Employee productivity is pivotal to any organization’s performance. As employee productivity takes center stage in a rapidly shifting professional landscape, determining the best ways to improve it becomes increasingly critical to every company’s growth and survival.
Building on your employees’ performance requires attention to both interpersonal and administrative details. Facets of your business’s daily operations such as scheduling, incentives, and workspace design play surprising roles in determining just how productive your team can be. On a personal level, issues with trust, cooperation, and emotional awareness can have a huge impact on productivity, as well as monitoring and improving the overall employee experience.
Creating and maintaining a positive employee experience is particularly important for improving employee productivity during periods of change, such as the current COVID-19 pandemic which has forced many companies to shift to fully remote operations with no time to plan or prepare. In today’s workforce, employee experience hinges on three driving factors: physical space, culture, and technology, all of which also play a crucial role in employee productivity.
Below, we’ve gathered 50 expert tips and strategies for improving employee productivity. Read on to discover 50 great ways to improve employee productivity through interpersonal communication, effective administrative strategies, and more.
Interpersonal Communication Tips to Improve Employee Productivity
1. Keep communication open and honest.
“Transparent communication helps in solving problems quickly. When issues are transparently highlighted, ideas for a solution are openly shared. Embracing this habit increases the chance of getting things done faster.” – Transparent Team Communication: Why and How to Embrace It, BlogIn; Twitter: @blogin_co
2. Take personal motivations into account.
“Our motivation for work is a huge factor on how we will perform in the workplace. A college student working in the daytime and going to school at night has a different motivation for working than that of a single mother having to feed two kids. Understanding your employees’ motivation will allow you to structure a support system that is both beneficial and motivating for each employee.” – Paul John Sardoma, 11 Things You Can Do To Increase Employee Productivity, Lifehack; Twitter: @lifehackorg
3. Get your team involved in the decision-making process.
“As mentioned before, your employees will appreciate the fact that you value their work and in return, they’ll be more productive. But, it’s even more so if you give your employees more responsibilities. For example, involving them in important decision making will greatly boost their morale and confidence. Not only that, but it will be quite beneficial to your business as well. The main reason is that your employees may offer a fresh perspective on things.” – Emma Miller, Actionable Tips for Increasing Employee Productivity in the Workplace, Founder’s Guide;
4. Leverage cross-training techniques.
“Cross-training is very easy to perform and doesn’t require costs. It is done by allowing your employees to exchange skills or teach each other. This type of training can make each of your employees more reliable. For example, when your financial staff is on a sick leave, another staff who has been cross-trained can temporarily replace their work. Thus, you won’t need to worry about late payments.” – Kanya, 6 Tips for Improving Employee Productivity in the Workplace, HashMicro; Twitter: @hashmicro
5. Encourage employees to communicate clearly.
“Do you ever feel like people completely missed the point of your email? Or do you ever read an email and wonder what the person was multitasking on as they wrote it? Vague emails circulate the average office every day. The resulting misunderstandings and necessary clarifications waste time and frustrate people.” – Barron Rosborough, 33 Freakishly Effective Ways To Be More Productive At Work, SnackNation; Twitter: @snacknation
6. Encourage cooperation between management and employees in setting sensible task priorities.
“Have your managers work with your staff to identify the most important items, set deadlines and check in via regular meetings. This can actually help reduce your employees’ anxiety — as they know exactly where they must focus their efforts — and when everything is due.” – Quick Tips #6 — Five Great Productivity Hacks for Remote Workers, Injoy Global, Inc.; Twitter: @injoyglobal
7. Help employees find balance between their lives and their work.
“Many of us are captive to our mobile devices, waiting for the next dopamine-inducing social post – or an emergency mail from our boss. We work at the pace of these machines – but it is still possible to put them down, even if it’s hard. Other than the famed Andon cord, where workers can stop the assembly line when they see a quality problem, those on the line cannot influence the pace of the machine. That is true for most of us today.
It is imperative that managers and HR professionals metaphorically govern the pace of the machine. This can take many forms and here are some suggestions.
- Don’t send email after hours
- If people have to respond to service alerts, build a rotation program
- Build a culture of trust where people can push back or share personal priorities
- Develop people so they can do more than one job
- Build automation to perform repetitive tasks
- Coach and trust people to try new things ” – Ross Smith, FRSA, Assembly Lines and Respect for Work-Life Balance, SHRM; Twitter: @SHRM
8. Enhance break time with games and stress-relieving activities.
“I know some say you’re not supposed to play games at work, but it can also keep employees fresh and motivated, while bringing them together and increase morale. Scientists have even found that playing video games can combat workplace stress and help peers develop friendships. Best of all? Your team can play games during their breaks so it won’t interfere with their work.” – John Rampton, 12 Unconventional Ways to Boost Employee Productivity, Entrepreneur; Twitter: @entrepreneur
9. Seek input from employees on their preferred working arrangement.
“While a top-down, employer-driven mobility plan is the first step, be sure to ask your employees their preferences via employee surveys and conversations with their managers. Personal circumstances may lead some employees to work remotely more or less frequently than your company guidelines would suggest.” – When everyone can work from home, what’s the office for?, PwC; Twitter: @PwC
10. Have management work directly with employees to implement daily relaxation practices.
“With studies revealing remote workers are more productive than in-office counterparts, adding relaxation techniques could potentially result in additional remote employee productivity increases. Relaxation is also critical for helping the brain’s problem-solving capability.” – Skye Rodgers, How Relaxation Can Improve Remote Employee Productivity, VirtualVocations
11. Give employees the authority to govern their own behavior to improve performance.
“One crucial point to remember is that it is not only your responsibility as the employer to drive productivity, it’s your employees as well. Speak to them. Be open and honest in regard to what you expect from them in terms of performance and productivity. Allow them to take ownership of a process or target so they truly feel as though they are contributing to the success of the business.” – Mick Cosgrove, Four tips to improve employee productivity, MyBusiness; Twitter: @mybusinessau
12. Allow employees to voice their concerns.
“To ensure employees are heard and not hurt, managers must have a two-way communication process with employees. The two-way communication process acts as a complete communication process. When employees are allowed to speak about their resentment, managers and peers will have a better understanding of an employee’s negative emotions from an employee’s perspective. They can work out something that works best for the employee.” – Krause Leia, How HR Can Help Managers Maintain Employee Productivity During COVID-19, eLearning Industry; Twitter: @elearnindustry
13. Hold onto company values even if work transitions to remote arrangements.
“Many companies have spent the past couple of years building a set of values that describe how much they care about their employees, and how it’s important for them to create great lives and experiences for their employees. Make sure to reinforce these values with employees. Also continue to model the right behaviors — and encourage employees to call out unethical conduct.” – Mary Baker, 9 Tips for Managing Remote Employees, Gartner; Twitter: @Gartner_inc
14. Implement daily check-ins between employees and management.
“With managers no longer getting daily face time with employees and employees not being able to chat around the proverbial water cooler, creating a daily check-in routine is an important way to set priorities and foster connections. A morning check-in via video chat, phone call or instant message can create a sense of normalcy. These check-ins can be one-on-one or held among small groups.” – Sean Ludwig, 6 Ways to Keep Your Team Productive While Working From Home, US Chamber of Commerce; Twitter: @USChamber
15. Make employee health and mental wellbeing a priority.
“Building a one-on-one rapport with your employees is crucial. Instead of always pushing them to do better, try to prioritize their wellbeing. They aren’t just workhorses, so don’t make them feel that way.” – Dragan Sutevski, 10 Proven Strategies to Boost Employee Morale & Productivity, Entrepreneurship in a Box; Twitter: @sutevskid
16. Provide your team with access to the tools they may need to better communicate with one another remotely.
“Apart from having a secured and trusted Wi-Fi network, it’s also essential to keep the communication going as it’s the key to working efficiently. This is exactly where technology plays a part, use apps like Slack, Teams, & Basecamp to communicate through instant messaging and audio/video calling. These apps allow you to share screens, send documents, draft notes and more.” – 5 Tips To Maintain Employee Engagement & Productivity With Remote Workers, Headsup Corporation; Twitter: @headsupcorp
17. Encourage employees to respect each other’s space and focus by reducing unnecessary noise.
“Whether you’re a remote worker trying to tune out noisy housemates or you’re in an office building surrounded by all matter of chatter, noisy machinery, and all other sorts of hubbub, background noise can be a serious distraction. While much of this noise is out of your control, there are some things you can do to manage its impact.
- Play motivating music through a pair of noise-cancelling headphones
- Close your office door to reduce the intensity of sound that enters your workstation
- Have a candid discussion with coworkers that are being consistently disruptive” – Dale Strickland, How to Increase Productivity in the Workplace, CurrentWare; Twitter: @CurrentWare
18. Choose the right people to enhance your team’s cohesion and morale.
“Personal interviews can be one way to identify the right candidate and hiring decisions should be based on identifying the right person for the job. This can be done by asking job candidates questions about their work accomplishments during the interview process. You should also ask to see copies of performance appraisals from former employers so you can see what their prior bosses have documented about their work history.” – Patricia Lotich, 8 Tips to Increase Employee Productivity, Thriving Small Business
19. Empower employees to eradicate clutter in their workspaces.
“Physical and digital clutter creates mental clutter. Open office spaces, which more businesses are adopting, are especially prone to clutter: loose paper, folders, boxes of tissue, phones, cords, and other odds and ends easily pile up. If you want a simple way to improve employee productivity, encourage employees to keep their workspace neat.” – Dannah Cahn, 5 Hacks to Minimize Distractions and Boost Employee Productivity, WalkMe; Twitter: @WalkMeInc
20. Emphasize the importance of emotional awareness with dedicated training.
“Employees who are trained on emotional intelligence are able to make informed decisions and live in harmony with colleagues. Their emotional awareness helps them develop healthy workplace relationships and control their reactions when dealing with difficult clients.” – Rilind Elezaj, 5 types of training to help boost employee productivity, Intuit QuickBooks;
21. Allow your team members to report on ‘busywork’ processes that could be improved.
“‘Busy work’ is the bane of many employees’ lives. This kind of work is defined as tasks which have hours spent on them when a quicker alternative is available which could save a lot of time and energy.” – Four Tips that Can Help Improve Your Staff’s Productivity, HR Cloud;
22. Build trust from the start of your employee’s experience with your company.
“Destroying then rebuilding trust allows you to look at what doesn’t work to create a trusting work environment, but don’t go there. Instead, start building trust from the beginning of your relationship with each new employee. Make sure that your culture as they learn to integrate into your organization during onboarding gives them an early sense that yours is a workplace they can trust.” – Susan M. Heathfield, How to Build Trust at Work, The Balance; Twitter: @thebalance
23. Instruct employees on improving their listening abilities when interacting with one another.
“When your coworkers come to you with questions and concerns, how well are you listening?
Here’s some food for thought: most employees don’t actually listen to what their colleagues have to say. Claiming to be a ‘good listener’ simply isn’t enough in a world where 30% of employees feel their opinions don’t matter.
Actively listening to your coworkers requires effort, plain and simple. As a support-based employee, each email, ticket or face-to-face conversation with your colleagues deserves your full attention. Understand that your time spent in the workplace is just as valuable as theirs is and better listening means solving their problems in a timely manner.” – Brent Barnhart, 8 critical steps to creating empathy in the workplace, atSpoke; Twitter: @atspoke
Administrative Tips to Improve Employee Productivity
24. Invest in appropriate office furniture.
“When employees are working in an office, they are bound to spend most of their time being seated in a chair staring at a computer screen. However, being seated all day can cause an employee to experience pains in their back, shoulder or neck. It could result in their productivity levels largely falling. In fact, ergonomics-related injuries tend to be long-term which creates an ongoing drain on worker’s medical costs and compensation. Musculoskeletal disorders such as sprains and muscle strains accounted for 32% of all illness and injury cases in 2014. It required people to take days off of work.” – Adam Robertson, 6 Top Tips to Improve the Productivity and Efficiency of Employees, CareerMetis.com; Twitter: @Careermetis
25. Plan for people’s strengths.
“A team member whose productivity lags behind the others isn’t necessarily lazy or incapable; there may be personal limitations at play that make them less qualified for this work. For example, if they’re having trouble closing sales, they may perform better if they step into a supportive role, drafting service agreements or facilitating active client relationships.” – Jayson DeMers, 17 Ways to Track, Measure, and Calculate Employee Productivity, EmailAnalytics; Twitter: @mailanalytics
26. Abandon micromanaging habits.
“Task delegation is productive in itself, but managers often cannot let go of tasks they’ve given to others – so they micromanage every detail, rendering task delegation pointless. Moreover, as much as 85% of employees feel demoralized by micromanagement – constant supervision makes them lose faith in their abilities, and they perform subpar.” – Marija Kojic, 8 fast ways to increase employee productivity in the workplace, Clockify; Twitter: @Clockify
27. You can’t fix what you don’t track.
“Before improving employee productivity, you have to understand the data first. Look for trends in reports, analyze data, the number of employees in a particular department, etc. Reporting will indicate what is working, as well as where gaps are that can be improved. Without this information, you are tackling a problem blindly.” – Todd Kunsman, 6 Employee Productivity Boosting Tips Your Company Needs, EveryoneSocial; Twitter: @EveryoneSocial
28. Keep meetings to a minimum.
“Time spent on meetings is one of the biggest obstacles to employee productivity. Yet we continue to schedule them, attend them and inevitably complain about them. Almost 47% of employees complained that the time spent on meetings were the number one time-waster during work hours, as reported by Atlassian.” – Barasha Medhi, 8 Ways To Increase Employee Productivity In The Workplace, Vantage Circle; Twitter: @VantageCircle
29. Encourage focus; discourage distraction.
“Doing more isn’t always better. While many workplaces encourage multitasking and view it as the standard of productivity, studies now show that simply isn’t the case. Employees aren’t truly engaged when trying to focus on multiple tasks at once.” – 6 Employee Productivity Tips to Increase Workplace Efficiency, BigThinkEdge; Twitter: @bigthinkedge
30. Instruct employees on how to safeguard their at-home work schedule.
“Discourage personal intrusions. If you’re a teacher or doctor, friends don’t just stop by the office to chat, hang-out or interrupt your work. But sometimes well-intended friends, family members and neighbors think working at home is different. Interruptions and drop-ins can cause you to lose your focus, procrastinate or get behind on a deadline.” – Bryan Robinson, 9 Tips To Be Productive When Working At Home During COVID-19, Forbes; Twitter: @brtherapist
31. Prioritize consistent training.
“Once screened, hired, and on the job, training is a crucial part of ensuring productivity. There are a lot of skills you can help your employees develop to improve their productivity — from small day-to-day skills like touch typing and spreadsheet manipulation, to bigger ones like developing the ideal time management style for their work.
A 2013 study in the International Journal of Science and Research found that training greatly benefits both employers and employees. Proper training also leads to greater efficiency and productivity.” – Dann Albright, Boost Employee Productivity with These Proven Strategies, Hubstaff Blog; Twitter: @Hubstaff
32. Incentivize great performance with performance-based rewards.
“Attractive incentives are essential to keep your employees motivated. Remember, rewarding your employees shows that you care about their efforts. Use tactics like merit-based compensation and salary hikes during employee performance evaluations to keep them motivated.” – Liam McIvor Martin, The Ultimate Guide To Employee Productivity (Tips + Tools), TimeDoctor; Twitter: @manageyourtime
33. Encourage employees to pace themselves with regular breaks.
“While this might seem counterintuitive to many, taking regular breaks enhances creativity and also improves concentration. According to research, taking short breaks while performing long and complicated tasks, can help you achieve your goals in a faster and more effective manner. So, take regular breaks as this will help you maintain optimum productive levels in an effective fashion.” – Office Productivity | 16 Awesome Office Productivity Tips, EDUCBA
34. Give your workforce space.
“More than 60 percent of employees work in an ‘always on’ culture where they feel the need to constantly access work emails, attend work calls or check mobile phones for work purposes. Workers report a decline in their physical health as a result of not having enough sleep and exercise.” – Liz Stevens, 2 Top Tips for Increasing Employee Productivity, Best Money Moves; Twitter: @bestmoneymoves
35. Prioritize praise and recognition for work well done.
“Internal barriers to productivity, such as lack of communication and a need for autonomy and praise, pose a significant challenge as they are mostly invisible, and as a result, more difficult to identify, measure, and ultimately treat.” – A Complete Guide to Employee Productivity, Applauz; Twitter: @Applauz_MTL
36. Upgrade your team’s equipment.
“Do your employees ever joke about the ‘ancient copier’ or their ‘old-school computer’ equipment? While you may think this is all in good fun, there may be an underlying message that it’s time for an upgrade or two. Ensure you are setting your team up for success by providing working hardware, software, and applications for them to use.” – Logan Derrick, Improving Employee Productivity: 10 Tips You’ll Wish You Knew Earlier, Toggl; Twitter: @togglplan
37. Help remote employees build better workspaces.
“Since work-from-home is becoming a normal routine for many, remote managers must encourage their employees to create a separate dedicated workstation in their homes for better productivity.
Some companies have reportedly offered huge stipends to their productive employees for creating appropriate home offices if they choose to work remotely. It could be any free area of their home, a rooftop, a store-room or anywhere they feel comfortable to work better.” – Adam Davidson, Tips to Boost up Employee Productivity during Work from Home, Codersera; Twitter: @codersera
38. Encourage actual productivity over mere efficiency.
“While both efficiency and productivity are important topics for any business, understanding the difference is a key to improving either. When it comes to getting more out of what you have through employee productivity initiatives, the focus should be on your people.” – Jordan Harris, Top 7 Tips to Increase Employee Productivity, Zenefits; Twitter: @zenefits
39. Track short-term accomplishments.
“Track-specific key performance indicators for both long-term and short-term goals. This will keep employees motivated by seeing small accomplishments along the way. It also paints a striking picture. It highlights the impact the little tasks are having at pushing towards the big goal.” – 10 Important Tips for Employee Productivity Tracking, Rhumbix; Twitter: @rhumbix
40. Ask employees to keep track of their own work hours.
“For time management, you need to ask employees to track how they use their work hours. By making them accountable for their time, you can reduce wasted time spent on activities like chatting, texting or using social media.” – Jill Harness, The Importance of Employee Productivity, Bizfluent
41. Make daily tasks simpler where possible.
“All employees have routine duties. While many workers don’t pay any attention to how much time they spend on these tasks, the truth of the matter is that they all add up. Some of these tasks are very repetitive and could be simplified either with the help of technology or process improvement. Spending a little bit of time considering which daily processes could be optimized may end up in saving a lot of opportunities for your workers.” – Tips for Enhancing Employee Productivity, MBA Tuts; Twitter: @MbaSneha
42. Encourage accountability among your team members.
“Your top-performing employees may feel that there is an unfair advantage if one employee consistently gets away with coming into the office 30 minutes late and leaves at the same time as everyone else. This can start to cause problems with employee morale, and you may find that your top performers begin to come in later and lose accountability as well.” – 5 Benefits of Time Clock Software For Entrepreneurs, Growing Forward
43. Give your workforce all of the tools they need to improve their performance.
“Never before has it been so critical that your employees have access to (and know how to use) modern tools. What’s more, those tools differ greatly from those that might have been used just a few months ago. Today, you need to focus on things like Trello, Slack, and Zoom, in addition to any other software or apps your business uses in-house. The right tools will help raise the bar for productivity and success.” – 10 Tips To Improve Employee Productivity and Performance Through Elearning, LMS Pulse; Twitter: @lmspulse
44. Track task completion.
“Instead of measuring the duration of time your employees spend on tasks, you can check the number of completed tasks. It doesn’t matter how much time employees spend on their work, until they get results for the company. By measuring the task completion of every employee, you can check their work efficiency.” – Mridul Sinha, Top 8 Tips To Accurately Measuring Employees Productivity, EmpMonitor; Twitter: @empmonitor
45. Adopt a holistic approach to management training.
“Don’t just train top management, but middle managers and supervisors, too. Often these overlooked managers, who are earlier in their careers, more desperately need the support training and development opportunities provide.” – Improve the Efficiency of Your Employees: 10 Proven Tips for Small Businesses, Freshbooks; Twitter: @freshbooks
46. Avoid overworking your team members.
“Regularly evaluate employee job requirements and ensure no one is overloaded. Burnout will cause stress and will not help productivity over time.” – Bridget Miller, Tips to Increase Employee Productivity, HR Daily Advisor; Twitter: @HRDailyAdvisor
47. Create a continuity plan for your company.
“Your employees’ productivity depends on how well you are prepared to handle and address crisis. This is why many organizations will remember 2020 as the year of business continuity planning. Without it, you and your entire workplace will not have a clear sense on how to return to the business as usual. Develop an overall workforce strategy and action plan that puts people first.” – 12 Ways to Ensure Employee Productivity in the Post-Pandemic World, Smarp;
48. Turn employees into brand advocates.
“With the popularity of networks like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook, your employees have an opportunity to be a voice for your company. Allow your employees to become brand advocates, which also gives them opportunities to monitor competition and industry. There is a huge opportunity to turn your employees into marketers and sellers.” – Todd Kunsman, 6 Employee Productivity Boosting Tips, The HR Observer; Twitter: @theHRobserver
49. Avoid frequent restructuring of internal processes.
“One of the biggest causes of stress and low productivity in the office is the lack of process.
If you notice that ‘rules’ are changing more than once every 6+ months, it’s time to take a step back. Reflect on whether or not these changes are helping or hurting your employees.” – Stephanie Watkins, 17 Tips to supercharge employee productivity, Cirkus; Twitter: @cirkusapp
50. Consider optimizing your office’s floor plan.
“For example, open plans have been all the rage for years. But, some studies have found that private offices make employees more productive and happy. At the same time, that may not click with your startup. There may not be enough money to give everyone their own space — it also may not align with your culture flexibility and free-thinking. In this case, you may want to invest in standing desks or allow your team to work wherever they want.” – Deanna Ritchie, 10 Office Design Tips That Will Boost Employee Productivity, Calendar.com; Twitter: @calendar
As can be seen by the nature of many of the tips covered above, employee productivity is a product of holistic business practices and individual wellness. Putting your people first can prove to be the most effective strategy in generating lasting increases in productivity among your team members.