Things have significantly changed in the modern workplace, and businesses no longer measure productivity just by numbers. With the rise of behavioral economics and psychology, it’s become widely accepted that people are motivated by different things and respond differently to situations, hence a manager’s approach should be tailored to the employee’s character in order to promote productivity. As increasing productivity in the 21-st century workplace requires thinking out of the box and outstanding leadership skills, we have prepared for you some strategies to make it all more approachable.
1. Observe your employees’ behaviour carefully
The first thing that great managers look out for is the level of motivation in the workplace, and how can that motivation be heightened. Colleagues with „toxic“ personalities and those who are always eager to quarrel, bad teamwork, lack of vision, poor organization and a lack of communication in the workplace hierarchy, are some of the things that demotivate workers profoundly. Pay attention to the working environment and it’s general atmosphere, get to know your employees and eliminate the factors that kill motivation, one by one.
2. Focus on accomplishments and meaning
The majority of the workforce today is made up of millennials, whose approach to jobs is significantly different from that of previous generations – most employees today look for meaning and a sense of purpose in their work, and so monetary compensation is no longer the primary source of motivation. Empower your employees, give them a chance to be creative, and be a role model yourself by nurturing a sense of pride for the work you’re all doing together. These are some simple ways to improve motivation, which consequently increases productivity. Also, point out the individual accomplishments of each employee, as well as accomplishments of the company, as it has been shown that workers feel a need to put in more effort once their contributions to the company and their own career have been recognized.
3. Organize the workplace to encourage positive feelings
It doesn’t have to feel like a spa, but long gone are the days when employers thought a loud, cluttered, uptight workplace is the way things should be. If your workers feel content and calm they will be more focused on their work. The design principles of zen interiors are known to bring out the best in people and they are are quite simple and easy to implement: lots of natural light (if available, make sure not to suffocate it, if not, use adequate workplace lighting that’s not too hard on the eyes), plants, light colours and most important of all, no clutter whatsoever. Clean out the office and get rid of all the things that are cluttering it, and if you don’t have a large storage room but need to keep most things, look for help from professionals, so that you can solve everything in the most organized way. Once you’ve cleared the space of clutter, you can put in some nice vegetation.
4. Encourage breaks and socialization
Of course, nobody is going to be chatting by the water dispenser for hours, but employees that get to know each other won’t have to go through the process once it’s time to work on a team project. Organize team building events and nurture a sense of collegiality amongst employees, where everyone is respectful of each other and feels they share a common goal within the company. Also, taking breaks is important in being productive, as the human brain functions in intervals of productivity and non-productivity and therefore needs to be periodically „reset“ and refreshed. Studies show that the best way to go about it is to work for 52 minutes, and then take a 17 minute break. Obviously, nobody is going to be too strict and on schedule with this, but it is a basic guideline to follow, as well as encouraging everybody to get up during their breaks and move around.
Better productivity is of utmost importance for any business, and luckily, times have changed and we have a much better understanding of how it works. Productivity science is constantly looking for new evidence and solutions, which is actually the result of a collective realization that we didn’t approach the workplace with a proper attitude thus far. Hopefully, with fresh ideas and smart, understanding workplace leaders who are willing to use simple strategies such as these, a new approach will be adopted, which will benefit both employees and companies.