7 Hindrances To Employee Productivity

The folks over at www.findmyworkspace.com share a list of common productivity killers in the workplace.

Every successful company lists high productivity as a major building block in its success. The benefits of productivity in the workplace are numerous: higher morale, better customer service, more savings for the organization, achievement of goals and objectives, happier and healthier employees.

Organizations invest in their workforce and highly productive employees yield a high return on its resources and benefit the entire company. In turn, when objectives and targets of the organization are met, productive employees receive incentives, pay raises and other perks.

Productivity doesn’t just happen naturally. It is crucial to take concrete steps to increase productivity, while taking care to remove or control the factors that hinder it.

Check if these common productivity killers are present in your organization:

1. Poor scheduling

We only have a limited number of working hours per day. As much as we want to squeeze everything in, there are some tasks that need to be scheduled on another day.

The key is to identify the tasks that need to be prioritized. Forcing an employee to finish everything in one day may spread him too thin and may end up in half-baked results.

Set clear deadlines and communicate priorities properly. Give employees enough time to finish the assigned task – spending more time in producing the correct output the first try is more productive than rushing through a job that requires a lot of revision afterwards.

2. Noisy environment

Loud voices, music and sounds are especially distracting and irritating to employees.

If your office is in a high traffic area, consider investing in sound absorbing wall panels or allow employees to use headphones with a noise-reducing function.

Remind people to respect the working ambience and ask them to speak in soft voices. Instruct them to keep personal conversations in designated areas only to minimize the risk of distracting others who need to focus on their work.

3. Outdated and inadequate tools, equipment, software and supplies

Supporting employees with complete and necessary tools and supplies will help boost their productivity.

Remember that being resourceful in looking for their own supplies is not part of any employee’s job description. Waiting for computers and laptops that take 10 minutes just to start operating wastes a lot of precious time, so computer systems, hardwares and softwares must be upgraded, as needed.

Frustration which results from these issues can also negatively impact productivity even further.

4. Unclear objectives and targets

Clear goals and expectations help employees focus their time and efforts, lead them to understand their roles better, and promote higher engagement and commitment to the organization.

Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-Based (SMART) goals minimize the chances of employees becoming complacent and idle. When a team member’s performance and incentives are tied to the achievement of these goals, they will know that they need to be consistent and focused.

It is crucial for organizations to communicate concrete performance measures to their employees at the start of each year or at the beginning of their employment. People who see the bigger picture of how their work output is tied to the company’s corporate mission, are more motivated in achieving desired results.  

5. Frequent checking of social media accounts and browsing of non-work-related websites

Social media accounts may serve as a stress-reliever and welcome mental break for employees. To a certain extent, checking Facebook, Twitter or Instagram may even increase productivity as they serve a quick mood booster so that employees can return to their work refreshed.

However, when it is done too frequently, it might become an unhealthy source of distraction for the workplace.

Set clear guidelines on the use of the internet for personal reasons. Discourage your employees from logging on to their social media accounts too often, and explain how this can deter them from performing their job functions well.

6. Stress

Periods of high stress, whether work-related or personal, are associated with lower productivity, less engagements from employees and higher absenteeism.

Work stress may be due to a toxic environment at work, demanding bosses, a very heavy workload, unrealistic demands and deadlines, unhealthy relationships with colleagues, etc.

Personal stress may be related to relationship and family problems, financial pressures, death of a loved one, changes in roles, etc.

Some of these factors are out of your control and influence, but what you can do is to offer support to your employees by listening to them and checking what you can do. Be the kind of boss who supports your employees in the times when they are feeling down, and you will win their loyalty for life.

7. Health concerns

It is hard to focus on work when you are plagued with health problems. Certain physical issues of your employees might be beyond your control, but you can do your best to ensure that they enjoy optimal health.

Promote work-life balance, provide a clean and sanitary workplace, offer medical benefits, allow them to take sick leaves – these are some of the quick ways to support your employees’ well-being.

Improving productivity is one of the most critical aspects in an organization. However, it is seldom consciously reviewed and focused on. With the various benefits that stem from a highly productive workplace, this new year might be the perfect chance to make it your goal to deliberately foster productivity in your organization.

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