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Improving productivity for employee wellness

Dec 17, 2018

It's not just an organisation's leaders who strive for higher productivity. Most employees want to be productive, too. Not only does it pass the time while they are at work, it also gives people a greater sense of fulfilment when they feel like they are being a productive member of their team. There is a satisfaction that comes with being able to make a plan and stick to it. And that satisfaction allows employees to switch off after work, which in turn allows them to relax and refresh.

However, in today’s workplace, where priorities and deadlines are constantly shifting, people often don’t feel in control and, despite working hard and long hours, employees often feel they are not on top of their workload. A lack of productivity can have a negative effect on the employee’s stress levels and general mental wellbeing.

Causes of stress in the workplace

If we look at some of the causes of workplace stress cited by employees, we see factors that also cause a lack of productivity:

  • changing demands and priorities;
  • inefficient systems and processes;
  • lack of clarity about roles and expectations;
  • poor communication with managers; and
  • long hours and a poor work-life balance.

The benefits of a productive culture

By removing barriers to productivity, an organisation can also reduce the stress levels of their employees. Not only will employee wellness and happiness increase, employee engagement and output will, as well.

To foster this culture, an organisation should strive to provide the best tools, processes, managers and training. Here are some questions to help identify your productivity barriers:

  • Are people clear about what is expected of them?
  • What are the bottlenecks or inefficiencies?
  • Are people collaborating when deadlines change?
  • Have the employees got the right skills to be productive?
  • Are the managers enabling productivity?

Improving productivity and wellness

Once you have some answers, encourage the managers and their teams to work together. Ask them to identify their specific barriers to productivity that impacts them on a daily basis. By encouraging solutions from within, employees will be more committed to making and sustaining any improvements. This can strengthen relationships as people work together towards a common purpose. Managers and their teams need to be empowered and supported to achieve the required changes. Your organisation also needs to be committed to (where possible and practical) making the changes identified and to fostering a culture of continuous improvement.

Quick tips

There are many practical changes an organisation can make quickly for very little cost. Here are some ideas to consider:

  • Provide clarity about everyday roles and responsibilities.
  • Develop a productive approach to meetings to reduce time and improve follow up.
  • Use smart email practices to reduce processing time.
  • Make sure everyone understands individual and team priorities.
  • Identify and eliminate distractions within the office.

Employee wellness is not just about supporting health and wellbeing in the workplace. It's also about making sure that the workplace is running smoothly and supporting employees to do their job. An environment where people are productive will reduce employee stress and maintain employee wellness to the benefit of both the employee and the organisation.

Moira is the founder of Be Productive.