For your business to truly prosper and ultimately achieve its goals, you must look for ways to increase productivity or, simply put, find ways to get more done without sharply increasing your expenses.
Before exploring measures you can take to boost productivity in your workplace, it may be helpful to look at some of the things workers consider major obstacles to achieving optimal productivity.
Workplace Productivity Survey
Harris Interactive, a market research firm best known for its Harris Poll, in late March 2013 conducted a survey of just more than 2,000 professionals to get their views on productivity. The survey, commissioned by Ask.com, was designed to gather input on the factors that both hinder and maximize productivity in the workplace.
Reporting on the survey’s results in “Forbes,” Jacquelyn Smith said more than 60 percent of respondents cited noisy co-workers as a major productivity killer.
Somewhat surprisingly, 63 percent of those surveyed said they feel they can be more productive in a quiet personal workspace in the office than if they were working from home. The emphasis here is on quiet and personal.
More than a quarter of the survey’s respondents said they believed they could be most productive in an open office setting as opposed to a cube farm or a workplace that consists of separate offices.
The opposition to cubicles came as no surprise to Lisa Ross, vice president of human resources at Ask.com.
In the interview with “Forbes,” she said cubicles “are great for maximizing office space, but cubes are not known for being particularly exciting or inspiring. Your personal workspace is where you spend the bulk of your time, and I think office workers in general are hungry for something different.”
Another widely cited productivity killer is the impromptu meeting that occurs when co-workers drop in at another employee’s workspace.
Although these so-called meetings may begin with a work-related matter, they all too often devolve into conversations about issues that are totally unrelated to business. Nearly half of all survey respondents said they prefer to hash out work-related questions via email, instant messaging, or by telephone.
Other obstacles to productivity cited by survey respondents include group projects and sitting next to a supervisor.
Eliminate Productivity Killers
Hopefully, you can realize some productivity gains by eliminating some of these productivity killers in your workplace.
To do even more, here are six ways to take your office productivity into the next generation:
Five of these suggestions for increasing productivity come from Odessa Hopkins, owner of a marketing and advertising consultancy in Greenbelt, Maryland.
She shared her tips with writer Kelly K. Spors, who summed them up in an article for Entrepreneur.com.
Prioritize To-Do Lists
1. Prioritize projects based on their revenue-generating potential. It’s also helpful to take complex projects and break them into more manageable segments and attach a deadline to each.
2. Delegate or outsource tasks that don’t generate revenue. As a business owner, you may be tempted to try to juggle such essential tasks as bookkeeping, copywriting, and payroll, even though you may not be fully qualified to handle these responsibilities. This creates a time-consuming distraction from the all-important task of making money, which should be your top priority.
Don’t Over Check Email
3. Don’t interrupt your workflow by constantly checking your email inbox. Set your email server to retrieve messages only manually or at less frequent intervals — such as every 90 minutes. Respond immediately to email messages that require only a simple reply so that you don’t end up reviewing the same message two or more times.
4. Maximize your use of technology shortcuts. The inexorable advance of technology means that new tools become available every day that can streamline office and other workplace procedures significantly. Try to stay abreast of such new technology and the time savings it offers.
Train Employees Well
5. Train your employees well. While it may take a bit more time during the employee orientation process, it will save a great deal of time in the long run. Make sure your employees fully understand the jobs they are to perform and all the individual tasks involved. Otherwise, you and other workplace supervisors will be constantly interrupted by questions from employees who are unsure of themselves and how to proceed with various tasks.
Our sixth suggestion comes from an article posted at NevadaSmallBusiness.com and focuses on the importance of keeping your employees healthy.
6. Move proactively to increase workplace health. This might include the establishment of programs to help employees quit unhealthy habits, such as smoking, or the replacement of high-fat, high-sodium vending machine options with healthier choices. As a business owner, you can also encourage exercise programs and make sure that employees have adequate protection against workplace safety hazards. Cutting down on absenteeism due to illness or injury is a sure way to keep productivity at high levels.
Photo credit: newlifeoffice.com
About the Author: Don Amerman is a freelance author who writes extensively about a wide array of business and personal finance topics.