9 Simple Workplace Hacks That Boost Employee Productivity

Thomas Johnson |

 

While there are many ways to boost productivity at work, here are nine of the best simple means of doing so, collected from many different lists.

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We can't necessarily increase the number of hours in a work day, but we can help employees make better use of the time they’re given. Higher productivity is a quest many companies have faced since the dawn of organized labor, since productivity can be the difference between life and death. Here are nine simple ways to boost employee productivity and breathe life into your business. 

1. Encourage monotasking. Discourage multitasking.

Employees who multitask often pride themselves on their skill — and it can even be impressive to witness. Imagine someone who is on a conference call while simultaneously taking notes, responding to emails and checking Twitter on an iPhone. But the idea that multitasking increases productivity, is a complete myth–and psychological research agrees entirely. Multitasking actually decreases productivity, concentration and energy.  

One way you can help cut down on multitasking in the office is by streamlining your company’s technology. Instead of employees needing to use Gchat, Dropbox and Outlook, try to find a single project management tool to keep chats, files and emails all in one location. If you’re noticing that employees are responding to emails or checking social media during meetings, they may be bored. Suggest holding smaller brainstorming sessions where people have a chance to participate more.

2. Strive for proactivity, not reactivity.

They say good things come to those who wait - but when it comes to productivity, workers should approach their work head-first instead of waiting idly. Incentivize your employees so they’re more inclined to focus on achieving, not watching the clock and waiting for the day to end. Recognize different employees accomplishments and hard work in emails and even through awards. Try setting weekly goals to keep everyone active and accountable.

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3. Stock the office with healthy snacks.

Healthy snacks help workers maintain their energy throughout the day. Drinking plenty of fluids is important too because the body and brain need proper hydration to work properly. If your company has a vending machine, try replacing soda and candy bars with healthier options like bottled water and protein bars. If your company has a budget for complementary snacks, here are some healthy options to stock your in the break room:

  1. Fruit or Dried Fruit
  2. Nuts
  3. Protein Bar, Fruit and Nut Bar, or Energy Bar
  4. Yogurt
  5. String Cheese
  6. Jerky
  7. Granola
  8. Nut Butter
  9. Veggies
  10. Trail Mix
  11. Dark Chocolate
  12. Crackers

Source: http://www.snacknation.com/blog/healthy-office-snacks/

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4. Resist social media. Turn notifications off.

Social media feeds can be boundless - and they can consume an employee’s time and distract them from their production if you are not careful. There are two steps to combat this:

1) Have staff silence their phones; put them on Do Not Disturb mode; turn the display brightness down; or do all of the above, so the phone doesn’t become a distraction.

2) Encourage employees to resist the urge to look at their phones frequently. Explain the significance and importance of their work, and in response, they’ll likely focus on working rather than Snapchatting.

5. Organize your work space.

An organized work space is essential for any employee. Not only does it help them find important papers, documents, and notes, but it also gives them a more comfortable and serene environment!

Often, the most daunting challenge of cleaning and organizing is starting in the first place. However, the toil is worth the final product - they’ll have a neat, clean desk that they’re proud to call their own. Not only will it help the individual, but it will help everyone collectively, by making the office a nicer place for everyone to coexist.

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6. Take time to reflect.

Reflection allows employees to think more carefully and critically about their work and production. What went well? What didn’t go well? What was accomplished and what wasn’t? Are there things that could be done differently next time? Reflection, especially written reflection, doesn’t take much time and can be an effective catalyst to improve production. Consider providing every employee with a small notebook dedicated and giving weekly thought exercises, such as freewriting with a prompt or question.

7. Socialize

Workplace friendships can increase productivity and job satisfaction, while decreasing stress, according to the American Psychological Association. Undoubtedly, building positive relationships is essential to employees’ careers. A work atmosphere that fosters communication and trust helps everyone in the company. Additionally, this allows the office to become more like a home away from home. Sometimes, employees’ work may demand a lot of time, which makes socialization a challenge, but going out to lunch on occasion or hosting company dinners and events are great ways to encourage socializing.

8. Take regular breaks.

Although it may sound counter-intuitive, a lot of research indicates that taking short breaks during long tasks helps concentration and performance. Conversely, working without ever taking breaks leads to a steady declines in concentration and performance — our brains can only handle so much before our productivity declines and our efforts become less worthwhile. A break can be as simple as getting up and walking outside for some fresh air, looking at the news on your computer, or taking a few bathroom breaks throughout the day.

9. Strive for improvement — not perfection.

Perfection is a mirage; it’s unattainable, and can impede progression. Continuous improvement, on the other hand, is very attainable and measurable. It feels more rewarding because it comes in steps and stages, and when workers can see their progress, it motivates them to climb further and further — like a virtuous cycle.

Conveying this idea to employees isn’t giving them a pass to be lazy and do sloppy, untimely work. Encourage them to mind their accuracy and effort, as well as the time they allocate to their tasks. Too much time spent on insignificant details produces nothing but diminishing returns.