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1. Training

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It may sound obvious that employees should have the appropriate level of training in order to do their job effectively and productively, yet this is one of the largest areas in which businesses are currently failing when it comes to employee productivity.

Training an employee to do their job effectively can take time, and cost money, and is not always an obvious revenue-driving exercise – at least in the short term. But it’s simply common sense that a fully trained employee will deliver more in the long run and be more productive compared with someone who is trying to learn on the job or simply hasn’t had sufficient training for their role.

2. Tools

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When thinking about how to make employees more productive by saving time on manual tasks, giving them the right tools and software is the single best method, bar none. For someone working in a busy HR department for example, they have many areas to cover, such as interview, hiring, onboarding, employee engagement, appraisals, absences, payroll issues, and much, much more. Software like CIPHR HR solutions offer a complete suit of tools which cover almost every area of a typical HR workers day, allowing them to work much more productively.

Similarly for a marketing executive, who’s remit it might be to send marketing emails, report on campaign performance, answer incoming website queries, and much more, there are tools such as Vocus, Yeswear, and Sailthru which can do a lot of the manual work for them, and allow them to focus on the more important aspects of their role.

3. Keep them happy

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As the old saying goes, ‘a happy worker is a productive worker’ and never has this been more true in the modern workplace. With longer hours, more stressful jobs, and generally much more work to do, the workplace can be a pretty difficult place to be, so it’s vitally important that you can do whatever possible to keep your team happy within their role.

Someone stuck doing repetitive manual work, or someone with their boss breathing down their neck are very likely to be unhappy at work, and therefore much more likely to be less productive. Compare that with someone with the freedom to do what they love and what they’re good at, they are far more likely to get much more out of the day.

4. Clear communication

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One of the most common reasons employees claim to be less productive in the workplace is due to a lack of effective and clear communication. If instructions are given for a task, and they’re not clear or given in full, it will almost always lead to problems and delays later down the line. This is not only disruptive to the employee, but it wastes an awful lot of time with projects and tasks having to be started over or revisited.

When it comes to communicating the goals, projects and tasks for your team, ensure they are clearly communicated. This means taking the necessary time to sit down with all stakeholders and ensure they fully understand what is expected of them, and have the opportunity to ask any questions and clarify any issues they may have.

Time spent communicating effectively is a wise investment which will almost always pay off in the long run, both in terms of productivity and employee satisfaction.

5. Remote working

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Remote working is a hotly contested subject in the world of business, even though things appear to be moving in the right direction. On one side of the argument, you have people who say that if you can’t trust an employee to work remotely, why even hire them in the first place? Which is a valid point. On the other side you have people who may have a team of relatively newer hires, who they’re not sure they can yet trust, and therefore avoid remote working.

Remote working can actually be used to improve employee productivity. If a member of your team has a project with a tight deadline, which would best be delivered by allowing them to work in an isolated fashion for a period of time in order to not be disturbed, it makes perfect sense to allow them to work remotely from home. Trying to work on such a project within an office environment is likely to offer more distractions from co-workers and general office noise and activity.

And then there are days when an employee might have difficulty getting into work on time, such as if there has been a road accident or weather problems. Some managers might say well take an extra hour traveling but still get to the office, whereas a result they’ll have an hour less to get their work done. A better approach would be to simply say work from home remotely, and don’t waste that extra hour stuff in traffic.

6. Actually understand productivity levels

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We all want a more productive workforce, from the CEO down to the team leader, but what’s more important is that we actually have a handle on existing productivity levels, as without that, how can you measure any new processes you put in place in the first place?

One of the best ways to measure employee productivity, as well as having a general sense of big projects vs deadlines, is to have a clear view of how many ‘working’ hours your team have in a week, and how many of those working hours have been delivered, in line with their expected outcomes. This doesn’t mean sitting over your team with a stopwatch, but rather having an understanding of tasks, times to complete and which tasks were completed in a given time period. Only then should you look to implement ideas for improving employee productivity.

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