Improving staff productivity is paramount to many tech businesses today, this article looks into a few ways to improve staff productivity using a few different techniques, apps and software.
By Rob Turner, Operations Manager at Fruitful Office
The latest report from the U.S. Beureau of Labour Statistics (BLS) reveals that workplace productivity in the United States is dwindling. In the nation's business sector in 2016, output fell to 1.8 (from 3.1 in 2015). Hours worked also fell over the same period.
Across the pond in the UK, productivity is growing very slowly, only recently surpassing to the pre-credit crunch peak reached in 2007. Yet this glacially slow growth is underpinned by growing disengagement in the workplace. Just 44% of workers in the UK private sector claim they experience job satisfaction, while a mere 29% of American millennials claim to feel engaged in their role.
Whether you blame politics, generational divides, the economy or education, there's no disputing that something needs to be done to boost employee engagement and maximise workplace productivity.
Could technology hold the answer? Or does the solution lie in a more personal approach? To help you address productivity issues in your workplace, we've compiled a selection of tools and approaches which could help your business turn things around. From helpful technology to an apple-a-day, keep reading to improve employee satisfaction and, in turn, bolster the success of your business.
1. Faster broadband
Are you sick of staring at rotating “loading” circles during your working day? Imagine how many minutes and even hours of your time are wasted waiting for web pages, documents and digital resources to download and upload. Now imagine how much more “on task” your team could remain without the distracting interruption of slow broadband.
If your workplace is blighted by agonisingly slow (or even slightly clunky) digital access, it may be time to upgrade to a faster broadband option. While this opportunity will not be available in every area, fast fibre optic broadband is now available across 90% of UK homes and businesses. Talk to your provider or your IT team to fix this productivity leak. For the best prices look at broadband comparison sites such as Uswitch, Broadband Compare UK or Money Saving Expert.
2. Productivity tools
Whether you choose a more personal-feeling “to do list-esque” tool like Microsoft's Wunderlist, get your team active on Slack or roll out a project management programme like Basecamp, productivity tools can make a big difference to how much your team gets done. From the feeling of achievement that comes with ticking a task off your list, to the time saved by avoiding inbox-scouring or by ensuring no task slips between the cracks, there's a plethora of options which could make your business more productive which are well worth exploring.
3. Regular naps
Some of the greatest and most productive minds in history have been ardent fans of napping,including Winston Churchill who once remarked: “Nature has not intended mankind to work from eight in the morning until midnight without that refreshment of blessed oblivion which, even if it only lasts twenty minutes, is sufficient to renew all the vital forces.”
In a move straight out of Silicon Valley, Google recently installed high tech sleep pods at its shiny new Kings Cross offices in London. And it's not just the search engine giant that's getting behind the concept of workplace shut-eye, Uber, Zappos, Capital One Labs, Ben & Jerry's and PriceWaterhouse Cooper have all embraced “nap culture” at their HQs.
4. Getting moving
Google hasn't just implemented restful extras at their new London offices, they've also installed a wide range of features to help their staff stay active, including running machines. Proven to have a hugely beneficial effect on concentration, mental health, cognitive skills, happiness and memory, exercise could be the key to unlocking your team's latent productivity.
Whether you provide subsidised gym memberships, arrange regular fitness classes, launch a running club or reduce the cost of bikes for your staff through the UK Cyclescheme, there are plenty of ways to boost your staff's fitness – and your business's performance – through exercise.
5. Boosting well-being
Exercise isn't the only part of your employees' well-being which could improve job satisfaction and productivity. In fact, the more you invest in your staff's comfort and happiness, the more engaged they are likely to feel in their role, and the more they're likely to want to “give back”.
Seemingly simple initiatives like free fruit deliveries can have a surprisingly positive impact in workplaces. In fact, Fruitful Office's “Great Fruit Experiment” recently revealed that free, fresh fruit sparked an 11% increase in productivity, with 79% of staff claiming to feel more valued.
Other great well-being initiatives could involve providing monthly massage or acupuncture for staff to help relieve stress. With 11.7 million working days lost to stress, anxiety and depression in the UK in 2015/16, investing in relaxing, self care-related “extras” for your team could help create a caring workplace where problems can be discussed and supported openly, minimising lost days and boosting staff happiness. Talk to your team about the things which would help them unwind, from free monthly cinema tickets to more flexible working hours.
Do you feel like your business is the most productive it could be? What do you think the key causes are? Have your say and share your insights with other readers below.