How To Increase Employee Productivity

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Office ProductivityWhether you work in a corporate environment with thousands of employees or you are the CEO of a small startup, all managers have the job of keeping their employees happy and raising their productivity level. How can managers fulfil this part of their job?

When employees are happy at work and morale is high, the company benefits from a more productive, better motivated workforce. Studies have shown than when people are happy in their jobs, they tend to be better at collaborating to achieve common goals and more likely to be innovative. What can you do to promote happiness and increase productivity at the office? Here are a few ways you can start to see results.

Use frequent small rewards

Employees like to be acknowledged for a great job or for the end of a successful project. And studies have shown that the frequency of rewards is more important than the size of any single reward. This is good news because it means that you don’t have to break your budget to let your employees know that you appreciate them.

Additionally, people tend to value new life experiences. Plan something unexpected, such as a cooking class or wine tasting for your team, or reward an employee with a weekend getaway to a place they haven’t been. Experience based rewards will be appreciated and remembered longer than any one-time monetary bonus.

Shake things up

Our brains are wired to adapt to routines, which means that employees can become bored and complacent if they don’t have variety and challenge in the workplace. Survey employees about their interests within the company and let them explore new skills and try new things.

Do something unexpectedly positive for your team, such as taking everyone out to lunch occasionally or hosting a movie or pub night. People adjust to anything that becomes routine, but they automatically pay closer attention to something surprising.

Create a comfortable workplace environment

If you have control over the design of your office space, work with an office design professional to choose ergonomic furniture and an arrangement that contributes to your worker’s productivity.

Air conditioning can also improve workplace productivity. A hot working environment makes people feel sluggish and drowsy, and fluctuating temperatures can decrease concentration. Keeping the temperature between 20° and 21°C is optimum for keeping employees happy and alert.

You might also incorporate music into some areas of the office, especially the break room or cafeteria. Music is a good way to subconsciously energize and lift your employees’ moods. And studies show that classical music helps people relax and can boost their concentration.

Acknowledge achievements

Managers know that focusing on the negative and always looking at what’s broken is bad for morale. But when things are stressful it can be tough to keep a positive emphasis. Take a short moment at team meetings to acknowledge what is going right and to express your gratitude for the hard work of your team.

Ask team members to share their own achievements and recognize the efforts of exceptional contributions from others. A little acknowledgement can go a long way towards a happier, more productive team environment.

Working to boost morale and increase employee productivity is an on-going challenge. There is no way to guarantee a problem free workplace, and every company sometimes has bad news they must pass along to employees.

But in general if you offer your employees a positive, comfortable work environment and work that challenges their skills and rewards their hard work, you’ll have a team that will want to work hard and make you look good.

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Running An SME: Advice, Hints, and Tips

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Small Business AdviceSmall businesses account for most of the revenue and jobs in today’s UK economy. In 2014, just over 99 per cent of private sector businesses were classified as small firms. Owning and running a business is a dream come true for millions, but it comes with a number of challenges.

Here we’ve put together some helpful advice to help your SME thrive.

Building a great team

When you’re just starting out, the temptation is to cut costs and keep control by doing everything yourself. But sooner or later you’ll have to start building a team your trust if you want your business to grow.

In today’s business environment a team doesn’t have to mean employees who work only for you at a designated office space. With some trial and error, you can build a varying mix of people in any combination that works for you, including:

  • Full time, traditional employees
  • Part time employees who report to your office or work remotely
  • Freelancers and contractors that you trust to outsource to when your workload gets too heavy
  • Outside experts such as accountants and IT professionals you can call as needed

The key is to be a good communicator and set clear expectations. You’ll also want to develop good contracts and legal documentation for working with outside people.

Managing time and projects

Learning to optimize your time use is one of the most valuable skills you can develop. In order to improve a thing it must be measured, so the first step to better time management is to track how you currently spend your day. You can download a free app like timeEdition or just take notes in a calendar or spread sheet. If you have employees, ask them to do this exercise too.

After a week or two you’ll have a block of data that can help you determine what tasks are being done efficiently and where you are getting bogged down. For tasks you find frustrating or that take too much of your valuable time, explore how you can move them off your plate. Maybe you can delegate an activity to an employee so you can focus in another area, or maybe you need to outsource a particularly troublesome task so you never have to think about it again.
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Developing Small Business Leadership Skills

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Developing Small Business Leadership Skills

Business LeadershipThe leader of a small business must be prepared to wear many hats, even after the business grows. Small business management is a demanding pursuit that requires outstanding management skills in every aspect of the enterprise. From personnel management to marketing to bookkeeping to logistics and strategising, the small business manager must have his or her finger on the pulse of every element of the business at all times.

Time is the most precious of commodities for small business leaders. This puts tremendous pressure on the successful small business owner to become an excellent time manager. Not only must the leader manage their own schedule but he or she will quickly learn how to manage the time of key workers. Small business leaders never forget that time is money.

The small business leader’s time management skills can determine the growth and fate of the enterprise. When good time management skills are missing, running a small business can be an overwhelming endeavour. On the other hand, small business leaders with strong time management skills give employees and customers confidence that the organisation is viable and a good place with which to do business.
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Productivity and Air Conditioning: The Facts

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How Temperature Impacts Productivity

Office TemperatureScience and researchers agree that a temperature-controlled workplace is a happier, more productive environment than a workplace that is stuffy and overheated.

In fact, the statistics regarding workplace efficiency and heating and cooling can best be described as staggering. To put a definitive, quantitative figure on the cost of working in closed workspaces that are improperly cooled, the Office of National Statistics reports that UK employers suffer no less than £19.3 million in in lost productivity every summer by workers performing in workplaces that are unsuitably cooled.

In fairness, it costs money to cool the workplace. But, with today’s refrigeration equipment and maintenance capabilities, the balance tips toward installing new equipment and maintaining it properly than suffering yet one more unproductive Summer. Outdated HVAC systems not only slow productivity, but they contribute to the company’s sick days and time lost. With today’s equipment and skilled technicians, this lost time and lost productivity can be easily rectified.
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How to Organise Your Shop Interior

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Shop DesignThe Secret to Increasing Sales

When it comes to keeping customers happy and increasing sales, the environment in which your shoppers find themselves is of utmost importance. If customers feel comfortable in a shop, not only are they likely to spend more time there browsing and increasing the chance of a sale, but they are also going to feel more relaxed – and therefore happier to part with their money. However there is more to shop design than putting together a coordinated interior, and the psychology of the shopper’s journey and the display of goods should be taken into careful consideration when planning a shop layout.

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What is the Best Temperature for a Good Night’s Sleep?

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To stay healthy, productive, and enjoy the benefits of a good lifestyle, we all need our sleep. In today’s pattern of constant distractions in the form of mobile communications, social media, events and remote working; getting a good night’s sleep can be challenging.

Sleeping CatWhile a flawless night’s sleep can often be difficult to achieve, one thing is certain: when we don’t sleep properly, we don’t function properly.

Whether you’re worrying about an important meeting or an exam, you need to give your body the best possible chance of getting in a night’s rest. In both summer and winter it can be challenging to achieve the right temperature in your bedroom, and rising energy costs have placed further limitations on many people.

The Right Room Temperature

If you want to learn how to sleep better, go to the professionals. The American health site, WebMd, has a fascinating article about improving your sleep habit. It starts by addressing a mistake that most of us make: not setting the room temperature to body’s optimum comfort level.

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Mediation: An Effective Alternative To Court

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Mediation ServicesMediators are persons who intercede in conflicts and negotiate an alternative to litigation. With the rising cost of litigation, mediation has become a popular way to resolve conflicts in the last decade.

Mediators participate in business, civil and divorce disputes. The details of these settlements can vary greatly but the overall mediation process is similar in all three endeavours.

Mediation is based upon both parties executing a binding agreement to avoid court by allowing an independent third party to resolve existing differences. Each side of the dispute must provide the mediator with a written summary of the core issues and a summary of where the negotiations stand to date.

Mediation saves time, money, effort and valuable resources. Many times mediation becomes necessary because the legal representatives of the parties are too vested in their positions, which become entrenched in the process. The independent third party can offer a fresh perspective on the negotiations.
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