Regardless of your sector or industry, employee productivity is crucial for your company’s long-term progression, profitability and growth.
Millions of businesses have evolved to accommodate more flexible working patterns and remote working opportunities for their employees. However, that doesn’t change the fact that strong communication, and teamwork are necessary so companies can complete tasks on time, meet deadlines, maintain high standards of work and simultaneously save time. Productivity has always been a deciding factor in whether an employee is retained, progresses, or promoted, and on the flip side, whether they are demoted or made redundant.
Therefore, companies have to make sure that their staff are achieving their full potential. While it does matter that you are a diverse employer and that you offer staff multiple engagement activities and perks, any health insurance, discounted gym memberships and early Friday finishes are ultimately meaningless if employees can’t achieve their best throughout their working week.
What can affect the productivity of employees?
Productive and collaborative employees are vital to the success of any business, so regardless of your working patterns, you should make sure that any barriers preventing productivity are reduced or removed.
On the whole, employee productivity and output are up quarter-on-quarter, surpassing levels seen pre-Covid. However, numerous factors influence how productive an employee can be. Some of the most influential are listed below.
- Uncomfortable workspace – All employees need a comfortable and suitable workspace to carry out their day-to-day responsibilities. If the infrastructure is lacking and the employee is struggling to use it to their advantage, this can affect how quickly and effectively they can complete tasks.
- Poor attitudes – This is a twofold factor. A negative attitude from the employee is one thing but if their line manager(s) demonstrates a similar dismissive or reactionary approach, it can have the opposite intended effect and make employees less productive.
- Lack of motivation – As a result of poor workplace attitudes, employees can see a dip in their overall commitment and dedication to the role. Poorly motivated employees aren’t as productive and often do the bare minimum.
- Stress and health issues – An employee could have a poor diet and lifestyle and fail to do adequate exercise outside work, which can affect their efficiency. However, workplace stress and mental health issues can also present a plethora of different obstacles for the employee to overcome.
- Unsuitability for the role – Candidates are hired – often predominantly – for their experience and education. However, such considerations often don’t matter in results-driven performances, and as such, they might not make the right cultural fit. Statistically speaking, over 75% of businesses risk huge financial losses from bad hires, with a bad hire costing an average of £114,000 (GBP) in the UK alone.
- Micromanagement – Managers and team leaders need to trust their employees to balance their workload and fulfil tasks to the expected standard. If they feel that they’re being monitored too closely and constantly have to look over their shoulders, they might feel less inclined or unable to complete tasks to the required standard, and fail to meet deadlines.
- Poor communication – Remote working infrastructure provides plenty of work-life balance benefits, but communication should not take a backseat. Employers should regularly check in and provide help where necessary. If they don’t, employees could go hours or even days without knowing whether they’re on the right track.
- Feeling undervalued – Stemming from a lack of motivation, poor management and other factors like monetary compensation or low commission, employees simply could not feel like they belong. This can lead to an unproductive worker and one who may ultimately seek opportunities elsewhere.
- The wrong technology – Business tools are designed to improve accuracy and performance. However, a business might have misjudged what tools to use and whether they can help employees manage tasks appropriately and make the best use of their time or resources.
Speaking of tools and systems…
27 tools to increase employee productivity at work
One of the most impactful ways a company can boost productivity is to provide the most appropriate technology. With the right tools, employees can manage tasks and workloads much more easily while boosting their performance.
Every year there seems to be new software and applications designed to streamline operations and collaboration while cutting procrastination. But which productivity tools and apps would work best for your company overall?
To help you decide the most essential programmes for your business, we’ve listed the tools by their main functions.
Productivity often starts with seamless and effective project management. Software and tools like those listed below are designed to help organisations oversee, manage and track multiple projects simultaneously. If your company handles numerous projects which often overlap and are time-sensitive, then project management software is essential.
One of project management software’s most useful features is the visual enhancement additions you can use, such as Gantt charts, calendars, support systems and so on.
Also, most of these tools will have built-in aids such as team communication, scheduling, document management and time tracking tools, all configurable to help you boost productivity in the business.
Useful project management tools:
As we’ve explained above, communication is both a cause and effect of poor productivity. Communication is the most vital ingredient to a successful and efficient company. With helpful communication tools and software, you can easily and quickly relay company-wide messages and information to your team in real-time and securely and transparently.
Teams and managers can hugely improve how tasks and projects progress with effective and instant communication, whether through instant messaging, video conferencing, or phone calls. These tools can also help teams share files, exchange and discuss sensitive data, transfer information across systems and so on, to collectively ensure everything is running smoothly.
Useful team communication tools:
- Troop Messenger
Time is everything in business, and quite often, companies retrospectively need to re-assess how long they dedicate to projects. If a company looks to improve profit margins – as well as productivity – it will regularly need to examine whether employees are spending too much time on tasks and projects that deliver little return. This is where time-tracking tools can come in handy.
Time-tracking software can work wonders at improving efficiency across the organisation, giving you insights into where employees should be prioritising their time. It can also measure hours worked, payroll data and much more information.
Useful time-tracking tools:
- Hour Stack
- Toggl Track
CRM (Customer Relationship Management)
If utilised properly, customer relationship management software allows staff to maximise interactions with prospects, nurture them into leads and eventually customers to increase retention rates and sales.
CRM software allows you to categorise customers according to their demographics, expectations and numerous other variables. Additionally, many of these types of tools can integrate with third-party apps and tools to make it work for your business. Below are some highly recommended CRM solutions.
Useful CRM tools:
- Pipedrive CRM
- HubSpot CRM
- Salesforce CRM
- Zoho CRM
- Oracle CRM
There is no universally-accepted solution to improving team productivity and morale. Each company will need to decide how it plans to make staff more efficient, which begins by identifying the root cause of the issue(s).
In the digital and technological era, digital tools like the above are seen as assets to businesses of all shapes and sizes. This technology is designed to improve short- and long-term operations. However, finding success is only possible if employees are capable – and willing – to play along. It’s the company leaders and people of influence who are responsible for encouraging staff and delivering on promises.