May 17, 2022

Workforce Productivity Issues: 8 Signs Of It, And How To Tackle Them

Who wouldn’t like a workplace as fun as 'The Office' (that very famous sitcom)? But workplaces are hardly as quirky and entertaining as that! If it was, no one would ever have Monday blues again. 

Usually, when you hear the term 'workplace', a professional setting comes to mind immediately, where you're expected to perform different tasks to achieve your job requirements. While the setting used to be restricted to an office or outdoor site, the advent of technology has widened the possibilities for the location of a workplace, as well as your perspective towards your work. Work-life balance and health are prioritised over everything nowadays. 

Some modern companies show that a workplace can be a great place too, and they don't necessarily have to be mutually exclusive. They CAN co-exist! In fact, as an employer, uplifting the morale of the workers is necessary. If not, you'll be left with low quality work and incomplete tasks. 

Moreover, the reputation of the company will also be at stake, because employees dissatisfied with their workplace rarely go about singing praises about their jobs!

Thus, in order to maintain a healthy work environment and make sure everyone's purpose is served, it's important to reserve some of your attention toward the well-being of your employees. This can be achieved if you lend an ear to their woes and make certain changes that can address their issues.  

8 Signs Of Workforce Productivity Issues

So, how do you know if your employees are happy with their workplace? It’s not all that difficult if you just listen to what they have to say. 

If you're running a company, then you must pay attention to issues as soon as they crop up, because they can hinder workplace productivity. By encouraging your employees to come forward with the issues they're facing, you can ensure you resolve them soon. 

But that's what every employer should be doing as a continuous process. Now, if you're starting out, read on to find out what you can be looking out for to understand if your workplace already has some ongoing issues. 

1) Working without a purpose

Making employees responsible for the tasks they're expected to carry out is recommended. This gives them a feeling of control over the kind of output they're expected to present. But a manager must provide them with ample guidance and relevant information so that they have a purpose to achieve. Without it, it'll be impossible to cater to a drive that will motivate the workers to complete their tasks. This will lead to poor quality of work, showing signs of productivity issues. 

2) Insufficient training period

Every job role has criteria for a specific set of skills that are necessary to fulfil the responsibilities of the position. Hiring an individual with insufficient skills and expecting them to immediately cope with the requirements of the job is uncalled for. Not only will this affect the mental health of the employee, sometimes to extreme levels, but it also affects the quality of the work that they manage to turn in. 

3) Difficulty in maintaining work-life balance

If the workplace is brimming with toxicity, it's difficult to maintain a social circle, or even have enough time for family. Employees who are expected to put in extra work hours once in a while, and rightly rewarded for doing so, not only thrive but help their companies grow too. But catering to such a demand every weekend or public holiday would adversely impact the mental health of employees, adding to their dissatisfaction. If employees end up staying at work beyond the designated hours, the stress is bound to get to them soon enough and affect their relationships, resulting in reduced productivity at work. 

4) Distractions at work

A workplace is a professional space where individuals are expected to work in peace and fulfil their goals. If the place is near a source of noise, it'll be impossible to concentrate on the work at hand. Moreover, the working space should be free from all kinds of distractions so that nothing can come in the way of employee productivity. That doesn’t mean that workplaces shouldn't have a break room where employees can hang out! It just means that workplaces and break rooms should be separate places to keep distracting noise at a minimum

5) Scheduling extremely strict deadlines

An employee cannot be expected to meet every single deadline set. Moreover, if each of them is extremely tight, it'll be humanly impossible to tolerate the stress of finishing the task on time. Employees will only suffer the anxiety of the repercussions that follow a missing deadline which will, in turn, affect the work they do. 

6) Barring improvement by providing no feedback

Any individual thrives on constructive criticism, and such feedbacks are almost always welcome in workspaces. You can boost an employee's confidence by assisting in rectifying something, or by providing them with proper instructions on how to do the task better. In the absence of feedback, an employee will be clueless about how to pursue a particular task and complete it half-heartedly. They'll probably end up making similar mistakes in the next ones too. 

7) Problems relating to infrastructure

There will be problems if the location of the workplace has insufficient space. A huge crowd will result in distractions, resulting in lower employee productivity. But the problems don't cease even if the workplace is huge. Employees will find it difficult to move through the space to communicate with other teams and team members. The ideal scenario is to have an office space that comfortably accommodates the number of employees. 

8) Outdated equipment to work with

It's impossible to expect your employees to complete their tasks effectively and on time when the equipment they're provided is either non-functional or not efficient enough (outdated). This is a huge barrier to carrying out quality work. 

6 Tips To Help You Tackle Workplace Productivity Issues

You're not Albus Dumbledore, and you cannot magically make all the issues you ever face disappear, just with a swoosh of your wand.

But you can definitely strive to increase work productivity exponentially by keeping the following tips in mind. 

1) Communicating with employees

It's not advisable to intrude on your employees' day more often than required, but it's helpful to check up on them once in a while. This will make you seem more approachable and allow the employees to freely convey their issues and queries. Simply put, manage, but don’t micro-manage your employees!

Furthermore, open communication also allows you to better understand your employees' strengths and weaknesses, and guide them accordingly to improve their productivity. 

2) Arranging training courses

A company is more than welcomed to hire fresh graduates or experienced professionals for any job role, as they see fit. But, it'll be beneficial for both the company and the new employee (experienced or otherwise) to arrange a training period so that those newly recruited can adapt to the company's requirements that their job entails, as well as to the culture. 

3) Establishing work-life balance

A healthy workplace should encourage a life outside of work. This also implies that the employers must go easy on deadlines so that the workers don't have to be burdened with persisting pressures of work, and thus end up working overtime regularly to meet them. 

4) Providing sufficient space to work

Choose a location that will be suitable for the number of people employed under you. This will result in fewer distractions and more productivity. If your employees continue to struggle with a lack of space, you may contemplate the option of letting them work from home, or an alternate remote working plan, with different teams coming into the office on different days. 

5) Relaying constructive criticism

Providing proper feedback relating to an employee's work will definitely boost their confidence and raise the quality of similar tasks in the future. It's important to offer to point out issues not by screaming and shouting at our employees (that’s highly toxic!), but by offering to help them improve their work, finding out why a mistake happened and ensuring it doesn't happen again by assisting them in understanding. 

6) Providing accessible and efficient equipment at hand

it goes without saying that your employees can work better, and at a faster pace too, if the workplace provides them with equipment that can be accessed easily, are functional, and efficient. For instance, take a simple piece of equipment like a printer. If 30 teams have just one printer to use, they're bound to be late with their work. 

Impact Of Solving Workplace Productivity Issues

While the issues listed above may seem trivial, taking baby steps to nullify them will record a stark rise in productivity and quality of work. This will highly benefit your company, and you will find your business raking in profits in no time. After all, it goes without saying that your employees are your biggest asset (your customers come a close second). 

Solving workplace productivity issues can result in several positive outcomes around the workspace other than improving employee productivity. These include:

  • Better employee morale: Solving workplace productivity results in better employee morale and fosters better communication and relationships between colleagues. This, in turn, ensures that your employees perform better and give their all for the growth of your company. 
  • Reduced turnover: Reduced turnover also positively impacts company profitability and helps allocate resources more effectively. Just calculate how much you spend on recruiting and training a new employee. And what will happen if this new person ends up being the wrong fit? So, solving workplace productivity issues does A LOT MORE than just improve employee productivity. It saves your business from possible rough times ahead. 
  • Improved engagement: Solving workplace productivity issues also helps with improving engagement around the workplace, formulating new ideas, and coming up with innovative solutions for problems. Employees will pay you back with their loyalty. Moreover, happy employees work harder towards engaging with clients, and hence solving workplace productivity issues can have a lasting impact on your business profitability and customer loyalty. 
  • Better brand image: There's a list of 'the best companies to work for' that comes out every year. These companies rarely have a problem finding and recruiting the best talent. Believe it or not, more than salary or monetary benefits, what attracts talent are great-to-work-in environments. If your employees talk good about you, you'll attract not just good talent for your workforce, but also new customers. 

Consequences Of Not Attending To Workplace Productivity Issues

Workplace productivity issues can pose severe limitations to a business, and must be taken care of as soon as possible. Not attending to workplace productivity issues can prove detrimental to the company, and result in further deterioration of the quality of the work. Over time, workplace productivity issues can result in employee disengagement as well as faulty workplace management. 

The biggest consequence of not attending to workplace productivity issues would be unhappy, dissatisfied employees, which will unleash a chain reaction that may ultimately be the end of your business. From high employee turnover and tainted brand image, to the inability to find talent and customers leaving, no one will be able to stop the downward spiral of your company. 

Hence identifying and addressing workplace productivity issues should be a continuous process that you must make your priority.

Case Studies

Solving productivity issues is a healthy step towards accomplishing professional goals in the workspace, and has been adopted by several multinational companies in order to overcome productivity-related hindrances. Here are two such examples: 

Example 1 

The Virgin Group, established by Richard Branson, is among the more notable examples of companies that actively solved productivity issues by taking into account employee benefits like flexibility, remote working, as well as employee health and wellness plans. 

Example 2 

Netflix, the popular streaming platform maximised its productivity in terms of candidacy, decision making, and logistics by resolving productivity issues through investing in a healthier workspace environment and employee benefits like parental leaves, healthcare packages, and stocks.

How Is Happiness Related To Productivity? 

Ridiculously, mental health is still a taboo subject to talk about in the 21st century! Not much importance is given to the mental health of an individual, even though it's one of the most crucial factors when it comes to carrying out different aspects of life.

Thus, an employee whose mental well-being is prioritised will always give an output of work that's rich in quality. And such high-quality work will be a result of their efficiency and productivity, which is derived from a healthy and fun work environment

The simple fact is that happy employees are more productive. You don’t have to trust us because this study proves it. So, by resolving workplace issues and ensuring employee happiness, you're actually helping your business thrive. 

Also, employees will love the company, wouldn’t you like that?

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