Are you experiencing a drop in productivity?

Have you noticed that the atmosphere in the workplace has somehow changed for the worse?

Tensions may be high, or deadlines aren’t being met, and everyone seems to be on edge because of it.

This could mean you’re having a bad case of workplace unproductivity. Something has “monkey wrenched” your whole mechanism, and your employees seem to be less eager to work to their full potential.

The reasons for this can be numerous. And we’re here to help you discover the potential culprits. Because if the problem isn’t uprooted in time, you could face more serious losses.

Company Goals are Unclear

You need to have clear set goals and milestones for your projects and share them with your employees. Studies show that a company’s transparency is one of the bigger factors affecting workplace productivity. Employees who feel like nothing more than a cog in a machine are less likely to offer their best.

Advice: Organise weekly or monthly meetings across departments for smaller-scale project reviews. Every quarter or every six months, hold a company-wide gathering; review company progress up until that point, and lay out new goals and milestones. This will help your employees truly feel like they’re part of a bigger mission.

Office Distractions

They come in all shapes and sizes, but by far the worst ones concern people themselves. Office drama, conflicts and cliques are very much present everywhere. People spend at least eight hours in the office with their co-workers. So naturally, their relationships can make and break their productivity cycles. Discuss the office atmosphere with your HR department, and see if there are any problem points you’ll have to address.  

Advice: If there are instances where tensions are high in the workplace, work closely with HR to solve the problem. Organise one-on-one meetings with the troublemakers, and do your best to get to the root of the problem. Separate conflicting employees, and if push comes to shove, consider letting go of the most problematic ones.

Poor Management

The employees aren’t the only human factor that can undermine productivity. Their leads, managers or supervisors can also cause unproductivity. The most common root problems include:

  • Not giving enough feedback, or micromanaging too much
  • Not delegating tasks properly
  • Lack of transparency
  • Letting stress and personal emotions affect their judgment

Advice: When appointing managers and seniors, make sure you choose people who prove to be up to the task. Managing a team requires more than just a superior skill set in a certain field. A leader needs to understand their department, handle deadlines and tasks with a cool head, and be able to recognise others’ efforts. Anyone offering less than that doesn’t deserve a place in management.

Lack of Feedback

Ever since elementary school, we’ve learned to thrive on feedback. When others acknowledge our actions and praise us for it, it signals that we’re moving in the right direction. It’s the same in business – to remain productive and motivated, employees need to know when they’re doing a good job.

Advice: Keep track of employees’ successes over a longer period of time. Add each testimonial or result to their file, and bring them up during annual reviews. On a more short-term scale, you can praise their achievements through a company newsletter. Additionally, we advise nurturing such company culture, where employees will laud each other’s successes as well. Acknowledgment from peers is just as important as a supervisor’s.

Financial Reasons

It’s probably the oldest reason in the book. When they fell like they’re not paid enough, people will be less motivated to do a good job. The goal here is to know when your employees are right, and deserve a raise. A lot of them are probably raising families, or need the money to boost their skill set, or simply like to spend their hard earned money on a decent vacation.

Advice: Have a solid financial plan for regular promotions. Keeping track of your employees’ achievements will allow you to recognise when someone is viable for a raise. And to know how to properly allocate the budget, have a sit-down with your CFO, or get a financial consultant who can guide you through the process. They’ll help you find an optimal route where your employees are be financially motivated, and the company budget doesn’t suffer.

To summarise

Employee productivity is affected by a multitude of factors. They can be financial, related to their supervisors, or showing a lack of feeling like they belong in the company. But these are just some of the reasons why your numbers are down, and the atmosphere has changed.

To truly get to the bottom of things, join forces with the HR department and comb through every team, one by one. It’s a long and tiresome process, but hearing out every person’s issue will help them feel less alone and let them know that you have their back.

Published by Michael Deane