Tips for Small Businesses to Increase Employee Productivity

January 19, 2017 | Tips, Productivity, Small Business

As a small business owner, managing your employee’s productivity without creating unwanted stress and tension can be a huge challenge. On one hand, you want a good relationship with everyone in the office – being likable is extremely important for being a successful boss. But on the other hand, you want to get the most out of your employees since you are, after all, paying them for doing work.


Finding that right balance between being a friend and a manager is crucial for an efficient workplace. Below are some tips you can use to increase your employee’s daily productivity without burning any bridges along the way.


Don’t Micromanage

Nobody does well with someone constantly looking over their shoulder. If a worker is always being told what to do and how to do it by their superior, they’ll feel like they’re not trusted. Staff will begin seeing you as more of a dictator and less of a boss, and that kind of environment only leads to stress and job dissatisfaction.


By giving your employees more power to make their own decisions and the freedom to work independently, they’ll feel more valued and have a higher drive to do well.


Reward Quality Performance

It’s no secret that people like being acknowledged for a job well done. Even something as simple as a “nice work” in an email is enough to give someone a confidence boost.


Taking it a step further, creating incentives for your employees to meet specific goals can do great things for overall productivity. Whether you go with financial incentives (bonuses or gift cards), or nonmonetary rewards (extra vacation days), employees will work harder if there’s some kind of reward in sight.


Limit Meetings

Occasional meets are definitely necessary to get everyone on the same page and brainstorm ideas, but be careful with how much time they take up. It’s a good idea to step back and ask yourself, “does this issue warrant a meeting, or could it be summed up in a simple email?”


On average, 31 hours are spent in unproductive meetings each month. And frequently, many people asked to attend a meeting don’t even have anything to do with what’s being discussed. Either they were invited on accident, or someone at some time thought their presence was needed when it turns out it wasn’t. Ultimately, this leads to people spacing out for the duration of the meeting when they could have been working on more important things.


Encourage Breaks

We all know that person who seems to never leave their desk. They eat lunch in front of their computer, they arrive early and leave late, and they rarely interact with coworkers.


On the outside, this seems like a model employee. I mean, look how much time they’re dedicating to their job.


But how productive are they actually being?


Research shows that taking regular breaks, even ones as short as 30 seconds (microbreaks), can improve a person’s mental acuity by roughly 13%. What’s more, a 15-second break every 10 minutes reduces fatigue by as much as 50%.


Sure, it may seem like a lot of work is getting done by the person who never walks away from their desk, but in actuality, the negative mental impact of skipping breaks can be detrimental to productivity.


Apparently, staring blankly at your computer screen for hours on end isn’t the same as completing actual, thoughtful work.


Give These a Try

As managers, we all want the most out of our employees. While creating strict deadlines, enforcing long work hours, and limiting breaks may seem like one way to get a lot of work done, the negative impacts outweigh anything beneficial.


Try out some of these tips in your organization and see how they work. You may surprise yourself and see a big improvement in a short amount of time.