Did you know there is a ‘productivity puzzle’ in the workforce and business are looking to HR to tackle the issue? Productivity – measured by GDP (gross domestic product) was rising 2% annually before 2008 but is currently experiencing the lowest growth rate since the second quarter of 2012, at just 1.2% in the first half of this year.
Duncan Brown, head of HR Consultancy at the Institute for Employment Studies, was quoted as saying the ‘low cost, low skilled’ model businesses have been pursuing is unproductive. There is good news, however, as improving staff productivity can be achieved with change – you just have to look at the bigger picture. Solutions include:
- Boosting morale through better pay – while increasing wages may feel counterintuitive, well paid staff reward employers with a better work ethic and higher productivity levels.
- Invest in technology and training – with better skills and more efficient software or machinery, staff can work the same hours but produce more work at a higher level. Boardrooms with state of the art equipment go a long way in achieving better results.
- Remove valueless work – this follows the Elon Musk mantra, where workers cut short calls or meetings when they’ve stopped adding value, rather than get bogged down and waste hours not being productive. Cutting down on meaningless reports and emails can also help focus employees on core tasks.
- Shorten the working day – momentum is gathering behind a six-hour day, with many believing staff can’t be at maximum productivity for eight hours in one go.
- Alter your office ergonomics – a team at Forbes Financial Council changed the physical set up of their office and noticed a dramatic increase in productivity. Swapping to an open plan layout, replacing traditional office desks with standing versions, creating a variety of meeting areas and installing a chalk-board wall all contributed to Forbes’ increased productivity.