Executive Education

5 Workplace Productivity Practices and Trends You Should Consider

Every year presents an opportunity to do things better, which is why the year end is a good time to look at how well or poorly your organisation did and identify the areas where you should improve.

HR executives are particularly looking for ways to help their employees improve their productivity since unproductive employees can cause direct losses to a company.

Here are some facts and statistics that prove just how damaging low productivity can be to a business:

  •       Companies may lose millions in a matter of days when employees work with distractions.
  •       It costs 30 to 50 percent in annual salary to replace an entry-level employee, and the numbers go higher to 150 percent for middle-level workers.
  •       When you add in the costs of training new employees and lost productivity, the total cost may range from 90 to 200 percent of an employee’s salary for an entire year.

Before these numbers get to you, it pays to look at how to boost your company’s employee performance based on the best practises in the field of HR.

Here are some existing and forward-looking trends in office productivity that you can introduce in your workforce.

  1. Employee On boarding

On boarding is the process of providing information, training, and mentoring to new employees as they transition into their first few months into the organisation.

During this period, newbies are given everything they need to know about the job to help them assimilate their role more easily, as well as familiarise them with their new environment. The idea is to walk the employee through the processes involved in the job and, at the same time, provide them all the tools that they’ll be using to perform their tasks.

While traditional orientation process is a standard norm in organisations, the on boarding strategy is a more structured one as it involves various departments of the company coming together to explain how their functions relate to all the other teams. This also presents an opportunity for the company to recognise if there’s a need to update their workflow or information that’s being shared with everyone.

  1. Augmented Workforce

This is one of the most exciting trends happening right now, and it’s seen to further evolve in the future as online connectivity continues to gain ground.

The augmented workforce refers to the fundamental shift that companies are taking, wherein they are utilising artificial intelligence (AI) and robotic technologies to automate the workplace while recognising that human skills are an essential part of the work design.

At present, there are already companies that are either fully or semi-automating their work processes, but the majority are finding it more effective to retrain people in the use of technology or redesign jobs so that they could leverage their employees’ creative and critical thinking skills.

Augmenting the workforce with AI systems and other cognitive tools is a win-win for both the company and its employees, as productivity targets can be met and employees can do the human aspect of their work better.

  1. More face-to-face interaction

More and more companies are now reviving personal interactions among office employees meaning remote work takes a backseat for some organisations like Apple, IBM, and Google no less.

These companies have noticed increased job satisfaction and creativity levels when employees have opportunities to engage with one another in the office setting, whether it’s a shared working area or a flexible, open space.

Millennials and Generation Z, in particular, are said to favour working in a corporate office instead of telecommuting because they find that in-person conversations are still the better way of being connected to one another.

Face-to-face conversations are also a boon to employee productivity, as research says one of these conversations is already equivalent to dozens of email exchanges in the workplace.

  1. Office campuses

Companies have also been implementing the concept of having corporate campuses or universities where employees gain additional learning that’s relevant to their work.

In a corporate university, employees go through a customised program where they are trained to become a team player, a subject matter expert, or a game changer who brings new, innovative ideas to the table.

Although the concept of workplace learning that’s promoted by office campuses dates back to the 20th century, it has come a long way such that it now focuses on value-added learning experiences that foster authentic education and development of skills that are precursors to employee productivity.

  1. Financial and mental wellness support for employees

Employees who are struggling with financial issues in their personal life are prone to health problems that may affect their capacity to work. In the UK, companies are finding it more and more urgent to deal with absence management as absences due to sickness and even made-up sickness are costing businesses £522 in annual estimates per employee.

With that said, companies would do well to introduce employee wellness programs that assist workers through employee-friendly benefits and policies that may include financial loans, as well as mental health counselling with HR at the helm of such services.

In fact, some companies are already taking the lead in allowing distressed employees to have a mental health day off since they are convinced that poor mental and financial state can cause stress-related disorders among employees.

Other Ideas for Workplace Productivity

No company would tolerate employees wasting time at work. Apart from the trends discussed above, implementing time-tested strategies can help curb low office productivity.

For one, companies should know what drives their employees most to perform on par with the organisation’s standards and create that kind of work environment for them.

It’s also important for HR to have clear rules and guidelines so that employees know what’s expected of them when it comes to work output and quality.

As a bonus, HR could be more creative, so that company policies do not become too restrictive and instead, engage their employees more.

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Alex Wortley
Alex Wortley is a Digital Marketing Specialist at e-days Absence Management with a real passion for writing both industry-specific and thought-provoking content. e-days is an award-winning system for staff absence management. Over 1000 clients, with 180,000 users, spread across 80+ countries, are taking control of absence using cloud-based, self-service solution. e-days is ready to go directly from your browser on any device with an internet connection. Alex is an opinion columnist for the CEOWORLD magazine.