Not all business owners take into account that their employees work an average of five hours a day at their desks and that they're paying them for that time. This is a big deal because in the ‘work output to time spent working’ ratio, those five hours often don't add up.
And a lack of productivity is something that can cause a company to lose a lot of money. Which is why many companies are now allocating resources for performance management tools to ensure work output matches company goals.
3 Scientifically Proven Methods to Increase Workforce Productivity
Performance management can increase employee engagement, efficiency, and productivity. Below are three scientifically proven ways this can be achieved.
Set Goals and Track Progress
Science says that the release of dopamine makes us feel great when we work towards our goals. Setting performance goals starts by assessing the company's current state, and using this to set worker expectations and rules. Having these predetermined guidelines will make it easier for management to identify what is or isn't productive according to department and company standards.
Managers will have to track performance and activities closely, as less productivity can be due to having too many distractions or spending too much time on non-work related activities and websites. Managers may even make it fun by getting the entire department involved and offering small incentives to those who improve their performance from month-to-month.
Tip: Workforce management software can help set up a system that will monitor workers' goals, performance and progress.
Combat Employee Stress
An important aspect of having productive employees is recognizing that they're human. It has been scientifically proven that short breaks and vacations improve brain function. Several short breaks during the day will ensure that employees' brains and bodies don't become overworked, as this can lead to stress. Someone who works slower due to stress might be less productive. On the other hand, someone who works faster due to stress may have low-quality work and/or performance.
Since breaks go hand-and-hand with employee freedom, it's reasonable to allow workers to conduct personal business on their work computers and to ease up on Internet restrictions. Some companies make the mistake of restricting Internet access most likely fearing misuse.
For example, restricting social media sites may seem like a good idea, but in reality there are good reasons to allow access to these types of sites. One of the best reasons is that social media is becoming a critical aspect for business and even employee growth. They're great marketing tools and may even allow managers to track the moves of competitors.
Test for Substance Abuse
Believe it or not, drug and alcohol testing can improve employee productivity. It's plausible that a worker who has seen a sharp decline in productivity could be suffering from a substance abuse problem, but without regular alcohol and drug testing this may never be discovered.
Not only that, drug and alcohol-positive employees are 3.42 times more likely to file medical claims for medical issues caused by their substance abuse. In this case, not implementing a drug and alcohol testing program can be more costly than implementing one. In a Gallup survey, 63 percent of the employees surveyed stated that substance abuse negatively impacts productivity.
Substance abuse is also known to cause these performance problems that can all affect individual and overall productivity:
- An increased need for supervision
- An inability to follow or difficulty following instructions
- An increase in mistakes
- Missed deadlines
- Inconsistency in work quality or very low work quality
- Poor judgment
- Fatigue, which may hinder the ability to perform
Improving employee performance can be a daunting and even impossible task if the right tools and methods aren't used. According to science, a relaxed environment where work is monitored and not scrutinized, will more than likely inspire employee growth and increased productivity.
About the Author: Melanie Nathan is a technology professional, entrepreneur and writer. Her thoughts can be found on Huffington Post, Business.com, and Twitter.