If you’ve worked in any kind of office setting, you’ve likely heard all kinds of tired cliches about how time is money, how you need to think outside the box and how you can better help your company by giving 110%.
In today’s fast-moving world, these cliches all represent the same idea: companies need their employees to be productive in order to keep up in today’s business climate.
But, in some cases, being productive is easier said than done. Surveys have repeatedly shown that an increasing number of employees are dissatisfied with their jobs for a variety of reasons and that dissatisfaction costs companies a lot of money. Studies have shown that disengaged employees cost American businesses more than $550 billion each year.
Why are employees unmotivated?
- They don’t feel valued.
- They’re not able to showcase their skills effectively.
- They’re asked to take on too much work.
- Their company’s goals are always changing.
- They’re distracted by things unrelated to work.
- They don’t trust their employer or vice versa.
- They feel that management doesn’t effectively manage employees.
As you can see, there are many reasons employees may not be putting forth their best effort, and, if you’re an office manager, it’s your job to boost employee productivity. So how do you do it? There are many ways you can boost productivity that are simple or complicated, creative, or straight to the point. The key is to find the right balance:
One of the surest ways to boost employee productivity is to communicate. Even if you think you communicate a lot, try communicating even more. Communication is one of the most frequently cited reasons for employee unhappiness and it’s important that you check in with your employees regularly. Even though you’re the office manager, you need to do more than just act like the boss.
You need to check-in and ask the right questions of your employees. Ask them how they feel. Ask them if they are facing any challenges. Ask them if you can help. If there are any big changes in company policy, make sure to let employees know as soon as possible. Don’t surprise them with bad news. Remember: your employees are people and you need to treat them like people. If you can have open, honest discussions in the office, you can boost employee productivity because your employees are going to know that their voices and opinions matter.
Make Firm Decisions
Part of being an effective manager means making tough choices, good and bad. You may not think so, but one way you can boost employee productivity is to be decisive. Dealing with tough issues means weighing the pros and cons of things and going over your options. When you make a decision, stick to it. Your employees may not like it, but they’ll respect you for trusting them and leading them in a direction that’s good for the company.
Say for example that you’re having discussions about workers compensation where workers compensation attorneys are involved. Those discussions might involve some tough, unpopular decisions, but, ultimately, it’s your job to make those choices and stick to them while explaining to your employees why they help the company.
There’s no doubt that managing employees and finding ways to boost employee productivity can be challenging. But that doesn’t mean it can’t sometimes be fun.
Just as you should see your employees as people, you need to let your employees see you as a person too. Don’t be afraid to loosen up every now and then and crack and joke. Have a party every now and then where everyone can let their hair down and talk about things other than work. If you’re looking for a good idea, try having a party with a taco bar with all the fixings including wholesale tortillas, toppings and meats.
Everyone comes to work knowing that there’s work to be done. But if there’s a party or a social gathering every now and then, it gives employees something to look forward to and it gives them a chance act more naturally in an office setting.
Even the most dedicated, loyal, and ready-to-work employees need a break now and then. Some folks might even think they have too much work to take a break. But as their manager, you need to encourage them to take regular breaks. Even a 20-minute break for a cup of coffee and walk can be a much-needed refresher. So encourage employees to loosen up every now and then and take a break, even if it’s brief.
Praise Your Employees
No matter what job you have, every day isn’t going to be sunshine and rainbows for your employees. But, as they’re boss, it’s a fantastic idea to frequently let them know what a good job their doing. That’s especially true if you work in a setting where a lot is demanded of a small number of employees.
One way to boost employee productivity and morale is to praise employees. A great way to do that is through social media. If you feel an employee went above and beyond to help a customer, use Twitter and Facebook to recognize them. The same thing is true of customers. If they do a good job, recognize their hard work. Let’s say for example, that local design build remodelers worked to successfully upgrade the infrastructure of your office building. The high praise you give them on social media could lead other companies to seek them out for work.
Praising employees also includes celebrating things like birthdays and anniversaries. Sure, this is a great way to gather employees for a celebration and some cake, but it means a little more than that. It shows employees that you care and it’s another way you see them as people and not just co-workers.
Employees like to be praised for their hard work, but it also feels good to be rewarded now and then. You can offer small things like gift cards or discounts, but also think about other ways they can be rewarded. You can offer rewards that also help them grow professionally and personally. Those rewards might include books or allowing them to pursue courses in hobbies they’ve always thought about.
Get Things Fixed
Sure, you can effectively boost employee productivity by communicating well, offering incentives and offering praise. But you can ensure productivity stays up by making sure things work in your office.
There’s nothing that can aggravate an employee faster than faulty equipment. If the air conditioner doesn’t work in the office, don’t let your employees suffer during the dog days of summer. Call a local air conditioner repair company to do some needed air duct cleaning. This way your employees will feel comfortable and you’ll have clean air circulating in your vents.
The same goes for everyday equipment, such as computers, fax machines, and printers. It can be infuriating for employees not to be able to do simple tasks. So, if the main office printer is on the fritz, call up a local repair shop for some much-needed printer repairs.
Spruce Things Up
Another way to boost employee productivity is to spruce the office up a little bit. If your employees feel like they’re in an inviting environment, they’ll be going to be more enthused about coming to work. So how do you spruce things up?
- Hang pictures or paintings on the office walls that inspire your employees. Different colors have been shown to affect people in different ways and you can hang art that really gets the creative juices flowing.
- Add some plant life. It’s a great way to purify the air, add some good vibes around the office and in a personal workspace and gives you or your employees a chance to customize their work area.
- Put up motivational messages. If you’ve got some slogans that really impact you, hang them up on the office walls as a way to keep employees motivated. Better yet, have each employee think of a message that resonates with them, choose from different typography styles and have them all printed and hung up around the office. This is a great way to promote teamwork and keep everyone motivated.
- Hang a vision board. This can be a simple corkboard with photos and messages that have different goals. Those goals can be long term and short term company goals or individual goals for each employee.
- Clean the office up. Obviously, employees are responsible for keeping their work areas clean, but when it comes to keeping the office clean, you might think about hiring a cleaning service to empty the trash cans, vacuum the carpets and just give the office a good clean. Cleaning might also include mold removal services or asbestos removal services to make sure your employees are safe on job.
- Add some scents. Greenery and messages can help boost employee productivity, but scents help too. You can use essential oil diffusers with scents like peppermint or lemon to refresh and energize the office.
Another way you can spruce up the office is by sprucing up the outside of it. Nothing can give a business a boost quite like a new business sign. If your building’s sign is looking worn and faded, it may be time to call a business sign service and get a brand-new LED sign. It can easily be seen by passersby and lets employees know that the company is all about keeping things fresh.
As you can see, there are a myriad of ways you can boost morale and productivity and you may just find that some of the simplest things can be the most effective.
Offer Good Benefits
An important part of trying to boost employee productivity is offering good employee benefits. Whether you’re looking at different medical plans or doctors or even vacation time, managers need to take the time to find benefits that meet employee needs:
Offer The Right Benefits
If you’re choosing benefits, don’t be afraid to get input from your employees. Ask what they want or ask how you can help them. It’s also a good time to review what the current benefits are, what works, what doesn’t work and create the best plan for all parties concerned.
Before the annual enrollment period, you need to provide all the details of the employee benefit plan. You need to very clearly communicate any changes to existing benefits and even offer to help employees as they navigate picking health insurance or a dental plan or vision needs.
When it comes to changes in benefits and insurance, don’t assume you can convey the information with a one-size-fits-all approach. To that end, you need to sometimes personalize your message to each of your employees, explaining how the benefits affect them. You might also use graphs, charts, and other visual aids to help employees understand their benefits.
Hire the Right People
Some of the most important decisions you’ll make as a manager involve hiring people (or firing, if necessary). When it comes to hiring people—and perhaps using an employment services agency to do so—ultimately you have to find the right people that fit into your team’s chemistry. Hiring the right people can be a good way to boost employee productivity, but hiring the wrong person can quickly disrupt the natural ebb and flow of your office efficiency.
When you hire someone, you want to make sure you get an employee that fits into your office framework. Having all the necessary qualifications plays a big part in the hiring process, but think of your office like a puzzle; you need all the right pieces to have it run right.
Being an office manager can have plenty of ups-and-downs, but at the end of the day, it’s important that you keep up employee morale and employee productivity. By taking steps to recognize employees for their hard work, communicating clearly and effectively, making the office a safe, welcoming place to work, offering incentives and offering benefits, you can boost morale and keep your office functioning like a well-oiled machine.
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