Improving people productivity: five techniques you’ve heard about but probably haven’t used yet

How many hours a day do you and your co-workers spend on the job? Eight or more? Reports this week suggest that working shorter days, a six hour day for example, may well increase employee productivity – not to mention also improving employee experiences. Countries like Sweden have already implemented a six hour working day, and research has found that Swedish employees work harder and are less distracted than they previously were when working an eight hour day. But is reducing working hours the best route to improving people productivity?

Many countries have annual holidays that celebrate employee productivity, with examples including this month’s Labor Day in the US and Canada, and May Day – a workers’ rights holiday which is celebrated by a number of European countries. But what can be done to reward employees and help improve business productivity on the other 364 days of the year?

Aside from salary increases, promotion and short term benefits that are frequently used incentives, what about those unwritten and subtle management techniques that go above and beyond the status quo when it comes to making your team feel a million bucks? Here are five techniques you might have already thought about but are yet to implement:

  • Break the monotony: Vince Lombardi, a famous football coach, used to change his training methods at least once a month. Nothing too drastic, just something subtle to keep the players and his staff on their toes. Why? He felt that predictability led to monotony, which led to boredom and disengagement. Employers can emulate this by regularly rotating people according to their capability and expertise, thus helping to keep things fresh and interesting. The same applies to recognizing employees; challenge the status quo and instead think about instant recognition, social call outs and innovative reward programs.
  • Mobilize your workforce: Technology has come on lightyears in recent times – so use it. Equip your teams with tablets, smartphones and remote access platforms, and empower them to work at a time and location that works for them. This will help to alleviate common employee stresses like commuting or childcare, and in turn, foster greater loyalty and belief in the work they are doing.
  • Unlimited holidays: Don’t just rely on vacation time and national holidays like Labor Day – give employees unlimited time off. Several high profile companies like Virgin use this technique. By trusting and empowering staff and giving them the freedom of choice to manage their own workload, Virgin says productivity and engagement levels have risen to be much higher than they previously were.
  • Workplace wellness: When you have healthy employees, your company reaps the benefits; wellness initiatives can increase productivity, boost moral and reduce stress. Empower your employees to make smart and healthy choices that can increase vitality and diminish absenteeism by providing healthy options such as unlimited fruit and group exercise.
  • Get rid of the drains: In life, and business, you typically get two types of people. Radiators and drains. Radiators are positive, warm people who emit energy and attract others. Drains are the opposite – the hole that ideas, motivation and positivity can fall through. The rule of thumb is to surround yourself and your team with as many radiators as possible. A good manager should always aim to do that.

Improving people productivity by investing in, and supporting all employees with their individual and differing needs, is essential to modern business success. By focusing on ways to elevate staff productivity whilst continuing to deliver great workforce experiences, companies are reaping strong returns.

Why not take a look at how Mitsubishi UFG improved productivity at their organization by watching a short video here.


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