3 Productivity Killers You Haven’t Considered

You know your company’s success depends on your employees’ productivity; that’s why you’ve got snacks in the breakroom, a comfortable office space for employees to work, and the thermostat set to 75 degrees. But when employees aren’t quite hitting their numbers, is it due to lack of talent? Or is there some underlying productivity killer just waiting to be discovered and repaired?

While there could be several issues at hand, here are several lesser-known but repairable productivity killers to consider.

1. Productivity Killer: Too Many Communication Platforms

Employees need to be in contact with their coworkers and managers to collaborate and maintain work relationships, especially with remote workers who miss out on face-to-face interactions at the office. But when it’s time to chat, should they call, text, email, instant message, Zoom, Facetime, or use some other application to communicate?

Like most offices in America, your staff is likely using some combination of the above. Not only is there little consistency from worker to worker, but employees who juggle multiple conversations with different platforms get easily distracted and lost in which conversation happened where.

To minimize confusion and reduce lost time trying to find a conversation, outline which communication platforms should and shouldn’t be used in different situations. While they may need to adjust their habits initially, your employees will appreciate having everyone on the same page.

2. Productivity Killer: Employee Fatigue

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control reported one in three adults weren’t getting enough sleep. Since the onset of the pandemic, problems with fatigue have skyrocketed. That directly impacts employee productivity with drowsiness, loss of energy, lack of motivation, moodiness, health problems, increased absenteeism, and so on.

To combat fatigue at your workplace, do the following:

  • Educate employees. Provide employees with information on the importance of getting enough sleep at night, safety concerns due to lack of sleep, and tips for getting better sleep. Consider bringing in a sleep doctor for a “lunch and learn” to discuss habit and lifestyle changes to get adequate or more quality sleep.
  • Include sleep in your wellness program. In addition to a healthy diet and regular exercise, promote getting adequate sleep as part of your wellness initiatives. Provide additional information or referral services for employees who may have sleep disorders.
  • Alleviate fatigued times. Ask employees when they’re most tired during the day and offer extra break time. This is especially important for employees working in safety-sensitive positions.
3. Productivity Killer: Outdated Office

If it’s been a while since you’ve invested time and money into the look and comfort level of your office, it may be time for an overhaul. Consider the following options:

  • Improve Workstations. Traditional cubicle-style stations were originally invented as a cost-effective alternative to walled offices that could easily be adjusted for staffing needs. But a strong distaste for cubicles has been lingering for decades, severely impacting employee satisfaction and productivity. To combat these issues, your solution might be as simple as upgrading your office workstations. Providing your employees with a more sophisticated setup will help improve the flow of communication and productivity throughout your office. It will also spark new excitement and a sense of pride for your team. (Working from home? Try updating your home office!)
  • Enhance Ambiance. Is the lighting in your office out-of-date or perhaps causing it to feel gloomy and depressing? Could your office use a facelift with plants, decorations, or upgraded furniture to help it look and feel more pleasing? Add some decorative touches to give your office an aesthetic appeal.
  • Provide Ergonomic Furniture. Shake things up with your office furniture to help employees feel more comfortable while sitting at their desk all day. Ergonomic office chairs are a great solution for cramped, stifling offices and will result in improved posture, enhanced comfort, and overall better productivity.

If none of these options are applicable for your company, you may need to back up and consider your employees’ hierarchy of needs and compare that with what you currently offer. Taking time to diagnose and remedy an underlying issue will make a significant impact on your employees’ productivity.

For more tips to improve your workplace productivity, please contact your certified Stratus.hr expert.

Cariann Lieske, SHRM-CP

Author Cariann Lieske, SHRM-CP

While Cariann used to run an office, she is now focusing her career on Human Resources. When she’s not helping others resolve their employment issues, Cariann can be found wedging her way through an obstacle race or chauffeuring her husband for another 50-miler.

More posts by Cariann Lieske, SHRM-CP