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Workplace productivity: How to measure and increase it

Increasing workplace productivity is always in the back of a manager's mind. Here are 7 ways to make your team more efficient and measure it.

Ryan Carruthers

Published on 

March 14, 2022

Updated on 

Time to Read

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Workplace productivity impacts many different areas of your organization, including:

  • Customer service
  • Business goals and objectives
  • Revenue
  • Employee morale

The bottom line is that productive workplaces have happy and engaged employees. And the more engaged your employees are the more effective they are at their jobs, leading your organization into success. 

What is workplace productivity?

Workplace productivity refers to how efficient your team is at achieving company goals or producing services and goods for customers. 

For example, it may refer to how quickly employees are able to build a product in your factory or resolve a customer complaint call. Ensuring that your workplace productivity is high is key to revenue building, staying competitive and pleasing stakeholders and customers. 

What are the components of productivity?

Workplace productivity has various components that are vital to ensure things run smoothly. These include: 

  • Employee motivation
  • Training
  • Leadership
  • Technology
  • Work environment

Let’s briefly explore each of these components.

Employee motivation and involvement in decision-making

Employees need to buy into the work they’re doing and care about their performance and your company’s mission before they’ll be productive. 

One study out of Pakistan found that involving employees in the decision-making process can lead to higher productivity and job satisfaction. 

If you want your employees to improve their productivity, ask for their input on decisions. It will make them feel valued. 

You can’t be productive without proper training

Having a good onboarding process is vital, so your employees know what to do and how to do it. 

Moreover, ensuring that your employees are properly trained for their work can save you time and money. Proper training reduces mistakes on the job, which costs time and money. It also means you’ll have a workforce that is skilled to do their jobs. 

You won’t need to search for new hires who have the skills you want.

For that reason, when considering how to improve workplace productivity don’t forget to conduct a skills gap analysis to determine where specific capacities are missing in your workforce. When you identify those gaps it becomes clear where you need to look for training. From there you can decide to train them in-house or look for external coaches.  

Leadership and guidance

How leaders treat employees, and the amount of guidance they offer to others can significantly impact workplace productivity. 

Researchers looked into whether leadership style affected employee productivity and, in turn, the organization’s productivity. They found that situational leadership increased productivity in the workplace

Situational leadership is defined by someone's ability to discern which type of leadership style is most appropriate given each situation. A leader’s ability to know when to be assertive and when to be supportive is an example of situational leadership. It’s a wisdom that knows that one size doesn’t fit all. 

So, if you want your employees to be productive, consider which leadership styles will move the needle the most. For managers, leadership mentoring programs can help them learn the skills necessary to increase their team’s efficiency. 

Proper tools and technology

Similar to proper training, your employees can be effective in their roles without appropriate tools and technology. Consider solutions that can help your teams be more productive. There are a variety of tech tools available designed to improve efficiency, reduce redundancy, and ease employee workloads. If you are an eCommerce company, you can invest in purchasing platforms to streamline different business operations, including purchasing goods/services from other vendors, and improve employee productivity.

A healthy workplace environment

Sleep is important for employee productivity. So much so that some companies are instituting policies to help employees get better sleep. These organizations understand that if employees are tired, they don’t work as fast and can even have more errors in their work. It’s been estimated that about 30 percent of employees do not get enough rest. 

Why is it important to increase productivity in the workplace?

Productivity impacts company performance, reputation and competitiveness. Leaders who have a vested interest in guiding a company into a strong future should care about workplace productivity. 

Increasing productivity offers several benefits, such as:

  • Getting more done -  increasing current employee productivity means your team will be able to achieve more. 
  • Collaborating with team members more efficiently - higher productivity often goes hand in hand with better team collaboration. 
  • Reducing costs - higher productivity means less waste, leading to a reduction of the expenses for the organization. 
  • Employees feel more accomplished - when employees see their productivity levels increase, it can cause them to feel more confident in their abilities. 

How to measure productivity in your workplace

There are some different ways to measure productivity in your workplace. One study notes that there is no consensus on one KPI that effectively measures workplace productivity. It also stated that it was better to measure workplace productivity regularly using simple methods. They produce more reliable data than infrequent, but substantial studies. 

The book, Creating the Productive Workplace lists three measurement techniques for workplace productivity:

  • Physiological - how employees respond in their bodies to different workloads. An increased heart rate could be associated with increased brain activity. The book admits the validity of these physiological measurements is questionable. 
  • Task performance - This is a quantitative measurement that measures how performance changes as the workload increases or the task becomes more difficult.
  • Subjective - This measurement uses qualitative surveys to see how employees feel about workload or difficulty. They list that “rating scales, questionnaires, and interviews are used to collect opinions."

7 examples of workplace productivity

If you’re looking for some inspiration on ways that workplace productivity can be improved, here are some examples. 

Individual productivity techniques

Here are some ways that your employees can improve their productivity on their own: 

  1. Pomodoro technique - this approach encourages employees to organize their work into shorter stints, taking breaks in between. This technique can lead to higher levels of concentration and reduce mental exhaustion. 
  2. Eisenhower matrix - employees can make a list of their tasks and prioritize them based on how crucial it is they get done. Employing this technique allows employees to be more effective at their tasks. 
  3. Tools that mute notifications - distractions, like those from social media, can lead us away from work and down rabbit trails that waste time and energy. Encourage employees to use tools that will block their notifications, including email, so they can better focus on the task at hand. 
  4. 2-minute rule (if you can do it in 2 minutes, do it) - this idea states that if something can be done in two minutes or less it should be completed right away. Don’t add it to a list to complete later, just do it. 

Strategies for the whole workplace

Individual techniques can help employees to be more productive in their space, but it’s also a good practice to have productivity strategies for the entire organization. Some of these can include: 

  1. Breaking large projects into smaller pieces - take small steps to accomplish goals and tasks. It helps employees not to see it as a momentous undertaking, but rather as small tasks that will get you to the end goal. 
  2. Encourage workplace learning - Build your employees’ skills through workplace learning programs. You can also encourage employees to work together or pair them up in mentoring programs or peer-to-peer learning programs. Doing so can increase organizational knowledge and reinforce learning.
  3. Document critical knowledge in a wiki - you don’t want your employees or organization to miss out on critical knowledge. Keeping it in a central place like a wiki ensures that it stays with your workplace. It also makes it easy for employees to access the information when they need it. 

How can mentorship help increase workplace productivity?

A final way to increase workplace productivity is by connecting high performers with other employees. Studies have been done within education that show low-performing students unsurprisingly do much better after they receive mentoring and 1-on-1 coaching. 

Mentorship isn’t just for students. Mentorship can directly impact workplace productivity in a number of ways, including:

  • Nurture talent - not all skills are innate. Some employees have significant talents that will need to be nurtured and supported. If you invest in mentoring your employees, they will have an opportunity to grow, which will improve their productivity. 
  • Good mentors develop good employees - Outstanding employees at your organization should be encouraged to mentor less experienced ones. Mentees will learn the right habits and develop competencies and skills that resemble their mentor. 
  • Improve engagement - when employees work for an organization that focuses on their growth and development, it makes them more committed to the company. Studies have demonstrated how essential mentoring is to employee engagement
  • Leadership growth - some leadership skills need practice. Workplace mentoring programs allow both the mentor and mentee to practice some of those key skills, like communication. 
  • Reduce stress - mentors can also serve as sounding boards for mentees. Having someone to talk to can help reduce stress for employees. 

We at Together Software are serious about the power of mentorship. But we know starting a workplace mentoring program can take some work. 

So we made it easy. 

Using our mentoring platform, you can easily invite employees to register where they’ll complete a profile. 

When ready, you can pair everyone at the click of a button. Our pairing algorithm will make the best possible pairing in seconds based on the similarities and goals of employees. We make mentorship easy. 

Learn more about how to increase workplace productivity through mentorship or get started inviting your employees for free to a program today. 

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