, start, continue is an effective consideration that can lead to considerably enhanced working methods and, as a result, increased productivity. While the suggestions above aren’t exhaustive, they are a wonderful place to start if you want to improve your sense of well-being and, as a result, your workplace productivity, efficiency, and output.