5 Scientifically Proven Methods to Increase Productivity at Work
We have all heard of the old aphorism “time is money”, which first appeared in an essay written by Benjamin Franklin in 1748. Although he came up with this iconic quote over 270 years ago, it still holds true today. We attempt to make the most of our time, because we know it will cost us if we don’t. Of course, this statement is particularly true in a business context. Every company wants to work as productively as possible by using the available resources effectively to achieve the desired results fast.
If you are looking for ways to improve productivity in your company, continue reading to find out what workplace productivity really means, how it can be calculated (and why it should be) and what measures can be utilised to drastically improve the level of productivity in your business, no matter the size.
What is Labor Productivity?
Labor productivity is an economic figure that expresses the average work performance of employees in a certain period of time. More precisely, it shows the relationship between the work input and the outcome. Work productivity can be calculated and is commonly used in controlling as well as in personnel and production planning.
How to Calculate Labor Productivity
The following equation can be used to calculate productivity:
Labor productivity = output / input.
Different values can be defined as input: the number of completed orders, the number of employees, working hours, the production quantity or the sales revenue in monetary value. What matters here is that the work results are measurable. Output, on the other hand, can be figures such as added value or sales volume.
For monitoring purposes and continuous improvement of labor productivity, you should conduct this calculation at regular intervals, for example monthly or biannually.
Practical Example for Calculating Productivity
An electric car manufacturer with 10.000 employees produced 100.000 cars last year. Thus, the labor productivity is calculated as follows:
Labor productivity = unit quantity (output) / number of employees (input) = 100.000 cars / 10.000 employees = 10 cars per employee.
Why You Should Calculate the Productivity Level of Your Company
Like almost every other key figure, labor productivity is particularly interesting for comparing your business to others. If your productivity is significantly lower than that of your competitors, this could be a sign that you need to implement changes within your company. However, you should only compare yourself with businesses that are structured or set up in a similar way to yours, otherwise, the result of comparing productivity levels will meaningless.
However, more important than benchmarking is determining whether the labor productivity in your company is developing positively or negatively. By regularly calculating it, you can assess how certain measures affect your business, for example, whether investments in automating processes or more flexible working hours increase the productivity of your employees.
Ways to Increase Workforce Productivity
If you have calculated the labor productivity in your company and come to the conclusion that there is room for improvement, you can develop suitable measures to increase efficiency. To help you to get the most out of your employees and ensure that their productivity is kept to a maximum, I have compiled a list of five scientifically proven ways that will help you do just that.
Remember, heightened productivity is achieved by consistently utilising improvement measures over a long period of time.
- Provide Incentives
Higher productivity of employees can be achieved by creating material and psychological incentives for them. Providing lunch at work is a good example of a productivity-boosting measure, as it saves employees countless hours that would normally be spent looking for suitable lunch options while providing nutrients needed for growth, energy and keeping the immune system healthy at the same time.
According to a recent study, free food at work increases the job satisfaction by 67%.
Our online canteen Bella&Bona provides office workers with a variety of healthy and nutritional dishes to choose from, including vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options. We cook every meal ourselves and deliver it directly to the office. This saves employees time and effort and ensures that they have a convenient lunch experience every day. If you are interested in offering our service as a productivity-boosting benefit, visit the Bella&Bona website for more information or contact us here.
Food benefits have many positive impacts on both the employee as well as the company. Like any other benefit, providing food at work makes staff members feel more appreciative of their employer. However, food benefits also have a direct impact on the physical wellbeing and performance of employees, including fewer sick days and higher productivity. We at Bella&Bona know that what we eat is central to our health. Since we value the health of our customers immensely, our daily lunches are always prepared with high quality, natural ingredients that are filled with nutrients and fresh greens. We are not the only company providing this type of service by the way, here are some alternatives:
2. Offer Flexible Working Hours
Workers want maximum flexibility.
According to Gallup, almost half of the people looking for a new occupation think that flexibility is the most important factor when it comes to job searching.
Providing a flexible work environment does not just make employees happy, it has also been proven to increase productivity. A study conducted in a Fortune 500 company revealed that workers who were placed on a flexibility program were happier at work and less prone to burnout and psychological stress than their coworkers who were not part of the program. They also showed lower absenteeism, worked longer hours and attained better results.
Workplace flexibility includes:
- compressed workweeks such as working 40 hours over four days instead of five
- remote work opportunities known as work-from-anywhere arrangements
- allowing employees to work hours that differ from the normal company start and stop time.
3. Reduce Smartphone Distractions
Social media and email alerts can be a huge productivity killer, as it takes people over a minute (64 seconds, to be exact) to recover from being interrupted by a notification. However, having a no-phone policy is not practical and will most likely not be followed by employees. Instead, try to encourage workers to turn off their personal phones but take regular breaks during which they are free to check their mobiles. This will ensure that the time spent at their desk is more productive.
Images like the one above can be put up around the office to remind employees why they should stay off their phones.
4. Set SMART Goals
Helping employees set and reach goals is a critical part of every manager’s job. Employees want to see how their work contributes to larger corporate objectives and setting the right targets makes this connection explicit for them. When done correctly, setting realistic goals can help improve employee engagement which in turn elevates their performance and benefits the company as a whole, according to recent McKinsey research. Coming up with SMART goals has been proven to boost productivity in many businesses. Here is a quick reminder of what they entail:
Specific: The goal is direct, detailed and meaningful.
Measurable: The goal is quantifiable to track progress and success.
Attainable: You have the resources to attain said goal; it’s realistic.
Relevant: The goal aligns with your company’s mission.
Time-Based: You set a realistic deadline for all tasks.
5. Automate Processes
Particularly for small companies, investing in industry-specific technologies can dramatically improve productivity levels. For instance, smart inventory control systems keep inventory levels low and reduce stock-holding costs. By using effective software or automating processes you relieve your employees, who can thereby concentrate on important manual tasks.
Different businesses require different types of technology, so it is worth to keep track of developments in your industry. Networking through trade shows or online seminars can be beneficial, as software suppliers often make their products available to attendees. You can also research what systems and platforms your competitors are using to narrow your search for industry-specific solutions.
Written by Charline Will