For many service based business such as marketing agencies, law firms and management consultants, driving higher revenue and profits is almost always directly related to productivity in the workplace. In these businesses, billable time is directly correlated to revenue. Improving the workspace experience of your employees isn’t just the job of HR but the role of all managers and stakeholders. Here we discuss the many ways to improve workspace productivity
- Reducing all types of clutter
Ensure the workplace is clutter free, both physically and online. Have a clear desk policy and ensure common areas are also kept free of clutter. Working towards achieving a paperless office would cut down on filing, sorting and storing documents, not to mention reducing wasting paper and ink and taking up valuable space. Instead of taking papers when attending a meeting, how about taking along your laptop, and even making notes on documents online, rather than using a paper notepad.
Also ensure the digital desktop is clutter free and clear of files that are unnecessary. Try to keep folder paths for shared work to a minimum so staff do not have to click multiple times to get to the file they need. Standardising naming and storing files would help ensure work is stored and retrieved efficiently and therefore less time is spent searching for a particular file.
- Working Flexibly
Increase motivation and productivity by encouraging a healthy work life balance. To do this, consider allowing home working on certain days, or flexible work patterns that enable people to work when they are at their best, i.e. starting early and finishing work early or starting late and finishing late.
- Time tracking.
Tracking time correctly and accurately is essential to help analyse staff productivity. Using applications like WorkFlowMax would help in finding out if changes you have made to improve productivity, have actually worked as you can produce reports based on the various ways available in WorkflowMax to record time and work done.
- Client focus
Take a look at your clientele and see where you can expand. On the other side of the spectrum, you may want to see if there are clients you need to let go. For example those who are troublesome and an overall waste of company time. To increase productivity you may need to let them go and find clients who you can work efficiently with.
- Engage with employees
It seems simple enough, but talking to employees and making them feel valued is something that would contribute towards increased productivity. This could be on a one to one basis but you could also consider group sessions where people discuss any issues they have and what they think might help increase productivity
- Instant office communication
There are a number of apps out there which reduce the need for emails by providing quick lines of communication between staff members, for example, Slack. This can be done on a one to one basis, or as a group “chat”. This can be more efficient as it elicits instantaneous answers compared to waiting for a reply to an email. It’s also a valuable collaborative tool as staff can ping back and forth on a discussion and help develop ideas for the business.
Humour in the office, whether sharing funny stories or forwarding joke emails, can help provide some light relief for employees. Having a happy, relaxed team should boost creativity with the team which can only be a good thing in terms of productivity.
- Supporting Staff
Providing staff support and keeping them happy is one sure way to boost productivity. Examples of such methods is to provide career advice, offer counselling or mentorship and teaching methods to cope with stress.
Another way to keep staff happy and motivated is to recognise and reward staff. Acknowledgement of hard work through awards and financial incentives, and even a thank you from senior staff would boost morale and further drive staff to strive harder.
- Staff Seminars on Productivity
Bringing in experts on productivity is an effective way to show staff and yourself, what you could be doing to increase efficiency. This could also count towards staff personal development and that’s something all staff would appreciate.
- The right food and drink on offer
Diet is well known to affect the moods of people. Offering certain foods that would boost brain function is one way to potentially increase productivity, for example fresh fruit, seeds, nuts or sliced raw vegetables.
Providing a source of filtered water in the office would encourage staff to keep hydrated thereby increased brain function and productivity.
- Encourage physical activity
Encouraging staff to walk away from the desks for short periods of time would help clear their mind and bring them back to their desks refreshed.
Hiring a fitness expert, for example a yoga teacher to come in regularly, is another way to keep staff energy levels high and would be a good staff benefit. Some staff may even relish lunchtime runs or bootcamps. Others may appreciate a massage therapist to come in and give staff massages at their desks.
- Daily Focus exercises
You could make a point to start as you mean to go on, each and every day.
For example, how about a daily morning meeting with staff to power through the actions for the day, giving staff the chance to provide input and share ideas. Or how about choosing an hour in the day to spend only on work tasks – no emails, no phone, but getting through as much work as you can to make the most of that one fixed hour in the day.
To enhance this, maybe you could organise turning off the wifi? If there are no digital distractions, imagine the work that can be hammered out. Work related distractions such as work emails popping up, or even non work related distractions like staff surfing the web or checking their phones, would be cut out instantly. Without these distractions, the employee has nothing else to focus on but the work they are doing, which can only boost productivity.
- Rethink the office arrangements
Think about what works and what doesn’t work. Open plan offices might work for some and encourage collaboration and creativity but for others noise can be an unwelcome distraction and also people may not feel comfortable talking to colleagues or talking to clients on the phone, when it feels like the whole office can hear you.
A suitable solution is to dedicate certain parts of the office to quiet working areas, and make this available to staff who would prefer that.
So called “productive” colour schemes is another avenue to explore. Research has suggested that certain colours boost creativity, while others have been said to stimulate the mind. Some colours can even soothe and produce calm. You could explore this and revamp the office to bring about an improvement to staff productivity.
Ensuring staff have the right lighting to work in is very important for concentration. If natural light is not accessible, consider moving desks so that natural light is exposed to as many staff as possible. Also think about ways to filter light throughout the office.
- Work station assessments
Ensure healthy work practices by assessing the workstations of all staff members. This should be done regularly to ensure good ergonomic practices are being adhered to, for desks and monitors.
- Natural approach
Studies have shown that cognitive attention and productivity can be enhanced with the addition of a plant on a desk! The added benefit of a plant is that it filters the air, thereby making the environment for staff healthier.
To learn more about Xero and Workflow Max contact us for a free demo here: https://alphapartners.co/contact/
This article is written in general terms and therefore cannot be relied on to cover specific situations; application of the principles set out will depend upon the particular circumstances involved and we recommend that you obtain professional advice before acting or refraining from acting on any of its contents.