Small business employees are more productive than they were five years ago—but there’s still room for improvement, according to a recent survey of small business employees and managers by Staples Advantage.
More than 70 percent of both office workers and managers said they think workers are more productive today than in 2008, and identified the following essential factors in productivity:
- Mobile technology (29 percent office workers / 37 percent managers)
- Break times (23 percent office workers / 33 percent managers)
- Telecommuting (19 percent office workers / 35 percent managers
- BYOD (bring your own device) technology (35 percent workers/54 percent managers)
However, employees and managers also identified some areas that hamper productivity:
- Technology limitations (31 percent office workers / 43 percent managers)
- Non-collaborative work environments (25 percent office workers / 33 percent managers)
- Too many meetings (44 percent of both)
Given these facts, how can you make your employees even more productive?
- Update your technology. Make sure your employees have what they need to do their jobs efficiently, whether in the office or in the field. If you can’t afford to provide mobile devices and want workers to implement BYOD, take steps to protect your business data. Staples recommends creating a strong password policy on all devices and setting it to “time out” every 15 minutes; using data wipe software that can “wipe” the data off a device if it’s lost or stolen; and saving data to company servers only, not to the personal device itself.
- Provide time and space for breaks. Create a relaxing break room where employees can disconnect from the job during their breaks. Make sure to provide mandated breaks. Consider implementing group breaks (like having everyone get up once an hour to do stretches or quick calisthenics) or holding “walking meetings” outside.
- Limit meetings. Keep meetings short and to the point. Have an agenda and a leader (not necessarily you) to keep the discussion on track. Make sure someone takes notes so next steps and action items aren’t lost in the shuffle. For information such as status reports and updates, consider communicating via weekly emails or intranet instead of holding meetings.
- Create collaborative space. In addition to break rooms and meeting rooms, provide comfortable settings for employees to talk informally, such as couches or chairs and tables in out-of-the-way corners. Comfortable spaces lead to creativity.
- Allow telecommuting. You don’t have to implement remote work every day, but allowing employees to work at home one day a week can be a great way to make them more productive and loyal to your business. As with BYOD, make sure employees have the tools they need to work at home and that they follow your business’s security policies to keep your data safe.
By implementing these ideas, you can make your employees even more productive than they already are.
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