Most people in business are well aware of the multitude of business benefits to be gained from having more productive employees as well as from more efficient production lines. Productivity benefits are obvious and widely felt when implemented in a business environment. If you weren’t already convinced, here are eleven reasons why productivity should be on your agenda.
1. Increasing profitability
Companies experience an increase in profitability when it becomes less expensive to produce their goods and services. When workers become more efficient, less labour is required to produce the same amount of goods. The company could choose to reduce the number of employees to produce the same output, but if it chooses to maintain the same amount of labour, it will benefit from an increase in output.
2. Lowering operational costs
Companies can reduce operational costs through a number of initiatives. If individual workers improve their personal workflow, they will either produce more in less time or reduce the amount of hours they need to work to achieve the same output. Operational costs can often be reduced through an investment in technology, and over time improved processes can lead to a reduction in labour costs. The introduction of flexitime and three day weeks can see productivity increase when people feel more valued and engaged and suffer less from stress as a result of less commuting. Often people can achieve the same amount of work in three flexi days as they might previously have done in a week.
3. Optimising resources
Often companies don’t use their resources to the best potential. Employees are busy some of the time and looking for work to do at other times. Better human resource management offers a great opportunity to reduce costs and increase productivity. Better role distribution and more effective staffing can make a massive difference, the difference between profit and loss. Optimal workforce utilisation should be on the agenda for change. Improved workflow systems will identify places that roles are overlapping. Companies can rectify situations where employees aren’t being used to their maximum potential, and they can start to use their resources efficiently.
4. Improving customer service
Improvements in productivity are usually felt all over an organisation. One of the external benefits comes when customers are given more time and attention. Systems run better, and the customer feels the benefit. Of course, when the customer is benefiting, the company benefits because happy customers lead to happy managers and happy shareholders.
5. Seizing the opportunity for growth
An increase in productivity is always an opportunity for growth. How this increase is used is up to management. If the productivity increase results in more time for employees, it’s important to control how this time is spent. Far too easily, this time can get used up by mundane tasks and time wasting activities that pose as valid tasks. Don’t be deceived: a time suck is always a time suck, and if it wasn’t important enough to take up your time before your productivity enhancements, it certainly doesn’t merit your time now.
6. Reducing waste and environmental impact
The environment suffers when people aren’t efficient. If you’re not organised and take ten hours to do work that could be done in six, you use four hours of extra electricity that doesn’t need to be used. When you don’t look closely at the way you’re doing things, you waste time, money, and resources. Heating can be optimised and not wasted. When you do this, you create a more pleasant and healthier working environment, which results in higher productivity and focus amongst employees. Good building design that maximises natural light leads to a reduction in lighting costs as well as an increase in workers’ productivity and well‐being due to good levels of daylight in the building. Lighting levels can have a significant impact on productivity and the mood of the people who work in the office.
7. Improving competitiveness
Anything you can do faster, more efficiently or better than your competitors gives you an edge. Increased productivity leads to increased competitiveness. If you can produce your products at a lower cost than your competitor, you can charge less. If you can deliver your service more quickly than your competitor, you can serve more clients or you can increase time spent on customer service, increasing your value add to the customer.
Everyone is aware of the multitude of benefits that organisations gain from productivity increases, but the benefits for employees may not be as widely known as those noticed by the accountants and financial people.
8. Reducing employee burnout
When people have too much to do and not enough time to do it, it can result in stress, exhaustion or total burnout. Working more efficiently whether a reduction in time spent on daily processes or a reallocation of roles and responsibilities – results in people being able to cope better with their work- load and complete their responsibilities in the time allocated to them. This is a positive consequence for both employer and employee. Better time manage- ment leads to more organised, relaxed and efficient employees who can focus on their daily tasks rather than worry about all the things they’re not getting to.
9. Enhancing wellbeing
Another benefit of improved productivity is personal wellbeing. Wellbeing can be described as a state where you’re healthy, comfortable and happy. When you’re more in control of your workload, you can be more in control of your life, having time to include exercise, to cook healthy food and rest when you need to relax. With less stress, you can listen to your body and give it more of what it needs. All the good things in life are within your reach. All it takes is a few little changes, and you’ll see them all add up to stunning results.
10. Improving morale
When companies help employees become more organised and productive, they’re investing in the wellbeing of the employee. Many workers see productivity as a way to squeeze more work out of the worker. This vision has to change. Increased productivity is a positive outcome for all involved. When employees understand what improving their efficiency can mean to them reduced stress and increased control, wellbeing and focus – they can then embrace the process and accept the benefits that can be gained. When employees reap the benefits of increased efficiencies, it usually improves their morale and commitment toward the company.
11. Increasing engagement
More productive workers are usually more engaged in their work. Engagement is a result of a number of factors, which are often linked to the quality of leadership, the amount of autonomy an individual feels and the degree to which they feel in control of their work and workload. When the effort you put into your work makes a difference and your aren’t just treading water, you’ll be more focused and engaged. When employees take control to get their work lives organised, it usually leads to increased focus, commitment and engagement, or they will move on to another job role that they feel is more suitable for them.
Ciara Conlon is the author of ‘Productivity for Dummies’ and ‘Chaos to Control’, a Productivity Expert, Leadership Coach and Motivational Speaker, located in Dublin, Ireland