wikiHow to Increase Workplace Productivity

Three Parts:Improving Your Own ProductivityMotivating Your EmployeesImproving the Physical Workspace

Even dedicated, hard-working employees may have trouble concentrating or meeting deadlines from time to time. If this happens, there are measures you can take to improve both your own productivity and that of your employees. By making simple changes in your workplace and your employees' habits, you and your team can impact your company's bottom line in a major way.

Part 1
Improving Your Own Productivity

  1. Image titled Be a Secret Agent Step 9
    Work more efficiently. One of the easiest ways to increase your productivity is by changing the way you work. By streamlining your workload and focusing on one task at a time, you'll increase your efficiency and, as a result, your productivity at work.
    • Make short and long-term to-do lists. It will help you stay focused and keep on top of the projects you need to complete for that day, week, and month.[1]
    • Avoid multitasking. Instead, focus on one task at a time and avoid jumping from one project to another.[2] Multitasking has in fact been proven to reduce, not improve, productivity.
    • Devote your attention to the tasks that need to be completed first. Keep projects with later dates on the back burner, but make incremental progress on tasks that have approaching deadlines.
  2. Image titled Become a Software Engineer Step 9
    Reduce or eliminate distractions at work. There are many things that can get in the way of a productive workday. Chatty coworkers, distracting activities, and looming concerns about things you need to do after work can all affect your ability to concentrate. By making small changes in how you work, you can block out these distractions and get down to business every day.
    • Many employees find that it's easier to get work done if you get to work early. Fewer coworkers often means fewer distractions at work.[3]
    • Try turning off the sound on your computer and phone so you don't get alerts.[4] You should also turn your cellphone off while you're working so you're not tempted to check for texts, missed calls, or social media notifications.
    • Give yourself a 5 to 10 minute break every hour or so to check your email and indulge in the distractions you've been otherwise putting off.[5]
    • Try stretching and walking around to reduce physical stress from sitting.
  3. Image titled Be a Tough Guy Step 10
    Eat healthy snacks throughout the day. You may have a hard time focusing on your work if you're feeling hungry or suffering from low blood-sugar levels. Snacking during the day can help you feel better and concentrate more easily, but you should choose healthy snacks to avoid crashing later in the day.[6]
    • High-fiber foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and beans can all help you power through a long work day with increased concentration and motivation.
    • Fruits and vegetables with high levels of antioxidants can help boost concentration. Try snacking on berries, tomatoes, cauliflower, cabbage, and broccoli.
    • Bananas, sunflower seeds, and coffee (in moderation) can all help improve concentration and motivation due to their ability to increase your body's levels of dopamine.
    • Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids may help improve concentration. Try eating salmon, trout, mackerel, or sardines for lunch, and snack on walnuts or flax seeds throughout the day.
  4. Image titled Eat Like a Body Builder Step 11
    Stay hydrated throughout the day. It's important to stay hydrated every day, but you may not know that dehydration can affect workplace performance. Even mild dehydration, which can set in after just 40 minutes of sedentary office work, can cause difficulty in concentration and performing mental tasks.[7]
    • Aim to drink six to eight 8-ounce glasses of non-alcoholic fluid each day to stay properly hydrated.
    • You can gauge your level of dehydration by assessing the color of your urine. Darker urine means you need more water.[8]
    • Keep a bottle of water at your desk throughout the day so you can always have water on hand when you need it.

Part 2
Motivating Your Employees

  1. Image titled Become a Software Engineer Step 6
    Show an interest in your employees' wellbeing. When employees feel like their managers care, they're often more willing to work harder and share responsibility in meeting the company's goals. An easy way to make employees feel cared for is to be kind to your employees. Make sure your employees' needs are being met and let them know that their efforts have not gone unnoticed.[9]
    • Listen to your employees when they have grievances or complaints. Being heard and seeing positive changes can make workers feel more motivated to help the company.
    • Show an interest in your employees' work-life balance. Don't ask intrusive questions, but be understanding when employees need time off for doctors' appointments, family events, and other personal matters.
    • Treat your employees the way you would want to be treated. Be kind without being weak and always offer guidance and support.
  2. Image titled Convince Your Boss to Let You Work from Home Step 4Bullet1
    Set goals for and measure employee productivity. If you want to keep your employees motivated, you'll need to know what level they're currently working at and what level they need to be at. You can do this by setting realistic, obtainable goals and offering support along the way.[10]
    • Ask employees how productive and efficient they see themselves, and offer to let them have input into how productivity is assessed.
    • Factor in considerations like how much of a job is repetitive versus original/creative work.
    • Include (but don't solely rely on) objective factors like the number of sales calls made, reports filed, or functions coded. Balance this with subjective factors like management ratings and employee satisfaction.
    • Remember that employees are still part of a team. If one employee isn't performing up to par, look at how his or her coworkers are managing their end of the work to ensure that that employee isn't left hanging with extra projects.
  3. Image titled Prepare for a Job Interview Step 7
    Implement positive reinforcement for good work. Good work should not go unrecognized. Every employee who meets his or her productivity goals should be rewarded in some way, as your company would not be able to function properly without those employees.[11]
    • Thank employees for their hard work and let them know that you value and appreciate their efforts.
    • Personal incentives can do wonders to motivate employees.[12]
    • Consider offering small bonuses/commissions to highly-productive employees.
    • Throw a pizza party or sundae buffet when employees meet their goals for the month.
  4. Image titled Think Like a Graphic Designer Step 6
    Give your employees some down time. Hard-working employees need some down time to maintain productivity. Working constantly without interruption is draining and may lead to performance problems down the line. You can avoid this problem by allowing your employees to balance work time and down time.[13]
    • Allow for short breaks throughout the day, whether that means water cooler talk, a coffee break, or a short break to step outside for some fresh air. Breaks help improve productivity and boost morale.
    • Make sure your employees have vacation options. A short vacation can do wonders for an employee's mindset and motivation.
    • Reducing internet restrictions on social media and other websites can give your employees a much-needed break during the day. However, some managers feel that social media is too big of a distraction in the workplace and should be banned.

Part 3
Improving the Physical Workspace

  1. Image titled Get a Job Fast Step 10
    Maintain a comfortable temperature. The physical environment of your workplace can make a huge difference in how your employees work. Some studies have shown that a workplace that's too warm or too cool can make it more difficult to concentrate for prolonged periods of time.[14]
    • Keep the office between 68 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit (20 to 25 degrees Celsius). This is often seen as the ideal temperature range to keep workers focused and comfortable.
  2. Image titled Convince Your Boss to Let You Work from Home Step 1
    Increase the amount of natural light in your workplace. Depending on your office location and setup, you may be forced to rely on artificial lighting. However, if your office has windows, you may want to keep the curtains/blinds open to allow more sunlight inside. This helps employees feel more alert and rejuvenated, which can improve the overall productivity of your workplace.[15]
  3. Image titled Convince Your Boss to Let You Work from Home Step 2
    Be mindful of noise in the workplace. Some noise is often unavoidable in the workplace, no matter what field you work in. Too much noise can be a distraction, though, so it's important to find ways to reduce noise as much as possible.[16]
    • Try to minimize noisy distractions by putting loud equipment in another room (if at all possible).
    • Some repetitive tasks are easier to concentrate on when employees have the option of listening to music. Just make sure that employees use headphones to avoid disrupting others.
    • Offer your employees a quiet place to work when they need to focus and reduce environmental noise.
  4. Image titled Resign Gracefully Step 1
    Make your workplace look more comfortable. The physical appearance of your workplace can send psychological cues to your employees. A comfortable yet stimulating workplace can make it easier to get work done, while other types of environmental cues may actually hinder productivity.[17]
    • Choose a color scheme for the office that's more conducive to worker productivity. Yellow is often considered a stimulating yet comfortable color, red is considered arousing/aggressive, and white is considered open and sterile.
    • Give your employees someplace to congregate, like a water cooler or a break room.
    • Cubicles may be a fixture of many offices, but studies have shown that they're actually damaging to employee productivity.[18]
    • Try to give your workers a choice in their type of work environment, if you have the space and the means to do so. If not, opt for an open office to facilitate better communication and collaboration.

Sources and Citations

Show more... (15)

Article Info

Categories: Office Skills