How to Optimise Workplace Efficiency
Ever since the beginning of the downturn in 2008, worker output per hour has stagnated while GDP, employment and total hours worked have continued to rise. This is what is known as the ‘Productivity Puzzle’, a phenomenon that baffles economists everywhere. The Office for National Statistics states that: “If the pre-2007 trend had continued, productivity would now [as of 2015] be 16% higher than it actually is.” Instead, however, productivity rates have more or less flatlined ever since 2010, with no indication of change anytime soon.
As the UK’s ‘Productivity Puzzle’ remains unsolved, it is of utmost importance that employers and business owners pay special attention to the environment in which their workers function to ensure that they can support them in their day-to-day and get the most out of their hours worked. In a stalling economic climate, any increase in worker productivity is powerful, no matter how seemingly small or insignificant.
How to Increase Worker Productivity
Though there are many ways to create a more productive workspace that facilitates and encourages efficiency and effectiveness, most of them can be narrowed down into two broad concepts: Workplace Culture, which includes things like ethos, administration and hierarchy style, worker-boss relationship and employee autonomy, and Workplace Design which includes floor plan, desk setup and computer accessories. By utilizing and making the most out of both physical and philosophical initiatives, any business owner can instigate growth in productivity.
One of the most pervasive elements of the workplace is that of its culture. Workers can easily pick up on tension and friction between employee and employer, as well as the general feelings of unease or discontent that may be present in the office. Stress is known to be a productivity killer so creating a sense of security and cooperation in the workplace is vital. Here are some of the growing trends in workplace management that may change the way the UK looks at it’s workers and their productivity.
Remote Working and Worker Autonomy
What was a complete impossibility 10 years ago is rapidly becoming the norm. Remote Working (which is when workers are allowed to work their full-time job outside of the workplace, either from or elsewhere) has even been recognized by Forbes as a serious consideration for businesses moving into the future. By allowing workers to take some or even a majority of their hours at home enables them to choose how they approach their work and make the most of their hours spent. In addition to this, remote workers tend to show more engagement and involvement when they come back to the workplace.
The way that workers interact with each other may also have a significant effect on overall worker morale and output. By changing the nature of these interactions and using less aggressive forms of communication, the workplace culture can shift dramatically from adversarial to collaborative, allowing for work to be done with much less resistance.
Of course, changing the workplace culture won’t have too noticeable of an effect if the workers simply don’t have the equipment needed in order to be efficient. This is where office setup is hugely important.
As most office work is done digitally, repetitive stress injuries such as carpal tunnel are on the rise, as well as severe back pains from sitting for extended periods of time. In order to preserve the health and productivity of your workers, items like ergonomic chairs and wrist-supporting mouse pads are a necessity.
Allowing workers to choose how they sit (or stand) at their desks also has many positives, which range from increased focus and productivity to better long term health. Standing desk arrangements have grown in popularity, and should also be a serious consideration for any workplace setup.