Employee productivity is a hot topic, and one of the biggest questions people ask is, “how do you make employees more productive?” It turns out that there are a lot of factors involved in productivity, including everything from how many hours an employee works to how easy it is for employees to communicate with one another.
Some of the major factors are explored below. Other statistics about employee productivity, such as how much the workplace culture and environment can help or hinder productivity, may surprise you. Read on to learn more.
If an employee works more hours, you’d think that they’d be more productive, right? It’s true up to a point. You may be surprised to learn that there’s a weekly threshold for productivity. After a certain number of hours, employees stop being productive. Typically, that happens around the 50-hour mark. Employee productivity increases up to this point, then faces a sharp decline. Basically, you may be paying people for more hours without having anything to show for it in return.
What happens? People burn out about 50 hours. They’re overworked, and creativity ceases. Their concentration may nosedive, and they might be easily distracted. That is probably correlated with the fact that the most productive workers actually take a 17-minute break for every 52 minutes they work.
Working longer and harder doesn’t necessarily equal out to more productivity—there’s a sweet spot for how long an employee can work. You might want to think less about extra overtime hours, and more about how you can ensure your employees are getting the breaks they need and deserve.
WHERE AND WHEN YOU WORK
The working environment actually has a huge influence on employee productivity—but it may not be what you think. While most people think that productivity happens in a formal office setting, remote workers actually tend to be more productive than their office-dwelling counterparts. In fact, remote workers are around 13% more productive. Why? Remote workers tend to have more flexibility in their schedules, and ditching the commute can help them put in more quality hours on their work. Sometimes, remote workers need to be located outside of the office to do their jobs effectively!
Schedule flexibility is an enormous bonus to productivity. In fact, nearly 60% of Millennials think that more flexibility in their schedules helps them be more productive. When employees have scheduling flexibility, they can sit down and work when they’re ready to work, and they generally pick their most productive hours to do so. They can also arrange for a distraction-free work space—which can eliminate multitasking. While you might think multitasking helps you get more done, it actually drives productivity down by about 40%.
DISENGAGED EMPLOYEES COST YOU
Around 38% of employers cite a lack of qualified talent as the biggest cause of lost productivity. People who are ill-trained or lack the necessary skills just can’t be as productive as their more talented peers.
Worse, these employees tend to become disengaged unless the company does something to help them succeed in their roles, such as providing opportunities for learning and skills development. While the top 1% of productive workers can add $5,000 in profits to a company’s bottom line, less productive employees can cost you $12,000 per year.
EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT MATTERS
The single best thing a company can do to boost employee productivity is ensure that employees are engaged. Engaged employees are 38% more productive than their disengaged peers, and employees who describe themselves as happy are 12% more productive. Social recognition programs and gamification can help engage your employees.
Better communication and collaboration also boost employee engagement and employee productivity. Obviously, being able to communicate more easily and clearly lets employees get on with their work. Communication improvements can boost productivity from 20-25% on their own. But communication also fosters better teamwork and peer-to-peer learning, which can help employees become more engaged in their work.