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ProductivityThe success of any business, large or small, depends largely on nurturing an efficient and productive workplace. While improving employee productivity should always be a priority, this process is often easier said than done.

Below are some of the most effective methods of managing a productive, happy workplace while increasing output.

1. Establish Accountability

Productivity depends on every employee understanding that the jobs they do come with specific responsibilities, and that their actions have consequences. Employees that lack accountability are more likely to slack off, procrastinate, or blame others for their shortcomings – as with no consequences coming their way there is no urgency or importance placed on the tasks. Establishing accountability from the beginning results in higher-quality output and an increased focus on informed, efficient action.

2. Avoid Excessive Micro-management

There is no denying that management is absolutely crucial, but too much of a good thing can have adverse effects on productivity. Excessive micro-managing creates employees that feel as if they are not trusted and that their decision-making processes are not valued. They can quickly and easily become discouraged. Instead of encouraging employees to put forth their best efforts, it results in an eventual dependence on micro-management that can sink productivity levels.

3. Recognise Success

Just as employees must be held accountable for their actions, they should also be recognised for their success. Even small efforts, such as verbal recognition or occasional awards, can encourage employees and make them feel like their hard work is being rewarded. You don’t have to issue big prizes or rewards, a simple but regular internal announcement would suffice. For businesses that can afford it, larger rewards, such as holiday parties, improve morale and create camaraderie in the office, all of which leads to happier, more productive employees.

4. Break Out of Ruts

While it is generally advisable to assign tasks based on an employee’s particular competencies, keep in mind that doing the same tasks repeatedly over an extended period of time can make even a skilled employee feel as if their work has become monotonous (and dare I say it – boring). If possible, it may be useful to expose employees to other tasks and even other departments. This renews motivation, offers new skills to learn and apply, and grants the employee a broader understanding of how the business operates.

5. Cut Down on Useless Meetings

Often, meetings serve as nothing more than temporary breaks from productive work. If a meeting does not have a specific purpose, an organised agenda, and a plan of action, it will probably only function to diminish productivity and honestly staff will resent the meeting from the get go. Meetings can be a great way to share ideas and establish goals, but don’t let them get in the way of delivering actual results.

6. Think Outside the Box

Studies have revealed several productivity-boosting techniques that may seem counter-intuitive at first glance. While social media has been demonised in workplace settings, data shows that allowing occasional breaks to access such sites can boost workplace productivity by nearly 10%. Likewise, allowing employees to listen to music while working – when it doesn’t interfere with the job, of course – can also improve efficiency. Providing such perks can pay off tremendously if it means happier, more motivated employees.

“Productivity is not something that just gets switched on or off.  You need to invest time and resources into creating the structure to support a productive workplace.”

Balancing the needs of a business is never an easy job, but a focus on increased productivity can have a positive impact on nearly every other facet of the workplace. By using the techniques above, it is possible to eliminate unnecessary pitfalls and ensure that employees are personally invested in efficient and quality output.