According to a 2017 report from The Engagement Institute™—a joint venture of The Conference Board, Deloitte Consulting LLP, Sirota-Mercer, ROI Institute, and The Culture Works—disengaged employees cost organizations an estimated $450-$550 billion each year in the U.S. alone. Employee disengagement is closely tied to employee productivity. Companies understand that they should go the extra mile in creating employee engagement activities as well as equipping themselves with the right tools to retain their top talents and increase productivity.
Factors that cause unproductivity in the workplace
Unproductivity can have very serious effects on an organization if not immediately controlled. Regardless if the workers who are being unproductive is just a small part of the company or a big chunk, it can accumulate to significant losses over the years and may contribute to business downfall. Here are some of the most probable reasons for unproductivity at work:
- Not all employees are created equal. Some employees may be able to focus better on their work and have better work efficiency while some may get distracted easily. What’s troublesome is when one worker distracts the whole team by asking others to play games with him, convincing his teammates to overextend the lunch break period with him, talking excessively to his neighbors at work, or other forms of distraction that can easily disrupt the work productivity of those around him.
- It can be challenging to be productive at work when you must deal with persons that are causing stress. Working in a place where there is bullying, harassment, confrontational persons, and workers who are not doing their fair share of work are all example of how typically productive employees can suddenly turn unproductive. Even the best employees may leave when subjected to intolerable and stressful conditions.
3. Poor performance
- Delivering service that meets business standards is essential in creating sales, meeting targets, and turning the business profitable. Employees who are not performing their tasks efficiently result in unproductivity and company losses.
4. Inability to meet deadlines
- Companies need to meet deadlines within a reasonable amount of time so that the clients won’t be tempted to switch to other companies to seek the service they want. Similarly, employees should be aware of the deadlines and do their best to complete the deliverables within the time frame agreed upon. Not being able to meet deadlines and goals can give competitors a chance to show the client that they can do the job better than your company.
How to improve efficiency
In every company, there will always be workers that are not as productive as their colleagues. As organizations come across more challenges that will test their grit, patience, and drive, a key point to remember is never stop looking for ways to improve the process. Here are some helpful tips on how work efficiency can be improved across all teams and employees:
1. Promote open communication.
- Productivity can run low when there is an absence of communication among managers and employees. Managers and employees who talk regularly have better chances at effectively communicating expectations, responsibilities, and issues as they arise to facilitate better crisis management. This leads to increased productivity as employees get more accountability for their tasks and roles.
2. Cross-train employees.
- Increase employee engagement to increase their productivity. One way of doing is this to cross-train them to perform different job functions and to develop their skills. Providing employees with an opportunity to acquire diverse skills will motivate them to rise to the challenge, make them happy and can reduce employee turnover rates.
3. Create a good company culture.
- Whether it’s the work environment, the company’s core values and goals, or providing opportunities for growth and rewards, creating good company culture increases an employee’s morale and helps in boosting their work efficiency.
4. Set goals and review performance.
- Establishing goals motivates workers to perform and increases confidence when they see how much they have achieved. Similarly, providing regular reviews, feedback, and rewards for outstanding work is a good way to improve efficiency.
5. Stop multi-tasking.
- A study found that multitaskers are more prone to distractions and that their task-switching results are lower as opposed to those who are not multitaskers. This shows that increasing productivity entails doing tasks one at a time.
6. Get more sleep.
- A study found that sleep-deprived workers have poor productivity rates and spend three times as much of their day on time management. Other poor effects of sleep deprivation mentioned in the study include lack of focus, lack of motivation, poor memory and porr decision-making skills.
How technology increases work efficiency
The best way to facilitate increased productivity and improved work efficiency --apart from training employees and providing them with a good working environment-- is by equipping them with the right technology. With the advent of cloud computing and mobile devices, deploying advanced technologies and equipment is now more affordable compared to previous years when facilitating an integrated system require software license purchases. Let’s look at how technology increases work efficiency in the digital era:
1. File-sharing software
- The pressure to work faster and increase productivity across all teams means that workers must be able to share documents across time zones and different working locations. Investing in cloud-based software that can facilitate convenient access to files makes accomplishing tasks more convenient. One example of this type of software is Google tools
Which enable employees to work simultaneously on one document.
2. Time management software
- Keeping track of schedules so that there is less room for mistakes in time-keeping and payroll computation is a tedious task that should not be dependent on one person using traditional ways. Time management software enables both employees and the HR personnel to keep track of the hours they have worked even when they are not in the office.
3. Project portfolio management software
- Project portfolio management software is ideally used for handling multiple projects at the same time. Daily tasks are monitored, and workers may assign tasks to others anytime, even in remote locations. This facilitates program management and enables managers to supervise all the projects. Consequently, project portfolio management helps in the distribution of resources across the business and risk management.
4. Performance management software
- Employee performance becomes easier to track with performance management software. This solution enables managers to identify problems and create solutions for improving employee productivity and boosting the employee management process. It utilizes surveys to identify what benefits and challenges the employees.
5. Predictive dialing software
- To match the number of people available to take calls with the number of dialed calls, predictive dialing software entails the use of an advanced automatic dialing system and algorithms. The advantage of this software is it can allow employees to skip unanswered phone lines, dodge disconnected phone numbers and leave voicemails easily --thereby increasing customer service employee productivity by as much as 300%.
6. Market research software
- This software uses artificial intelligence to evaluate consumer responses. Market research software boosts work efficiency by saving employees time from manual research, survey, and compilation of customer data.
An era ripe for improvement
Working remotely has never been more convenient as recent technological developments have opened a world of infinite possibilities and increased productivity to organizations and their workforce. As companies provide more breathing room for their employees to work efficiently and at the same time have more freedom to work from anywhere in the world, the future looks bright for companies that are willing to invest in the right technological tools.
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