How to Boost Employee Productivity in the Workplace

How to Boost Employee Productivity in the Workplace

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Productivity in the workplace is an important aspect of every company and when top management understands this concept, success is just around the corner.” 

—Andy Core

Have you ever seen a workplace where the manager assigns the employees with unending floods of tasks to ensure that employees are never idle? A workplace where managers are only interested in getting the job done will only produce stressed and burned-out employees.

A workplace where employees can’t communicate effectively or relate socially but are always under pressure to complete the next project isn’t an ideal workplace…

If productivity and profitability is your goal as a manager, here’s a guide that takes you through every detail you need to know about employee productivity.

Employee Productivity Full Guide Index

Introduction

Chapter 1: What is Employee Productivity?

Chapter 2: Factors Affecting Employee Productivity

Chapter 3: Measurement of Employee Productivity

Chapter 4: How to Calculate Employee Productivity

Chapter 5: How to Improve Employee Productivity

Chapter 6: Eliminating Stress to Boost Employee Productivity

Chapter 7: Psychological Theories of Motivation to Increase Productivity

Chapter 8: Employee Productivity Apps to Adopt

Chapter 9: Taking a Modern Approach to Employee Productivity With SweetProcess

Conclusion

Introduction

The productivity of employees can be viewed differently by different managers. Factors that determine your productivity benchmark include the type of products or services rendered as well as the expected output. We measure productivity as a ratio of the input and output. A production company will see its input consisting of equipment, time, capital, labor, or land. An output is whatever is made, like a car, for example, or the number of vegetables grown on a piece of land.

While it’s relatively easy to think about productivity this way in manufacturing or agriculture, it’s not so easy when you’re referring to the services sector. In a law firm, a healthcare firm, or an insurance business, for example, inputs and outputs are incredibly varied. It’s not always easy to define what the variables are or what productivity means for these organizations.

The first step in building a productive workplace is to define what productivity means to your organization. The next step is to start working on improving employee productivity by applying the methods discussed in this guide.

Increasing employee productivity is not as easy as it sounds. It is not about making your employees work longer hours or getting burned out. Employee productivity itself starts with you as a manager and your team’s level of engagement at work.

As a manager, you have the power and responsibility to check in on your teammates, measure their current productivity levels, and empower them with the tools and best practices they need to do their best work. For any business planning for future growth, it’s important to assess your current situation and then prioritize employee engagement to ensure productivity.

It is possible to have employers who are happy and engaged but are not productive enough. The reverse can also be true of another workplace where there are unengaged but productive employees. As a smart employer, your goal is to achieve a golden combination of an engaged workforce that is also highly productive.

This guide will help you understand how to measure employee performance and also boost employee productivity in a traditional office and remote workplace settings.

Chapter 1: What is Employee Productivity?

Employee productivity is an essential metric that is calculated based on the amount of output on a project versus the amount of time (and other input) it takes to complete the project. In order to know how efficient your employees will be while working on a project, it is important to measure employee productivity. This way, you will know whether or not a project needs more or fewer workers.

Employee productivity can be defined as the amount of useful work (or output) produced by an employee in a specific time. The productivity of employees is not only a measure of the efficiency of a company, but could also be a diagnostic test to measure employees’ engagement, collaboration, communication, and the overall return on investment (ROI) of your business.

James Clear (author of Atomic Habits) defined productivity as a measure of the efficiency of a person completing a task. He argued that productivity is more about getting important things done consistently rather than getting more things done each day. According to Clear, no matter what you are working on, there are only a few truly important things. Thus, being productive is about maintaining a steady, average speed on a few things, not maximum speed on everything.

Difference Between Productivity and Efficiency

We can measure the productivity of each worker by comparing it with the productivity or output of a similar company or colleague in a similar role. 

Efficiency, on the other hand, may not take the output into account. It is more about how judiciously the existing resources are used. It examines whether various factors, like the use of time, equipment, and staff hours, are used to their maximum potential.

You can have a productive and inefficient workplace where things are getting done faster but use too many resources to achieve that. It is equally possible to have an efficient and unproductive workplace where resources are being maximized but things aren’t getting done at a reasonable speed.

Ideally, when employees are given the ideal workplace and the opportunity to live up to their potential, their productivity should be working in tandem with an efficient workplace.

Importance of Employee Productivity

It has been established in the previous section that the success of employees can be measured not only with their productivity but also from their efficiency and effectiveness. The most productive employees are those who spend the right amount of time on a project.

You should always aim to make your employees efficient, effective, and productive. Once your employees are productive, you stand to gain the following benefits:

  • Profitability and increase in ROI
  • Company growth
  • Staying ahead of your competitors
  • Able to meet customer demands

In essence, high employee productivity guarantees that your company remains relevant on the market among the competitors.

Employee Productivity Reports

Employee Productivity Reports
Image Credit: BackBone Pro

A productivity report is a document or dashboard that shows an individual or team’s daily, weekly, or even hourly output. It can be a manual or digitalized system. Manual presentation of productivity reports can be done using charts or spreadsheets. There are also software tools, such as BackBone Pro, that can be used to automate productivity reporting.

Employee productivity reports help you see the big picture in your team’s performance. You will be able to study the patterns and trends in your team’s productivity and identify the factors associated with their performance at each stage. This will allow you to see the most productive time and conditions for each employee and compare their productivity. This report is key in decision-making as you will be able to know what you need to enhance or reduce to ensure that your productivity is at its peak all the time.

As an organization, you can base your productivity reports on subjective data, such as writing down hours worked and tasks handled on a timesheet or objective operational data like revenue and volumes.

 

 

Chapter 2: Factors Affecting Employee Productivity

Factors Affecting Employee Productivity

You will always experience diversity among your employees. Some of them are highly productive while others take longer to complete a task. Productivity levels vary within a team due to certain factors. These factors include differences in personality, working style, or ability. These are things you cannot control as they depend largely on each individual’s nature, readiness to work, and personal development.

Several other factors can be controlled by you as an employer or manager. It is easy to bank on these things by tweaking them from time to time so you can build a highly productive team. Below are some of the factors you can consider to improve employee productivity.

  •  Employee Welfare

The welfare of your employees includes their health and overall wellness. It is a major determinant of employee productivity. This includes having a satisfactory work-life balance, confidence at work, and access to the necessary forms of support such as illness, disability, and parental leave.

  • Communication 

Communication is what holds a team together. Effective communication is what makes them productive. Working toward employee productivity requires that you devise easily accessible communication channels that link your team members together. In the absence of effective communication, there’s no way to achieve this synergy. Social technology has made it easy to adopt tools and channels that allow you to have a united team by adopting apps that are easier to use and high in quality.  

  • Management Practices

Another factor that determines the productivity of your team is the management behavior of the manager or team lead. The level of engagement, availability, and approachability of the manager will go a long way in defining the productivity of the employees. As an organization, if your dream is to set your managers and team members up for success, then you should help people emotionally invest in what they’re doing and use their talents to the fullest.

  • Equipment

Availability of the right equipment and knowledge will dictate the degree of productivity of your employees. It is important to provide them with the right equipment that is intuitive and high quality. Employees working with low-quality tools that require extra time and effort for them to function is counterproductive as it slows down their productivity.

  • Training

One of the inevitable requirements of setting up each employee for productivity is training. Proper employee onboarding coupled with ongoing training to keep them up-to-date is important. You need to ensure that every employee has the right knowledge required to perform their task and excel at it. Such training can come in different forms, ranging from in-company training and even paid training that is sponsored by the organization. Employees with sufficient training will perform their daily tasks and tackle routine challenges without stopping and asking for help. 

Barriers to Employee Productivity

Barriers to Employee Productivity

A lot of factors are responsible for the counterproductivity of employees in the workplace. The readiness to improve your team’s productivity requires that you eliminate the following counterproductive barriers in your organization.

  • Inconsistent policy: Having too frequent changes about how things are run or how projects are handled in a company could be detrimental to employee productivity. Every organization should take its time on policy formulation and ensure that such policies hold for a long time.
  • Lack of communication: Communication is an indispensable tool through which managers and employees can always be on the same page. It involves sharing and disseminating information among employees. Managers are also bound to send out important information to employees in regards to what is expected of them. In case of poor or no communication, vital information is lost and this will, without doubt, slow down the productivity of the employees and the whole organization.
  • Lack of trust and respect: Courtesy demands that everyone is respected notwithstanding the kind of relationship you share. Every employee deserves to be respected and shouldn’t be humiliated in any way. Not feeling valued is one of the barriers to productivity in the workplace. Whether you share similar values or not, have a good rapport or not, a manager should always respect all of his or her employees and trust that they’re doing their best at work. In the absence of this sense of trust and respect, employees will not be in a position to deliver their very best.
  • Lack of skills: In the absence of the necessary knowledge and skills needed to accomplish a task, the productivity of your employees is at stake. This is usually a result of improper onboarding, lack of training, and exposure at different points as necessary.
  • Toxic work environment: In a toxic workplace, the work, atmosphere, or people in it causes serious disruptions in the rest of an employee’s life. Having a workplace devoid of peace, understanding, and friendliness among the employees will hinder its productivity.
  • Lack of motivation: Not feeling valued is one big barrier to success in the workplace. If you’re keen on making your employees highly productive, it is good to cultivate a habit of motivating employees for many reasons. This can be due to projects completed, quality service delivery, or many other reasons that are commendable. Employee motivation can take different forms such as positive words, extra time-off, gift cards, and many others. When this is absent, employees tend to lose their positive vibes and this will negatively affect their productivity.
  • Inadequate tools and technology: Employees without the right tools can be helpless even with the right knowledge. Even the smartest employee without the right tools to perform his or her task will be nothing near productive. In these days of modern workplace technology, there are tools that can also improve the quality and quantity of tasks completed. In the absence of such tools, employees tend to lose their productivity.
  • Poor communication: Lack of open and honest communication is a critical barrier to engagement and productivity. Whether it involves working within the team or across multiple departments, research consistently shows that communication barriers can lead to frustration, disarray, and hindrance to productivity.

 

Chapter 3: Measurement of Employee Productivity

Measurement of Employee Productivity
Image Credit: Hubstaff

 Productivity Metrics

It is not possible to measure your employee productivity without having a benchmark of what needs to be measured and what indicates positive or negative productivity.

The most significant metrics that can be used as a yardstick in determining your progress with productivity are the following:

  1. Goals

Studies have shown that employees who can see an immediate association between their efficiency and company goals are far more productive than the individuals who fail to understand what their work means for organizational goals. However, 2014 measurements show that only 40% of employees know what their company objectives are. Whatever your business goals are, it’s critical to make them clear to your employees. It’s equally essential to find the strategies for estimation that uncover how well worker yield is carrying you nearer to your business objectives. Measure goals vary from company to company depending on what defines the success of your own company. If you run an e-commerce company, you can set a goal of having a specific number of sales per day, week, or month. Hitting this benchmark or going beyond this will tell you that you’re being productive with your employees and vice versa.

In any case, the goal of any organization can be measured by the conversions that translate to optimum revenue and profit for your company. Set a goal and measure it after a certain period to be able to know how productive your employees are. To use this method accurately, you must reveal your goals and targets to your employees regarding each task. Following this, you can then measure their productivity based on their output results to know how well they are contributing toward the company’s objectives.

While implementing this metric, it’s important to take note of the following: 

  1. Determine your goals, set your goals, and communicate this to your employees.
  2. Employees must have easy access to a supervisor for support and solutions to any problems they may encounter in achieving this feat.
  3. A regular evaluation must be put in place to track the progress of this goal.

Quality of work

Sometimes, it isn’t about how far an organization can travel but how well they can succeed. If your organization deals with the rendering of services, the quality of service provided by your employees is what defines your productivity. Even if the revenue for a certain period is high, the productivity may be low if the quality of work rendered to customers is poor. Why? This may not affect the present but the future productivity of your company. Services such as customer support need to be top-notch all the time as this is what will boost the productivity of such employees in the future if the customers are satisfied with the level of their service.

  1. Amount of work completed

The amount or quantity of work is the easiest metric for assessing employee productivity. As important as it is to deliver quality services, the quantity of such service also matters a lot. An employee in charge of customer support cannot claim to handle a customer satisfactorily and only respond to one customer per day when he’s expected to handle a minimum of ten. Notwithstanding the quality of service rendered, the quantity of such quality service is still a determinant of productivity. To be able to assess an employee’s productivity, you must consider all factors, including the training time, parts that came broken, fixing time, and lunch breaks. Productivity can be measured using different productivity software and calculating the average production per hour, day, or month. Since it will help to obtain measurable data, which is the best form of data, it is a convenient method for small organizations or small businesses to estimate their growth and productivity levels.

Methods of Productivity Measurement

Method 1: Measurement by Objectives

To use this method accurately, you must measure productivity in a way that reveals how well each employee’s output is contributing to your company’s goals and targets. It thus requires that employees must first be given clear, individual productivity goals to work toward. It is also important to ensure that they have all the tools and information they need to meet those goals.

If your goal is to increase customer retention by 20% over the next year, you’ll need to decide what kind of training and incentives you’ll use to ensure employees are ready to help you achieve that goal. To ensure the accuracy of measurements, employee actions must be noted regularly in addition to ongoing customer retention rates.

Regular evaluations should reveal individual and total employee accomplishments such as reduced customer complaints, increased customer satisfaction, and other measurable metrics. Employees should meet with their team lead at regular intervals to discuss their progress and to solve problems as they occur. Measuring productivity consistently helps employees to stay focused on their goals. With the annual review, you will be able to know how much progress was achieved toward individual and company goals. New goals are then created for the upcoming year.

Method 2: Measuring Productivity Quantitatively

The quantitative productivity measuring method measures productivity by the number of products an employee produces in a particular time: hour, day, week, or month. This method works very well for small businesses, but even if you’re managing large organizations, this kind of performance measurement is simple and time-saving. It allows you to calculate productivity with productivity software or on a spreadsheet, revealing the number of products an employee produces or contributes to in a given time. Those numbers are then averaged out to reveal productivity gains or losses over time by each employee.

Output can be measured either by the volume or quantity of products created, or by the financial value of the product or service. You can follow the steps below to measure productivity using this method.

Step 1: Create your baseline. This is the average number of individual worker hours, days, or weeks needed to create that product under usual working conditions when the employee is working at optimal levels.

Step 2: Measure each employee in the production line against that ideal and realistic level of productivity.

While adopting this type of measurement, you must consider the amount of time that employees spend on activities such as job training, equipment repairs, lunch breaks, and any other delays beyond their control.

Method 3: 360-Degree Feedback

The 360-degree feedback method uses the feedback and comments of co-workers to measure productivity among employees. This method is only recommended if the employees in your organization interact with one another a great deal. This measurement demands that each employee’s productivity is evaluated by everyone they work or interact with daily, including those on, above, and below their job level. Each one of them must know and understand their co-worker’s overall role and function, daily work duties, professional credentials, and the skills they possess.

This method is mostly adopted by managers of smaller departments or organizations where everyone knows and interacts with each other. For the best possible accuracy, employees must first receive training on how to offer input that is on-demand and required of them. They must as well be enlightened on how to give a well-balanced and impartial assessment of each other. They must be trained to offer feedback that is based purely on their co-worker’s professional abilities, not on their personal feelings or beliefs about that employee.

The accuracy of this method is based on the fact that it involves a good number of people. It is believed that all of them are trained in objective feedback on how each employee’s productivity meets their team and company goals.

Method 4: Measuring Sales Productivity

In a company where employees are in charge of sales and where an increase in sales is the company objective, the number of sales made by each employee can be a function of their productivity. Although it can be challenging to measure such productivity with complete accuracy because certain factors will affect the employee’s productivity.

Step 1: Start by recording the different aspects of their productivity within a given period. These variables can include:

  • The total number of sales completed during that time
  • The total value of sales made (in dollars)
  • The number of calls made to current customers
  • The number of sales made to current customers
  • The number of new customers gained
  • The number of calls made to potential new customers
  • Expenses per sale/new customer acquisition

All these can be recorded either on a spreadsheet or by using software tools.

Step 2: Establish a baseline for sales productivity levels that suits your particular business size, market, and product type. Researching the sales levels of your successful competitors will help you create a realistic baseline.

Step 3: Take note of important elements such as current growth trends and shifts in your market. Note how much time your sales team is spending on non-sales activities, such as travel and internal meetings. They might also be busy re-negotiating terms with existing customers for some weeks, leaving less time for acquiring new customers. Considering any other important factors before your estimations will ensure that salesperson productivity levels are measured as accurately as possible.

Method 5: Measuring Service Productivity

Measuring service productivity can be more demanding but you can still do this accurately. If you want to adopt this method, you can measure productivity by counting the number of tasks performed or the number of customers served in an hour or a day. You can also measure productivity by the rate of product or service delivery, customer feedback, or individual and department self-evaluations.

One method is to record the amount of time a service employee spends on each work duty. This can be done with timesheets or using appropriate software.

For an employee in charge of customer service, productivity can be measured in many ways, such as:

  • How long it takes for a customer to be served (such as call waiting times)
  • How long it takes for a customer’s order to be completed
  • Customer retention rates
  • How long those customers are retained
  • How often products are returned
  • How many customer complaints are received in a given time
  • End-of-call customer surveys to record how well employees have answered customer questions and solved problems.

For any criteria you choose to work with, the first step is to create a baseline that represents your business’s best service level under current conditions and then measure your employee productivity under those conditions.

Method 6: Measuring Time Management Productivity

This method helps to determine employee productivity by recording how they use their work time. An accurate measurement will reveal how much time is spent on productive tasks, as well as how much time is lost. Time lost may be due to illness, excessive time off, non-work-related engagements, and distractions. This method can help employees and managers set goals that help to reduce time losses. However, the bigger your business gets, the harder it is to accurately measure the time management of individual employees. When this happens, you can find solace in helpful software programs that accurately measure how much time employees spend (or don’t spend) being productive. 

Method 7: Measuring Productivity by Profit

According to W. Michael Hsu, the founder of DeepSky accounting firm, “To measure results, one of the vital factors we rely on is the team effectiveness ratio. It measures how much gross profit the company gets for every dollar spent on salary. It’s better than measuring profit against time because we want the team to work smarter, not longer.”

Profit can be used as an effective tool for measuring employee productivity. Measuring productivity purely in terms of profit gained by the organization is becoming the preferred type of measurement for many small- to medium-sized businesses.

While disregarding tiny details about how an employee spends his or her time, or any other thing about his or her movement, only the bottom line (profit) is taken into account. This way, whether an employee works for two productive hours while another one works for eight productive hours, the one who brings the most profit will be seen as the most productive.

This method ensures that productivity measurements don’t keep employees from working creatively or take a great deal of management’s time. As business consultant Roger Bryan of RCBryan & Associates says, “Watch the money and everything will fall in line.”

Method 8: Measuring the Quality of Tasks Completed

Under this method, the productivity of employees can be measured only by whether the work assigned actually gets done. Since personal and professional lives are increasingly blending and overlapping, it’s most accurate to base productivity measurements on the completion of tasks, not minutes spent at the office.

You can track productivity by breaking projects down into individual tasks. These are then assigned to employees best able to handle them. This continues until the projects are complete. The best productivity measurements are about keeping an eye on outcomes and employee progress instead of tracking the time, on-the-job habits, and behavior.

Chapter 4: How to Calculate Employee Productivity

How to Calculate Employee Productivity

Before you calculate employee productivity, you need to have a predefined standard for your desired outcome to be able to know if the outcome meets your expectations. Here are benchmarks you should remember while planning and calculating employee productivity:

1. Customer impact

The impact of the outcome generated by your employees will be felt by your customers. You need to measure this because it is among the most important parameters that you should consider when measuring productivity. Metrics like customer satisfaction scores (CSAT) and net promoter scores (NPS) will help you capture the customer impact quantitatively. Let’s say the average NPS across the organization is nine out of 10. If an employee achieves an 8.5 rating from their customers, it suggests an impressive productivity level of 94.44%.

2. Quality of work

It is vital to consider the quality of a person’s work when calculating their productivity. Sometimes, this will be reflected by CSAT or NPS as described above. Meanwhile, it is mostly an internally calculated metric. For example, a manufacturer might use defects per unit (DPU) as a signal of good quality, suggesting that an employee with low DPU is highly productive. In many cases, an employee’s immediate manager has a better understanding of their qualitative productivity. It is advisable to identify quality benchmarks specific to your domain (manufacturing, education, agriculture, technology, public sector, etc.) to help you determine how productive your employees are.

3. Health and Mental Well-Being

While the sustainability of productivity levels is essential to accurate calculation, a troubled employee will not be able to keep performing at an optimum in the long term. According to World Economic Forum reports, happy employees are more productive. This was shown in a survey of 1,800 contact center employees at British Telecom where it was found that healthy and happy employees contribute to 13% higher sales. A manager should dedicate to conducting regular checks to ascertain the mental well-being of the employees for higher productivity.

 4. Time optimization

Increased productivity must go hand in hand with perfect time-management skills. Since it is important to focus on work-life balance, employees shouldn’t opt for regular overtime efforts to exceed productivity expectations. On the other hand, they shouldn’t spend large portions of the day on non-productive activities. A survey of 1,989 workers conducted in the UK by Voucher Cloud shows that the average office worker is only productive for two hours and 23 minutes each day. To avoid this drawback, you need to set a certain number of hours as a benchmark for your organizational productivity.

Let’s Calculate Employee Productivity 

There are various ways to calculate employee productivity. The commonest method is to compare an employee’s performance against the relative cost he or she brings to the company. The goal is to derive more value from the employee than she’s being paid.

You can calculate the average productivity of your employees with the formula below:

Employee Productivity  =                   Employee Target           X 100       Ideal Target  

Employee targets can be any parameter intended to use in measuring productivity. This can range from hours worked to the number of projects completed, the quality of tasks performed, or any other values that best describe productivity for the organization.

Follow the steps below to calculate the employee productivity considering the number of hours worked.

Step 1: Define a standard

By defining a standard, you pick a particular parameter that fits best for you to measure productivity for your employees. In this case, the standard used is the work hours.

Step 2: Note how much time you have in a workweek

Clarify the number of hours an employee is expected to show up in a week. An eight-hour workweek for five working days equals 40 hours per week.

Step 3: Subtract all unproductive time from your workweek

The total hours and minutes not spent on the company’s task will all be classified as unproductive time. This includes lunch breaks, short breaks, meetings times, and other activities. In a 40-hour workweek, if 30 minutes is set aside as lunch breaks per day, two hours for meetings every week, 20 minutes for a short break every day, that subtracts an unproductive 370 minutes from the 40 hours (2,400 minutes) in a week. This leaves you with a total of 2,030 productive minutes in a week.

Step 4: Calculate the percentage

Divide the number of available productive time (2,030) by the total number of available work time per week (2,400), then multiply by 100 to get your productivity percentage (2,030/2,400 X 100 = 84.6%).

When calculating your productivity percentage, there are two things to note:

  1. You can never be 100% productive.
  2. The productivity percentage is an ideal figure that represents the maximum attainable productivity in your company. In the presence of distractions, you may have no employee reaching this target. However, the closer an employee gets to this ideal 84.6% value, the more productive the employee.

Chapter 5: How to Improve Employee Productivity

How to Improve Employee Productivity

According to Peter Drucker, an Austrian-American management consultant, educator, and author,  “Productivity of work is not the responsibility of the worker but the manager.” This means that as a manager, you shouldn’t expect your employees to be highly productive by default, but your actions, choices, and effort will determine how productive they will be. If your dream is to raise the productivity of your employees to a peak, here are the recommended hints to adopt:

30 Ways to Increase Employee Productivity

  1.   Strengthen communication protocols

Organizations that lack open communication between managers and employees cannot be productive. Employees should have easy access to their managers and effectively communicate expectations and responsibilities. This will allow employees to feel directly connected to the organization’s mission and goals. Ultimately, implementing effective communication protocols can foster efficiency and increase job satisfaction, increasing productivity in return.

 

  1. Improve workplace conditions

If you aim toward impressive employee productivity, try to improve your employees’ working environment. If you work in an office setting, consider equipping your office space with the right tools, beautification of the office space, designate areas of deep work, collaboration areas, and entertainment spaces and ensure each of them is fit to achieve the intended purpose.

If your employees are remotely located, a good habit is to check in with everyone to make sure that they have the right office tools, conducive environment, and equipment they need to work productively from home. You can consider offering work-from-home office stipends to help your employees with their home office setup.

  1. Set goals and prioritize

As a manager, it’s important to relieve your employees of anxiety by creating a systematic way to approach work. This way, your employees will not fall into the trap of being unsure where to start and what to do next. This requires that you set realistic and actionable goals for your company, organized in order of priority. These goals will be broken down into more deliverable and manageable mini-tasks. Thus, work becomes less daunting and productivity goes far up.

  1. Allow flexible schedules

In a remote work setting, all your employees might not be able to comply with a single strict schedule if productivity is your main goal. Factors such as time difference, the difference in productive hours, and a lot more might account for your employees being able to show up at different times. Allowing each employee to work during schedules that work best for them is a productivity gimmick that tells your employees that you’re more interested in their productive output rather than the hours worked. If collaboration is needed, you can set a time that cuts across everyone’s schedule such that they will all be available to work together when needed.

 

  1. Encourage learning opportunities

Having your employees receive more education and training in their specializations will help you boost their productivity. These learning opportunities can be in the form of internal cross-training and employee development. On the other hand, you can offer tuition assistance for employees to further their education or get more training, especially by taking advantage of the expanding opportunities in online learning.

 

  1. Optimize meetings

Before you arrange for a meeting, do you ever have a second thought about whether your message can be passed across without having a meeting?

Several communication channels in your workplace are not just there for nothing; you can disseminate information through your communication channels while employees reach out for questions and comments. According to a survey by Atlassian, 50% of employees consider meetings a waste of time, and about 31 hours are spent on unproductive meetings in a month.

A 2020 research by Owl Lab reveals that 26% of people reported meeting more than usual after transitioning to remote work. The way out is to pass information across communication channels without having to meet frequently. Also, you should make it difficult to schedule meetings by articulating the purpose of the meeting and building an agenda ahead of time. A tool that can help in achieving this is the Fellow App.

  1. Optimize emailing

Avoid spending excess time on emails and increase your productivity. To avoid losing productive time to unnecessary emailing, block time just for emails, select a time window each day when you’ll deal with emails, and stick to the time. Perform all email communication during this time window and keep the emails short and on point. Refrain from emailing your employees in the middle of the night to avoid stressing them, and make good use of email to avoid unnecessary meetings.

  1. Set clear deadlines and project expectations

If goals aren’t clear and well-defined, it’s difficult for employees to achieve them. For every project being handled by your employees, it’s important to set a deadline so that they can work toward meeting the deadline. As a productivity secret, if it wasn’t for deadlines, nothing would get done. In addition to deadlines, it’s important to also set clear expectations as regards what is expected of every project to be able to deliver the very best.

  1. Encourage self-care and time off

A happy worker is a productive worker. The most productive workers are the ones who maintain a healthy work-life balance. Encouraging employees to take care of their physical and mental health and also taking time off is an important part of increasing overall productivity. Even though some employees will still be hesitant to take the time off, you should encourage them to do so to be able to deliver their best while on any task. As a team lead, you should be able to tell when your teammates/employees are not at their very best and give them the support they need.

  1. Train employees on their priorities

Different employees might be charged with different tasks due to their different specializations. This calls for the need to equip each employee differently based on their job needs. You need to know the strength and weaknesses of each employee, answer their questions, and always help out with their challenges and roadblocks.

One of the ways of training employees on how to handle their priorities professionally is to document all their tasks in one easily accessible place using SweetProcess.

  1.  Learn time management skills

Making productive use of your time demands that you set your goals and priorities all the time. Even if you have a lot of tasks that demand your time, it’s important to prioritize them to focus on which one to handle at a particular time. For the best results, you can consider these two time management techniques:

  • Pomodoro technique: This is a way to work with the time you have when you’re faced with many tasks. You achieve this by breaking your time into chunks of 25 minutes separated by five-minute breaks. That is, you have 25 minutes to focus on particular tasks at a time. After this, you’ll have a five-minute break before moving to the next task. Then, for every four 25-minute sessions, you take a longer break.
  • Time blocking: When you plan to focus on a specific task, this method tells you to block specific calendar events and dedicate the time to work distractedly on this task.
  1.  Limit interruptions and avoid distractions

Distraction is the worst enemy of a productive employee. In the absence of distractions originating from noise, coworkers, notifications, and so on, an employee will be able to concentrate fully on his tasks. By reducing meetings to the barest minimum and taking full control of notifications from different apps, every employee stands to improve in their productivity level. Having your employees work from home is another way of making them more productive. This is because they will be able to overcome all distractions that are due to an overcrowded office. A study of 16,000 workers over nine months by Stanford reveals that working from home increased productivity by 13%. This increase in performance was attributed to a quieter more convenient working environment and working more minutes per shift because of fewer breaks and sick days.

  1.  Incentivize for wins and accomplishments

Use the carrot, not the stick. Acknowledging and rewarding employees when they’re productive will make the employee feel good. This will also tell the whole team that you recognize hard work and great results and trigger their productivity zeal. You can do this by creating the time and opportunities to recognize their contribution to your organizational productivity. Go further by rewarding such efforts and this will only drive their productivity higher. Do more of what motivates them and always send positive feedback to comment on their effort. According to a study by Harvard Business School, praise motivates employees and provides a reflection of their best self. 

  1.  Provide employees with technology

With the spread of digital tools that can be adopted to speed up various tasks and stay organized, you can keep the productivity of your employees at its peak. One of the tools that can help to achieve this is SweetProcess. It helps to document all your processes so that your employees are never lost on what to do. You can manage all your tasks, document your processes, create a knowledge base, and combine multiple processes to create your organizational workflow.

  1.  Give extra time off

Have your employees take some extra time off so as to have the chance to recharge and re-energize. No employee will give their best when they’re burned out. Even when you feel like having your employees work all day to meet a target, step back and focus more on making them productive. A survey by Glassdoor shows 66% of US workers would be better employees if they got more sleep. Having your employees take some needed or even unexpected time off is a way to make them more productive.

  1.  Devise some competition

Some employees are not naturally productive. You can make them productive through motivation by creating competition among employees. If highly productive employees are rewarded as a result of friendly competition, the underproductive employees will also get better. According to research by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman, authors of NatureShock, 50% of employees thrive on workplace competition and become a better version of themselves

  1.  Avoid meeting overload

As much as it is important to always keep all employees up to date about the necessary details and updates, meetings should only be held when necessary. Whether in a physical or remote setting, holding frequent meetings is counterproductive because they will mostly happen with no agenda and result in a waste of time. Reduce the number of meetings per day, week, or month. Hold only the essential meetings. Limit the meeting attendees to employees who need to be updated on the moving parts of the company. Others shouldn’t be obliged to attend every time but continue with their usual line of work. It is also important to reduce the time spent in each meeting and make the best use of such time.

  1.  Avoid micromanagement in task delegation

One of the most productive steps you can take as a manager is task delegation. Once you’re sure that these tasks are delegated to capable hands, you should let go of the tiny details. It’s important not to render the delegation process useless by seeing to every detail. According to Harry Chambers, author of My Way or the Highway: The Micromanagement Survival Guide, as much as 85% of employees feel demoralized by micromanagement because the constant supervision makes them lose confidence in their abilities, and makes them less productive. You should manage expectations and requirements instead. This will require you to provide guidelines and your expected final outcome to your employees.

19. Improve office communication

Good communication leads to optimal productivity and efficiency. A great communication and feedback mechanism gives rise to good collaboration. Building a productive team requires you and your team to make an effort to become an effective team. Hosting casual get-togethers, employee outings, team-building matches, and proper welcoming of new employees are some of the ways to strengthen communication toward a productive team. Try to find the ideal means of communication whether it is email, phone, or several other communication and collaboration tools that are available in this technological age.

20. Encourage self-care

 Allowing and encouraging employees to take care of themselves goes a long way in boosting their productivity. It is another way of encouraging them to care about their tasks and projects. Offer beneficial self-care courses and sign up your employees for stress relief courses. It will help them learn how to alleviate everyday stress, manage their time better, or learn any other useful self-care techniques.

21. Set realistic deadlines

Setting a realistic deadline and due dates help you manage priorities and keep your team working as an organized unit. When an employee misses deadlines, it affects everyone else in the workflow. It is important to stress the importance of meeting deadlines by showing your team where and when their contribution is needed in the workflow. They’ll be more conscious of priorities when they see how it impacts their teammates.  To make this easier, you can take advantage of project management software tools to help you create realistic timelines and manage due dates, even when priorities change.

22. Use automation tools

Automation can be a major timesaver and productivity tool. Instead of delegating simple tasks to an employee, you can consider automating some parts of your work to free up human hours. For example, instead of managing expenses with emails or spreadsheets, you can use automation in situations like these. It’s way faster and easier to use a simple expense tracking system, especially if you deal with a lot of expense reporting. Adopt automation solutions that give you total visibility and accurate results at the expense of a small fraction of your time. This will result in having to spend less time on tasks, not more. Some of the tasks that can be automated are: lead generation, invoicing, payroll, social media marketing, website backup, etc.

23. Hire culturally fit employees

Your company’s culture is the sum total of the values and beliefs that each employee shares. Therefore, each employee you hire has a cultural impact on your company. Your employee productivity can be improved by how well a person’s beliefs and values align with your company’s overall culture. An employee who is a cultural fit for your company will have an easier time collaborating and communicating with others for higher productivity.

In a remote office setting, you can be diverse and still have a unified culture. Your culture should be built around important values and goals while embracing different perspectives and backgrounds for a stronger and more diverse team. In order to hire people who align with your culture, you should create a culture document, and advertise your company values during the hiring process. You should also discuss company culture during the initial interview and ask questions that will help you understand if candidates’ values align with your culture.

24. Improve your employee onboarding process

When you’re hiring a new employee, you’d love to see this new hire working as efficiently as possible right away. Even though it takes time for a new hire to learn how you do things, a proper onboarding process will help to equip them for your job. Creating a seamless and effective onboarding process may be demanding; however, adopting SweetProcess will help you achieve a proper onboarding process that stirs up your company’s productivity. Your onboarding program should teach new employees everything they need to know to be productive members of your team. It should also help them fit in with the rest of the team faster.

25. Provide continuous training

In order to make your onboarding process productive, it’s important to also provide frequent training for your existing employees. This will help to keep them up-to-date about new details and processes about the company. Since the environment and job expectations will evolve over time, providing continuous employee training is a smart way to make sure your team is well equipped to keep up with a rapidly changing economy. It’s important to note that such training isn’t just for job-specific skills. Soft skills like organization and time management techniques are necessary for maximum productivity. Most employees will never receive real training in these important areas that will make them more confident, more effective, and more engaged.

26. Document processes

Process documentation is an important key to building productive employees. Documenting processes means that every step, method, and detail about each project are well outlined and accessible to every employee. It helps your employees to know how to approach and complete tasks correctly. You can use tools like SweetProcess to create process documentation for your team.

27. Manage documents and file storage

Your team needs a way to save files and collaborate on documents. This will ensure that all important documents can always be accessed by all employees. Tools like Dropbox and Google Drive can be of help for this purpose.

28. Improve time tracking

With the aid of time-tracking tools, you can assess how long it takes employees to complete certain tasks. This allows for better time management and improves the efficiency of all employees.

29. Keep your team up-to-date

A lack of team efficiency sometimes comes from team members not having access to all the information they need to do their job effectively. Every member of your team should be aware of all important information. This requires that you focus on improving transparency by keeping everyone on the same page. Being transparent with employees builds trust. This, in turn, helps employees to commit to your company’s cause more easily. It also allows them to see the big picture and understand how their efforts are directly contributing to the company’s goals. When employees work in a transparent environment, they feel more comfortable sharing their ideas. This aids team productivity. To improve transparency, ensure you record every meeting, and keep important discussions in public channels.

30. Create a single source of truth (SSOT)

Creating a single source of truth (SSOT) is a way of improving your company’s transparency. It is a database that contains all the information on your company’s workflows, processes, and projects. Having such a database ensures everyone on your team has access to all the information they might need at all times. The database should be frequently updated by having team members contribute resources as new information evolves. You can execute this using tools such as SweetProcess or Confluence.

Chapter 6: Eliminating Stress to Boost Employee Productivity

Eliminating Stress to Boost Employee Productivity

It’s a glaring reality that stress is a health hazard. It results in burnout in many employees and slows down productivity. A high percentage of employees are more likely to leave their job as a result of workplace burnout. It impairs strategic thinking and alters the creative ability of hard-working employees.

Clinical psychologists and leadership consultants confirmed that burnout prevention can be achieved by reducing workplace stress while also increasing employee engagement. 

What are the culprits?

Workplace stress doesn’t just come up because employees do the work they’re hired to do. Certain adverse factors are responsible for this and they include:

  • Workplace victimization

Victimization due to unfair treatment by managers and team leaders will lead to burnout in any employee. Victimization can come in the form of bias, favoritism, maltreatment, or unfair company policies. A feeling of victimization by an employee breaks the psychological bond between managers and teammates, and this slows down productivity.

  • Heavy workload

When overwhelmed by a highly demanding workload, productive employees can quickly shift from promising to worried individuals as a result of burnout. This happens when managers stop looking out for their employees to see when their workload is getting unbearable and get them the help they need.

  • Lack of specialization

A productive employee shouldn’t be a jack-of-all-trades. All employees in a workplace should have clearly defined roles and specializations. As a manager, you should ensure that every employee knows what is expected of them so as to be able to deliver their very best. Employees can become exhausted by just trying to figure out what is expected of them. One of the best qualities in a manager is his or her ability to discuss responsibilities and performance goals with the employees. This makes it easy to collaborate with them and ensure that expectations are clear and aligned with those goals.

  • Lack of effective communication

When there is ineffective communication, employees feel uninformed, alone, and defensive. Employees lack confidence and a sense of belonging, and this leads to burnout.

  • Time pressure

 Time pressure is often experienced by employees who do not know how long it takes to deliver quality work to their manager. They sometimes work extra hours to live up to expectations and deliver tasks within pressing deadlines.  Unreasonable deadlines and pressure can create a snowball effect. When employees miss one overly aggressive deadline, they fall behind on the next thing they are scheduled to do.

How to Eliminate Workplace Stress for Improved Productivity

  • Create a friendly workplace

Building a productive team requires that you build a friendly workplace for all your employees. Shun all attitudes of intimidation, victimization, bias, and maltreatment that will adversely affect any of the employees. You will end up creating a reliable workplace where every employee builds a bond with the manager to geometrically increase the productivity of the team.

  • Regulate workloads

To stop being around burnout employees, you need to regulate their work reasonably to ensure that their tasks are within their capability. Look out for each employee, and give them the confidence to ask for help whenever they’re experiencing work overload.

  • Assign, delegate, and collaborate on tasks

Every employee should know what is expected of them in the workplace. Assign tasks according to everyone’s priority and equip them with all the knowledge and tools they need to perform the tasks productively. This aids collaboration and a perfect end result await all the projects that are handled in such a professional manner.

  • Upgrade team communication

When you step up your communication game, employees feel informed and have a sense of belonging. Effective and frequent communication provides a psychological buffer to the employees. It gives a sense of assurance that if something goes wrong, the manager has their back. Employees who feel supported by their manager are less likely to experience burnout on a regular basis.

  • Set reasonable deadlines

Every task should have an approximate time you need to assign for an employee to get it completed. Try eliminating burnout in your employees by setting only reasonable deadlines to always keep them at the peak of their productivity game.

Chapter 7: Psychological Theories of Motivation to Increase Productivity 

Psychological Theories of Motivation to Increase Productivity

Building a motivated team is the most important step in improving employee productivity. If your team is full of unmotivated employees, several other efforts might fail. Take your first step by motivating your team of employees as this stands a high chance of moving them toward productivity.

1. Hertzberg’s Two-Factor Theory

Hertzberg’s Two-Factor Theory

The two-factor theory of motivation (otherwise known as dual-factor theory or motivation-hygiene theory) was developed by psychologist Frederick Herzberg in the 1950s.

Herzberg analyzed the responses of 200 accountants and engineers who were asked about their positive and negative feelings about their work and found two factors that influence employee motivation and satisfaction. They are:

a. Motivator factors: These are factors that lead to satisfaction and motivate employees to work harder. Examples are career progression and workplace motivation.

b. Hygiene factors: The absence of these things can lead to dissatisfaction and a lack of motivation. Examples include salary, company policies, benefits, relationships with managers and co-workers.

According to Herzberg’s findings, while motivator and hygiene factors both influenced motivation, they appeared to work completely independently of each other. While motivator factors increased employee satisfaction and motivation, the absence of these factors didn’t necessarily cause dissatisfaction. Likewise, the presence of hygiene factors didn’t appear to increase satisfaction and motivation but their absence caused an increase in dissatisfaction.

 To build a happy and productive workforce, you should motivate your employees by improving both motivator and hygiene factors. Give plenty of feedback and make sure your employees understand how they can grow and progress through the company.

2. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

The hierarchy of needs theory was coined by psychologist Abraham Maslow in his 1943 paper “A Theory of Human Motivation.” The theory highlighted that individuals’ most basic needs must be met before they become motivated to achieve higher-level needs.

The hierarchy is made up of five levels:

a. Physiological: These needs must be met in order for a person to survive, such as food, water, and shelter.

b. Safety: This includes personal and financial security, and health and well-being.

c. Love or belonging: The need for friendships, relationships, and family.

d. Esteem: The need to feel confident and be respected by others.

e. Self-actualization: The desire to achieve everything you possibly can and become the most that you can be.

According to the hierarchy of needs, every individual must be in good health, safe, and secure with meaningful relationships and confidence before you can be the most that you can be.  To get the most out of your team, you should also make sure you support them in other aspects of their lives outside work. Do this by offering flexible working hours to give employees time to focus on their families and make sure they are paid fairly to help them feel financially stable.

3. Hawthorne Effect

Hawthorne Effect

The Hawthorne effect was first described by Henry A. Landsberger in 1950 who noticed a tendency for some people to work harder and perform better when they were being observed by researchers. The Hawthorne effect is named after a series of social experiments on the influence of physical conditions on productivity at Western Electric’s factory at Hawthorne, Chicago in the 1920s and 1930s.

The researchers changed a number of physical conditions over the course of the experiments including lighting, working hours, and breaks. In all cases, employee productivity increased when a change was made. The researchers concluded that employees became motivated to work harder as a response to the attention being paid to them, rather than the actual physical changes themselves.

To apply this in your workplace in an attempt to enhance productivity, you should try providing regular feedback, letting your team know that you know what they’re up to, and how they’re doing.

While it is not recommended to hover over your employees watching them all day, showing your employees that you care about them and their working conditions may also motivate them to work harder. You can also encourage your team to give you feedback and suggestions about their workspace and development.

4. Expectancy Theory

Expectancy Theory

The expectancy theory proposes that people will choose how to behave depending on the outcomes they expect as a result of their behavior. In other words, we decide what to do based on what we expect the outcome to be. At work, it might be that we work longer hours because we expect a pay rise.

However, the expectancy theory also suggests that the process by which we decide our behaviors is also influenced by how likely we perceive those rewards to be. In this instance, workers may be more likely to work harder if they had been promised a pay rise (and thus perceived that outcome as very likely) than if they had only assumed they might get one (and perceived the outcome as possible but not likely).

The expectancy theory is based on three elements:

  1. Expectancy: The belief that your effort will result in your desired goal. This is based on your experience, your self-confidence, and how difficult you think the goal is to achieve.
  2. Instrumentality: The belief that you will receive a reward if you meet performance expectations.
  3. Valence: The value you place on the reward.

Therefore, according to the expectancy theory, people are most motivated if they believe that they will receive the desired reward if they hit an achievable target. They are least motivated if they don’t want the reward or they don’t believe that their efforts will result in the reward.

5. Three-Dimensional Theory of Attribution

Three-Dimensional Theory of Attribution

The attribution theory explains how we attach meaning to our own, and other people’s, behavior. There are many theories about attribution.

Bernard Weiner’s three-dimensional theory of attribution assumes that people try to determine why we do what we do. According to Weiner, the reasons we attribute to our behavior can influence how we behave in the future.

For example, a student who fails an exam could attribute their failure to several factors, and it’s this attribution that will affect their motivation in the future.

Weiner theorized that specific attributions (e.g., bad luck, not studying hard enough) were less important than the characteristics of that attribution. According to Weiner, there are three main characteristics of attributions that can affect future motivation.

  1.  Stability: How stable is the attribution? For example, if the student believes they failed the exam because they weren’t smart enough, this is a stable factor. An unstable factor is less permanent, such as being ill.

According to Weiner, stable attributions for achievements, such as passing exams, can lead to positive expectations, and thus higher motivation, for success in the future.

However, in negative situations, such as failing the exam, stable attributions can lead to lower expectations in the future.

  1. Locus of control: Was the event caused by an internal or an external factor? For example, if the student believes it’s their fault they failed the exam because they are innately not smart enough (an internal cause), they may be less motivated in the future. If they believed an external factor was to blame, such as poor teaching, they may not experience such a drop in motivation.
  1. Controllability: How controllable was the situation? If an individual believes they could have performed better, they may be less motivated to try again in the future than someone who believes they failed because of factors outside of their control.

 

Chapter 8: Employee Productivity Apps to Adopt

Employee Productivity Apps to Adopt

Effective communication and collaboration are indispensable parts of a productive workplace. Modern-day technology has made it easy to be able to achieve these things in the easiest possible way with the help of productivity apps. These apps are tailored to serve different purposes, with the sole aim of increasing productivity in different aspects of workplace tasks. The following are some of the apps that can be adopted for different purposes in a productive workplace.

Communication Tools

These are the software tools you can use in communicating with your employees effectively.

  • Email newsletters

Email newsletters are one of the most popular communication tools in the workplace. It is an opportunity to collate relevant information that is less urgent and deliver it at set intervals. With the aid of autoresponders, you can adopt this fairly low-cost method of communicating in your workplace and all your employees can have access to the information even after a long time. A well-designed, well-written, and eye-catching internal newsletter can help you share important information internally and build a positive team culture. Some of the autoresponders you can adopt for this purpose include MailerLite, AWeber, Sendinblue, Moosend, ConvertKit, Sender, SendPulse, Mailchimp, Benchmark, Campaign Monitor, and GetResponse.

  • Instant messaging system

With the aid of instant messaging systems, your employees can easily communicate with one another by sending texts, videos, links, or photos to each other. This is applicable for both office and remote settings. This makes them more comfortable being an informal and quick style of communication. Instant messaging apps have been such extremely useful employee communication tools as people have had to work remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic. It allows fast response and the opportunity to socialize while staying productive.

Some of the instant messaging apps that aid employee productivity are Skype, Brosix, Discord, Mattermost, Microsoft Teams, Fleep, Chanty, Troop Messenger, Flock, Ryver, Slack

  • Intranet

Intranets are one of the most common internal communication tools in the workplace. They are essentially internal social network tools functioning as a centralized repository of knowledge, news, documents, and updates so that employees and staff can access a broad range of topics. It is ideal for communication, task delegation, and analytics within a workforce, and the access can be restricted within the staff and employees.

Examples of intranet software platforms to consider are Microsoft SharePoint, Friday, Blink, Slack, eXo Platform, Igloo, Workplace by Facebook, Yammer, SAP Jam Collaboration, Jostle, Simpplr, ThoughtFarmer, Interact, Jive interactive, Noodle, Communifire by Axero, IntranetPro, SweetProcess.

  • Blogs

Internal blogs can be made to sit on an organization’s intranet site and can become one of the best ways to share information and encourage discussion. This will require a top-down approach to communication where the blog is written by the CEO and/or senior executives to enlighten staff and employees about vital and trending issues. In other situations, it might be an opportunity for subject matter experts from across the organization to share information, opinions, and solutions to problems in a conversational way to keep everyone up to date. Examples of blogging platforms are WordPress, Medium, Joomla, Drupal.

Project collaboration tools

Collaboration software tools help to keep your team’s communications in one place. It is an easy way to work together on projects, share knowledge, and even as an internal communication toolkit. This is especially true when working with remote teams on the same project.

As a result of the pandemic, collaboration software is being used more widely than ever before, as it has helped teams to remain cohesive while working remotely. This increased uptake is predicted to continue with time.

With these collaboration tools, it is easy to plan, organize, and delegate projects among team members.

Examples of such project collaboration tools are Wrike, Zenkit, Trello, Asana, Monday, Basecamp, Notion, KanbanFlow, Slack, Zoho Projects, GanttProject, Flowdock, DapulseRedbooth, Wimi, Milanote, CodingTeam, Igloo, Google Docs, Quip, Milamote, Blink and so on.

Virtual Meetings and Video Chat Tools

Video communication is particularly useful for interactions in large companies especially when they are spread across different geographic locations.  It is one of the best ways for employees in different offices to talk face-to-face even while they are many miles apart.

Traditionally, this can be achieved by having all employees travel to a single location for meetings. Video chat software enables everyone to get together without leaving their usual place of work and comfort. The COVID-19 pandemic has made it an indispensable tool when social distancing and other restrictions have made face-to-face meetings impossible. Examples of applications used for video chatting are Skype, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, FaceTime, Powwownow, Google Duo, Discord, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Whereby, Google Hangout, Houseparty, TeamViewer Blizz, Epyc, ICQ, Jitsi, Tox, Viber, Line, WeChat,  and Wire.

  • Video broadcasts and webinars

When meetings become a necessity, it is not uncommon to have employees who may be absent or can’t make it to the meeting due to various reasons. With the present-day technology, you can avoid having physical meetings where information might be missed by those absent. Online meeting platforms are the go-to tool in making this happen. Tools such as  GoToWebinar, Zoom, Webex, Jami, Talky, Lifesize, Whereby, Cisco, Jitsi MeetIntermedia, Adobe Connect, RingCentral Meetings, ON24, BigBlueButton, Zoho Meeting, ClickMeeting, Intrado, Pexip, Digitell, Infinite Conferencing, and LiveWebinar are some of the best tools for this purpose. In addition to having people attend the meeting from anywhere in the world, absentees can also access the recording to know everything discussed in the meeting to stay up-to-date on some of these platforms.

  • Virtual events

Virtual events are much more than the average webinar or live stream. In addition to streaming vision and audio, they allow employee engagement. There’s the opportunity to interact via questions and answers, live polls, and various forms of contributions. The organizers can also determine which employees are paying attention and which ones are inattentive. Virtual events are a great alternative to town-hall gatherings and roadshows in large organizations. Annual retreats, company get-togethers, training, and seminars can be hosted virtually this way. It’s a way to ensure everyone can find out the same information at the same time, and the recording serves as an improvement over the physical events.

Tools such as GoToWebinar, StreamGo, StreamShark, Stream Monkey, LiveU, and so on can be used to host such virtual events.

Team Bonding Tools

If optimum employee productivity is your goal, enhancing your employees’ social interactions with each other should be a priority. It is important to get your employees to know and interact with each other. This enhances project flow and fosters greater collaboration and knowledge sharing. This is especially important in teams that work remotely and very far from each other since they are devoid of physical interactions.

One of such tools you can use for this purpose is Donut, an integration that is used with Slack. It randomly pairs two people from across an organization and schedules an informal chat so they can get to know one another.  It is an opportunity to know what other employees in the company do, and understand other perspectives.

Other useful tools for team bonding are GooseChase, MapDash, Gogame, Slack, and iMeet.

Survey and Idea Management Tools

You can decide to adopt a two-way communication between management and employees. The best way is to gather ideas and feedback from employees to help improve or create new products or systems. A perfect way to do this is via surveys. The anonymous nature of surveys is one of its unique features and can give you better feedback from employees who may be reluctant to share their views openly. This will increase employee engagement and help you determine employees’ perspectives on many aspects of your company. According to the Salesforce survey on Impact of Equality and Values-Driven Business, employees who feel their voice is being heard by management are five times more likely to perform at their best. Survey software does the math calculations for you, taking a lot of the hard work out of it compared to paper-based surveys.

Also, with the help of idea management software, you can experiment, incubate, develop, track, share, and crowdsource the best ideas in one place. Software tools that can be used for surveys are Survey Monkey, Capterra, QuestionPro, SurveySparrow, SurveyLegend, SoGoSurvey, Survey Anyplace, Zoho Survey, and lots more. Idea management tools are Ideanote, Qmarkets, Brightidea, UseResponse, IdeaMaps, Kindling, Brightsparks, etc.

Employee Experience Tools

These are customized software applications that help to embed your employee’s work experience into your company culture. They form part of the overall experience that employees have working for your organization. With the aid of appropriate tools, your employees will easily access the information they need to do their jobs. Information such as planners, emails, documents, and software applications will be at everyone’s fingertips. This will ensure a consistent onboarding experience and can also be used to help coordinate training, and deliver information that employees need such as payroll information, leave entitlements and balances, managing holidays, and accessing employee benefits.

Examples of employee experience tools are Officevibe, Qualtrics, Kudos, Culture Amp, 15Five, Lattice, Workday Peakon, Small Improvements, and so on.

Time Tracking/Assessment Tools

Time tracking apps are essential time management tools that can help you and your employees become more organized, efficient, and get more things done. These apps help to track time and calculate your daily productivity and efficiency. All these features are due to its ability to categorize your URLs, programs, and apps into productive and unproductive ones. The more time you spend on productive apps and sites, the more your productivity. Some of these apps come with other features such as collaboration, invoicing, and project management features. Examples of these time tracking and assessment tools are DeskTime, ProofHub, Hours, TimeCamp, Time DoctorToggl, Hubstaff, Tick, RescueTime, Harvest, Clockify, Timely, TSheets, BeeBole, I Done This, KnowledgeSyncTimeCorder, etc.  

All the apps mentioned in this chapter and many others have the benefit of helping managers assess, assign, track and monitor their employees with just a few clicks. Taking advantage of the technology in them will not only help in improving efficiency but will also help to shape the company’s goals. Even though not all tools are created equal, some are designed for larger-scale teams and operations while others are better suited for small groups or even individual productivity tracking.

Chapter 9: Taking a Modern Approach to Employee Productivity With SweetProcess

Taking a Modern Approach to Employee Productivity With SweetProcess

Modern entrepreneurs, executives, and digital nomads are changing their work habits for the sake of maximizing their employee productivity. Obtaining optimum productivity does not only depend on a manager’s ability to manage his employers but also the readiness to adopt digital technological tools. Many of the productivity apps you can adopt have been mentioned in the previous chapters and one of these is SweetProcess

Aligning your team’s effort with your company goals requires that you use the right tools to enhance your business operations. You should also be able to identify opportunities, mitigate risks, and implement effective change for maximum productivity. There are many process improvement software solutions that exist today. SweetProcess stands out as a premium service that offers businesses the platform they can use to create and monitor processes. It makes it possible to track processes efficiently, and this means that you can use the platform to improve your existing processes.

With SweetProcess, you can assign tasks to team members, streamline processes using the suggestions given, leading to improved performance, productivity, and overall business growth. You can start your journey to productivity today by signing up for a 14-day free trial. No credit card required!

Whether you’re interested in improving your team’s productivity, hiring your first employee, or onboarding them, SweetProcess gives you the systemization you need to scale and grow your business.

Process Documentation

Craig Bayer is the CEO of Optiable who was in dire need of documented processes to get things done. He sought to meet this need by documenting the processes manually. He found out that this was a hard nut to crack. Micromanaging employees was part of the day’s job, and it was taking up a chunk of his time at the expense of other important tasks. Systematizing the company operations was a huge relief for both Craig and Optiable, whose productivity took a leap after adopting SweetProcess

Process Improvement

AEJuice is one of the organizations that were able to skyrocket their productivity with SweetProcess. In the absence of documented procedures, Jacob yrytsia, Chief Executive Officer at AEJuice, had to explain everything to his support team members all the time. After his explanation came tons of questions, showing that they always needed more guidance on their tasks.

Jacob figured out that documenting the procedures would help. He did that and gave his employees the document, but they always came back with more questions even with the document in their hands.

Answering the same questions over and over again was a huge part of Jacob’s responsibilities at work. There was little or nothing that could be done in his absence so he had to always be available for things to get done. When he found SweetProcess, he was able to get a lot of tasks off his shoulders by creating a knowledge base that answers all his team’s questions, and that was the beginning of their journey to better productivity.

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Customized Operations

Thomas Parker, the quality assurance and sensory coordinator at Stone & Wood, is in charge of maintaining quality assurance and smooth operations of the company. Being at loss about how to create an effective system that can be used as regulatory standards in the industrial environment, his productivity becomes a game of a chance. The binders and Microsoft Word documents he used deceived him. Thomas took up the responsibility to resolve the problem, and after trying several systems, he found the solution in SweetProcess. With the flexibility and ease of use found in SweetProcess, quality assurance and process coordination at Stone & Wood became a plausible system. Sign up for a 14-day free trial of SweetProcess here.

Conclusion

There you have it! A complete guide that answers every burning question about employee productivity.

Without a doubt, employee productivity is one major target that is a common goal for every manager. No organization can achieve its ideal goals without building a productive team as a prerequisite.

What’s more? Feel free to check out the 14-day free trial version of SweetProcess. No credit card required.

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