Strong economic headwinds, progress in workplace tools, and the rise in remote employees have leaders asking, "How can I make my workplace more productive?"
The answer to that question isn’t always simple.
Especially as remote work, AI, and employee engagement all become the world of work’s most discussed topics.
But increasing employee productivity doesn’t change much from year to year. The foundation remains the same –– only the tactics vary.
Take a look at some of our top workplace productivity hacks below.
Table of contents
What Is The State of Workplace Productivity in 2023?
Productivity in the workplace is the value each team or individual brings to the success of the business. It measures the output of individuals or teams to understand how an organization can improve its workflows.
In 2023, leaders face multiple challenges when it comes to increasing and maintaining workplace productivity. It needn’t be said the pandemic had a huge impact on workplace culture and employee morale. Work-from-home policies, new technology, and quiet quitting have shaken up workplace productivity.
According to research from Gallup, “Before the pandemic, engagement and wellbeing were rising globally for nearly a decade – but now, they're stagnant.”
Burnout, layoffs, and lack of job satisfaction have all contributed to a new culture coined “quiet quitting.”
Quiet quitting is what happens when someone psychologically checks out from work. Although they’re physically present or logged into their computer, they don’t know what to do or why it matters. Currently, around six in 10 employees say they fall into the category of quiet quitting.
While executives may associate productivity with maximizing worker output to increase profits, for many employees, this pressure on productivity generates stress and images of long work days and constant connection. Too many long days and a lack of rest can contribute to burnout and workers resigning. When employees are working at optimal productivity, they achieve more in less time.
Like many other things, productivity is all about balance. So it’s time to redefine what workplace productivity means and how to best achieve high levels without damaging your staff retention levels.
How Can Leaders Boost Employee Productivity in the Workplace?
A lot goes into building a workplace that encourages healthy productivity. Here are some ways companies can help employees embrace a productive work culture.
Build a Culture of Trust and Accountability
People often work best when they feel trusted by their employers. Currently, a third of executives track activity metrics (e.g., hours worked, emails sent) among their employees, but only 15% of employees believe doing so helps their productivity.
Heavily monitoring employees can create a culture of mistrust and lack of autonomy. When people don’t feel trusted to do their best work, it can make it harder for them to engage. Avoid creating a culture of monitoring your employees’ every move.
Instead of micro-managing teams, let employees take responsibility for their work. Adopt a mantra that as long as the work gets done on time, it doesn’t matter when or how.
Let Employees Choose How They Work Best
As part of your culture of trust and accountability, let employees choose when and where they work best according to their productivity levels. In fact, more than half (52%) of desk workers say that a flexible work schedule is one of the best ways employers can support their productivity.
Ask team members whether they prefer working from home, remotely, or in an office workspace, then respect their choice.
Consider letting remote workers choose their work hours to suit their preferences. Or, if you offer hybrid work, let team members choose the days they want to come into the office.
Next, check if employees need to block out deep work time on their calendars so they can focus on important tasks without distracting messages and calls. These time blocks could include no meeting days or muted Slack channels. Help employees guard their deep work time by organizing meetings at other times.
If some team members prefer or need face-to-face collaboration or team-wide phone calls, give them the tools to make it happen.
Encourage Time Off
Almost half of the world's workers feel the burden of stress. Plus, according to research from Stanford, employees who work sixty-hour weeks are less productive than those who work forty hours due to fatigue, stress, and other distracting factors associated with being overworked.
Sometimes more isn’t better. And in the case of work productivity, a balanced approach to work and life is best. Employee burnout results in a drastic loss of workplace productivity and can be detrimental to a business’s bottom line. Turnover of just one employee can cost 1.5-2 times their salary, and lost productivity to depression and anxiety disorders costs the global economy $1 trillion every year.
Around half of desk workers feel pressure to respond to messages quickly, even if sent after working hours. This feeling of needing to be constantly “on” can take its toll and lead to burnout.
But there is a solution. 67% say having predictable blocks of time when everyone is disconnected (such as after 6 p.m. and on weekends) would improve their productivity.
Start by encouraging employees to leave on time or log off at the end of the day. Let them know it’s ok to turn off work-related notifications like Slack or email and focus their energy on leisure or family activities.
Lead by example and foster a company culture of taking time off. If senior leadership is comfortable taking time off, then it will be easier for other team members to follow. If you haven’t already, implement vacation and paid time off policies.
When people get the downtime they need, it’s often easier for them to focus and get more work done in a shorter amount of time.
Offer Learning Opportunities to Promote Employee Engagement
Employees are often more engaged when they are growing –– learning new skills can help prevent boredom and burnout. Help your employees progress professionally by implementing company-wide growth and learning opportunities.
Encourage employees to set aside time for activities dedicated to learning and block out regular monthly or weekly company learning sessions. You could also incentivize employees to take courses by providing a monthly learning stipend.
Help Employees Set Boundaries
If your employees lose time to task-switching and tech, it’s important to help them set boundaries and realistic communication expectations.
Andrea Miller, CEO of consulting firm LeadWell Company, explains that setting boundaries is essential for maintaining productivity.
“As for the dreaded tech and communication overload, it really is about setting boundaries with technology, scheduling specific times for checking emails and notifications, limiting social media usage, and letting people know that this is your deep work time and unless it’s urgent that you won’t respond and they shouldn’t disturb you.”
When employees know they can set realistic boundaries that other team members and leaders will respect, it’ll make it easier for them to focus on priority tasks.
Set Realistic Goals
In regular one-on-one and team-wide feedback sessions, establish clear and achievable goals with employees. Avoid being overly ambitious so that people can hit targets without burning out.
Encourage employees to set realistic to-do lists with granular tasks and weekly goals. Doing so will help you keep employees on track while encouraging them to meet targets.
Andrea of LeadWell Company explains that clear goals help employees set themselves up for success.
"The greatest inefficiencies come from a lack of clear goals and expectations. The clearer you can be about what’s important to you for that period of time, the more efficient you can be. It’s when we start task-switching, multitasking, and trying to do it all that we get into trouble."
Jane Stoller, AKA Organized Jane, a keynote speaker, productivity and organizing expert, adds that not having clear goals can lower an individual’s and team’s productivity.
“Lack of clear goals and expectations are a sure way to make employees inefficient. Establish these from the get-go and keep on top of weekly meetings to go over them with your employees. This really helps increase productivity and efficiency. If they don’t meet the expectations, then it may be time to move on.”
Recognize Employee Achievements
When employees do hit those targets and goals, make sure to acknowledge them and make sure their efforts are appreciated. Consider incentives like bonuses or non-monetary rewards to motivate team members. For example, you could offer gift vouchers and spa experiences or enter top-performing employees into a quarterly giveaway for a holiday.
To keep employees motivated in their roles, make career growth and workplace progression as transparent as possible. Do this by sharing job hierarchies and including accompanying salary levels.
Promote Employee Wellbeing
Only a third of employees say they’re thriving in their overall well-being –– that’s two-thirds of workers who aren’t shining as much as they could. And it’s a key loss of productivity since 82% say that feeling happy and engaged at work is a key driver of their productivity.
Healthy employees who achieve a good work-life balance are far more likely to reach high productivity levels.
Encourage employees to prioritize their health above all else. To help employees feel at their best, consider company-wide wellness activities or provide a monthly stipend that team members can spend on exercise classes, massages, or therapy.
Provide Productivity Tools
When implemented correctly, productivity tools can help keep employees on track to meet goals and deadlines. But beware of tech overwhelm, though –– most workers toggle between apps 10 times an hour, costing organizations 32 days per worker per year of workplace productivity.
Start by giving employees access to workflow apps, time management software, and to-do list platforms.
But, always ask team members which tech would be most beneficial to their work day and stick to a couple of essentials. Let workers opt out of anything they find distracting or unhelpful.
Jane Stoller (Organized Jane) explains that it’s key to be selective when it comes to taking on new tech.
“In order to avoid tech and communication overload, first, declutter what you don’t need on your phone and stop all notifications. Keep only the apps that work for you as a preferred form of communication.”
Teach Employees to Delegate
Admin and busy work can consume hours of your employees’ work days –– office workers lose up to a third of their work day to admin.
To make sure these tasks get done without sacrificing high-priority work, employees need the resources to delegate. Help prevent already busy managers from feeling overwhelmed by showing them how to outsource effectively.
Managed virtual assistants are one solution that can take a load off many office workers’ plates. Instead of having to manage multiple platforms, tasks, and communication streams, workers can delegate these simpler tasks to managed VAs. When employees are free from busy work, they have more time to dedicate to higher-value tasks.
Working with a managed virtual assistant service like Prialto lets you access highly-qualified assistants. Prialto handles everything from onboarding, compliance, day-to-day management, and security.
For instance, you could consider monthly budgets for different departments that let team leaders delegate those tedious admin tasks.
As a start, team leaders could outsource the following tasks:
- CRM management. Get help with data management, research, maintenance, and reporting.
- Calendar management. Let VAs coordinate executives’ schedules ensuring every commitment is properly booked, and no detail goes unnoticed.
- Task management. VAs help teams stay on top of all projects. From setting reminders to organizing workflows, assistants make sure everything is on deadline.
When your team is less stressed and has less busy work to get through each day, they’ll be more productive at work.
Ready to regain thousands of work hours each month? See how Woodruff Sawyer, one of the largest insurance brokerage and consulting firms in the U.S., gains 1000 hours of productivity each month. Click here.
Maximize your employee productivity and bottom line
Every workplace is unique. What may boost productivity in one office may not help another. But managed virtual assistant services work well for busy team leaders drowning in time-consuming admin work that doesn’t allow them time to focus on the company.
Want to save thousands of hours every month and eliminate busy work? Find out how Prialto can provide managed admin at scale.
Productivity in The Workplace FAQs
1. What Is Productivity in a Workplace?
Productivity in the workplace refers to how much work can be completed in a work environment over a specific time period. When a business is fully operational with team members working at their best, productivity should be optimal.
2. Why Is Productivity Important in The Workplace?
Strong productivity levels help boost team morale and build a company culture of quality. When productivity levels are at their best, a business is able to grow and reach its full potential.
3. What Can Be Done to Increase Productivity in The Workplace?
Each company can do multiple things to increase productivity in the workplace:
- Limit distractions
- Set and regularly review realistic goals
- Motivate your team
- Prioritize wellness
- Encourage delegation
4. What Are the 5 Productivity Killers?
Productivity killers are often specific to individuals –– what kills productivity for one person may not be an issue for another. Here are the top five productivity killers likely to slow down most workers:
- Overloading employees with tasks
- Frequent distractions
- Poor workplace environment