When business is going well, you probably don’t give productivity much thought, but when things get slow, you pay careful attention to how people are working at their various jobs.
Regardless of whether your company is flourishing or floundering, the question you must ask yourself as a small business owner is what you can do to encourage productivity. When things are going well, answering this question will make good things better; and when things look uncertain, answering this question will prevent an awful situation from getting worse.
Here are some ideas to help you improve overall productivity levels in your business:
Don’t Over-schedule Your Employees
While you might be eager to complete more work by giving your employees extra hours and they might be happy to accept overtime pay, over-scheduling employees can cause high employee stress and fatigue. While occasional overtime scheduling will probably not exhaust employees, regular over-scheduling can cause future problems.
The type of problems you might face depending on the nature of your business. If you have a trucking business, over-scheduling your employees could cause driver fatigue because of insufficient sleep, too many trucking hours without enough breaks, or too much pressure to deliver freight on time. Besides the risk of serious injuries or fatalities and property damage, trucking accidents can lead to personal injury lawsuits.
Launch an Employee Wellness Program
Low productivity isn’t always because of lack of motivation. Well-intentioned employees interested in contributing to your company’s success may be unproductive because they just don’t feel healthy.
Starting an employee wellness program provides two benefits. First, it shows employees that you care about them. Second, employees who follow healthy habits work better.
Asana, a tech company, is an example of a company that offers its employees an excellent wellness program. Employees can retire to a company nap room, take yoga classes, get a free gym membership, or enjoy meals cooked by an in-house culinary team.
Hire the Right People
You might have disengaged employees despite your best efforts to encourage them to be more productive simply because they are doing work they find boring.
Don’t limit your criteria for hiring the right people to reviewing academic credentials and experience. You should also look for cultural fit. Zappos, the shoe company, includes another element to their hiring process—cultural fit. They only hire people who align with Zappos’ Family Core Values.
Improve Your Employees’ Skills
One overlooked reason employees don’t like their jobs is because they never learned how to do them properly. They may have had to figure it out for themselves, learned superficially from computer-based training modules, or followed the lead of a supervisor or fellow employee who didn’t know how to do the work.
A recent hire may take on work that they may not know how to do. In an office, for example, many people who work desk jobs may not have touch typing skills or be familiar with how to navigate a ubiquitous office software suite.
Employees who know what to do take pride in their work. They see it as craftsmanship.
Expecting people to work quickly and efficiently is unrealistic if they never learned how to do the work properly in the first place.
Productivity Makes All the Difference
Employee productivity makes all the difference to the success of your business. You can measure productivity in several ways. You could, for example, track costs or compare how people spend their time. What you’ll quickly notice is that there is a significant difference in profitability between a business with disengaged, unproductive employees and one with enthusiastic, productive employees.