How to Encourage Employee Productivity

January 23, 2024
5 min read

In the workplace, productivity is a metric that quantifies how well resources are being used to create value. True productivity entails more than just finishing a large number of tasks or working longer hours. It’s all about making the most of the time you have by setting specific and attainable goals, prioritizing tasks, and employing effective time management techniques.

Managers can encourage employee productivity and help remove barriers to successful time management by eliminating certain behaviors and deploying more effective tactics.

Manager Behavior to Eliminate

  • Expecting immediate responses to emails.
  • Asking for status updates too frequently.
  • Planning meetings without considering employee availability or respecting schedule boundaries.
  • Holding meetings without agendas.

Manager Behavior to Start

  • Encouraging employees to raise reasonable concerns about workplace productivity problems. Foster what psychologists call “psychological safety,” or the sense of security that comes from knowing there’s no punishment for raising reasonable concerns. Only when people feel safe discussing their workplace problems that get in the way of their own productivity will you be able to find solutions to fix them.
  • Eliminating distractions. Ask employees for feedback on the most significant work distractions they encounter each day and create a plan to eliminate as many of the distractions as is feasible.
  • Schedule-syncing with direct reports. Schedule-syncing helps managers gain better insight into how people spend their time, which can be achieved in several ways. One option is to ask employees to share a timeboxed calendar of what they plan to do and when — for example, when they like to answer emails and messages, do focused work, or be available for calls and meetings. This gives you visibility into how they plan their day so you can avoid interruptions during their focused work or off hours or suggest reprioritization if necessary. You can also share your calendar so employees know when they can (or can’t) interrupt you.  Another schedule-syncing tactic is to have your team designate specific distraction-free periods each day — no messages, no calls, no emails, no meetings, and no quick in-person check-ins. For anyone. Using schedule-syncing tactics will help you gain better insight into how employees spend their time without micromanaging them.
  • Creating agendas for every necessary meeting. Too often, people schedule a meeting to avoid having to put in the effort of solving a problem themselves. Collaboration can be a powerful problem-solving tool, but people shouldn’t use meetings as a distraction from the hard work of thinking. Requiring an agenda keeps everyone on track and cuts down on unnecessary meetings by adding a bit of effort on the part of the organizer before calling one.
  • Setting an example by creating your own boundaries. Make time for focused work yourself. Let people know when you’re available, and don’t interrupt others during their focused work or off-hours.

Once behaviors are modified and more action is being taken to encourage productivity, managers should see positive change within their teams. The talented HR consultants at Next Level Benefits have years of experience helping companies get the best out of their teams. Reach out to us today to see how we can help you.

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