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  • Monday, August, 2022| Today's Market | Current Time: 07:09:05
  • The rapid advance of the home office and remote working trends seems almost unstoppable now. Indeed, such trends show no signs of reversing. The number of people electing to work at home and leave the office behind is only growing by the day. There are many reasons for this, but perhaps foremost among them is that communication technology has advanced to such a point so as to make highly efficient home working possible. There is also the fact that the Covid-19 pandemic has made people a little more wary of packed workplace environments, although this trend was a thing before the coronavirus came along.

    The Benefits of Office Productivity

    The benefits of home working include flexibility, comfort, and less of a sense of being chained to a particular place during the hours of work. At any rate, these are the home working benefits often touted as the case is made for home working over office working. However, the common workplace still has one thing going for it – it is easier to be productive. Indeed, home working actually takes quite a lot of discipline (many have reported a long adjustment period to home working) in order to be as productive as you would at an office desk surrounded by others who are also working. It might well be pleasant to be surrounded by the items in your home instead of all the photocopiers, safety signage, “not drinking water” signs, and rows of computers which make up a typical office, but it’s also easier to get distracted when you’re at home.

    At any rate, it should be the great advantage of office working – keeping your working hours to a set time window and being productive within that window, allowing you to relax afterwards. With home working, it is often too easy for the time spent working to just expand and bleed into other times of the day when you should have firmly put work behind you. Sometimes though, the office doesn’t quite work like that and distraction, boredom, excessive breaks, and a million different forms of procrastination can kill workplace productivity. And if the traditional office space is going to survive into the era of home working, it is wise to know what steps can be taken to boost workplace productivity.

    What Encourages Workplace Productivity?

    We have already mentioned that workplace productivity arises from a sense that you are in a distinct place solely for the purposes of work, that you are there for a defined period of time, and that it is therefore wise to get the work done within that time. Accordingly, when addressing any problems in workplace productivity, this model should be deferred to. In other words, these are the natural strengths of the office place – for productivity – that you should always aim to encourage.

    Before going on to some specific strategies that can aid with increasing workplace productivity, it is worth also pointing out that productivity will not exist if employees do not feel confident in their future at the company. As a business manager, you should always leave open paths to promotion for hard working employees, as well as a certain degree of job security. If these two things are not in place, then any other efforts to boost workplace productivity will probably be in vain. To put it another way, employees need to feel like they are working towards something (which also underscores the value of creating some kind of common goal or system of workplace values) and not like they are simply marking time or working towards nothing except the next pay cheque.

    How to Boost Workplace Productivity

    So, let’s get down to the practicalities of workplace productivity now that we have adequately outlined the values and goals which guide any program to boost productivity.

    There are some innovative new products – as well as some thoroughly time-tested ones – that can be a massive aid in boosting workplace productivity. But perhaps more important are the techniques and methods that you can instil as part of your workplace culture. Here follows then some techniques and strategies for boosting productivity:

    Track Time for Tasks

    As already mentioned, one of the natural benefits of an office environment for productivity is that the day’s work is a neatly compartmentalised into a time window, and so employees work that bit harder to complete their tasks in that time. A great strategy is to take this advantage a step further and actually time track the tasks being undertaken. There are several metrics that can be applied, and there is even software you can make use of which tracks the productivity of employees.

    You should make use of all these and a certain threshold of productivity, defined as a certain amount of work or tasks completed each day or over the course of some other time frame. By tracking the completion of tasks and not just expecting “work to be done” between nine and five, you are almost certain to see a marked increase in general productivity. This strategy also allows you to make personnel adjustments and identify the employees who might require more training or guidance. 

    Stress the Importance of Breaks

    Breaks are vitally important for productivity, and you should do what you can to encourage them in your place of work. Of course, a certain number of breaks over a number of hours worked is required by law anyway but going a bit further than this is much advised. You should not only encourage a certain degree of relaxation during break times by urging employees to make use of them, but you should also do what you can to make breaktime as pleasant as possible. This means installing good canteen and breakroom facilities (and good food) so that employees can get the maximum productivity-boosting relaxation out of every breaktime. By encouraging sets of employees to go for breaks at the same time, you can also improve the social cohesion among your workforce, which is also a bonus for productivity.

    Avoid Wasting Time

    In the context of office management, what this means is avoiding time wasting employee activity or unproductive meetings. Is that Tuesday morning meeting to go over managing office supplies really necessary? Or could the issue perhaps be more easily handled with a mass e-mail sent out to all employees. Is the “team meeting” at the beginning of each shift to go over project goals really something that needs to be done when everybody is already hard at work on the project and clear about what they are hoping to achieve? As mentioned, office environments have the advantage of compartmentalising work within a specific timeframe, you should make sure that as much of that time frame as possible is being spent on actually getting things done.

    Last Word

    These are just a handful of helpful tips that can help you create a positive and productive working environment within the office. Homeworking is an unstoppable trend now, but the office holds on precisely because it can offer so much. The golden rule for office productivity, therefore, is nothing more complicated than “play to your strengths”.

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