The UK’s productivity growth fell this year to a new record low across both the 21st and the 20th century, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Productivity provides the foundations for economic growth, good jobs and higher wages, but the UK is falling seriously short. Ireland can boast to producing the world’s most productive workers, followed by Luxembourg and Norway. Meanwhile the UK is at 15th place for productivity; but if the UK was to raise its productivity by just one percent each year, then within 10 years it would add £240bn to its economy.
Improving employee productivity
The answer to the productivity conundrum is not simply for employees to work harder or longer hours. Businesses need to get the right kind of habits and behaviours ingrained into their business DNA. They need to look at how they lead, develop and engage staff if they want to raise performance and productivity. Although technology has transformed the modern business world, the success of a business still very much depends on the attitude of its employees.
Here are 5 tips on how businesses can create a positive and productive workplace.
1. Create a happy and supported workforce
Even if your team appears motivated and ambitious, unhappiness and poor morale across the workforce could cause serious problems for your business. An important task for any employer is to ensure that their team is working to the best of their ability. To achieve this, employers and managers need to recognise and support unhappy employees.
Introducing and encouraging take-up of employee assistance programmes (EAPs) can play an important role in boosting staff morale. EAPs help employees to manage everything from work-life stressors to legal concerns. The confidential service is free to the employee and can help to take a huge weight of their shoulders. If your employees are happy and feel satisfied in their jobs, it makes the working environment much more enjoyable, but it also boosts staff performance and productivity.
2. Encourage and reward employees
For employees to maintain a positive attitude at work, they need to feel motivated, encouraged and rewarded. Whether you are offering constructive criticism, or praising your team for good work, ongoing positive reinforcement encourages employees and motivates them to grow professionally. An effective way to help you get the most out of your employees is by offering them incentives as a motivational tool. This will help to increase the overall efficiency and productivity of the workplace, but also create a healthy competitive environment.
3. Introduce good health and safety practices
The Health and Safety Work Act was passed in 1974 and this introduced the duties employers must follow concerning the health, safety and well-being of their employees. All businesses have an obligation to maintain a healthy and safe working environment for their workers. Employers also have an obligation to ensure and improve safety awareness in the workplace. When employees feel safe and comfortable at work, it in turn creates a more secure environment which is a bonus for morale. When your staff feel happy and safe, it encourages them to be more productive and creative, improving their performance and the overall performance of the business.
4. Create an agile, flexible workforce
Research by the London School of Economics (LSE) has found that over two-thirds of employees work much smarter and are more focused on their work when able to work flexibly. In a study on flexible working, covering 8,000 organisations across 10 countries, 61% of respondents revealed that they saw an increase in their company’s profits, while 83% saw a significant boost to productivity. When employees have the opportunity to work more flexibly, it enables them to find a work pattern that not only helps them achieve a better work-life balance, but also means they can work in a way that is most effective for them to achieve higher productivity..
5. Reduce Distractions
Distraction is the enemy of productivity. In a busy workplace however, distractions can almost be impossible to avoid. From social media alerts and a constant stream of emails to colleague interruptions, it can be hard to stay focused. Many people may try to manage the distractions by multitasking, but that is often counterproductive, as it wastes time and can lower the quality of work. Try to keep employees engaged and focused while still giving them breathing space. Encouraging staff to take regular breaks is a good starting point. By creating a positive, healthy and motivated working environment, businesses will in turn, create a focused, productive and competitive organisation.
For further HR support and advice call us on 0844 324 5840 or contact us online to find out how we can help your business.