If you’re cramped or situated in a noisy, uncontrolled space, it’s going to be more difficult to be productive at work. Stifling, unimaginative and negative co-workers can also put the kibosh on your productivity. Creating a productive workplace requires a combination of feng shui and effective hiring practices, allowing the energy of the space and its occupants to create a vibrant, successful workplace.
Empower employees to make decisions and get creative with their work. When someone makes a suggestion for increasing sales, for example, let her run with it and see what her efforts produce. When staffers are excited about work, they tend to view their jobs with more enthusiasm. And positive vibes are just as contagious as negative ones.
Give workers the tools they need to do their jobs productively and efficiently. It’s not only bad for morale, but it definitely puts a crimp in productivity when you rely on outdated software, for example, or if the copier keeps breaking down every time you have an important client meeting.
Arrange your office space so that it invites collaboration and communication among the staff when appropriate. Adjust office space and cubicles to best serve the needs of your staff. If certain staff members need solitude to be productive, for instance try to give them an office with a door. According to the American Society of Interior Designers, you should view your office and its workspaces as tools of your trade rather than just real estate where you park your employees.
Take care of your employees by giving them ergonomic chairs and computer stations. Provide sufficient resources for healthcare if you can afford it and offer a package of perks that make working for you an enjoyable experience. Give your staff enough time off to have a life outside of work and encourage employees to take their vacations. Offer flex schedules if your workflow allows.
- Bring in food to work occasionally. Most people appreciate a little treat now and then. Create a routine of bringing in breakfast on busy Monday mornings, or setting aside 30 minutes at the end of the week for a little cake and coffee. (The sugar and caffeine may even add a spark of energy to a sluggish workforce.)
- Be careful about asking employees how you can make their jobs better and what will motivate them to be more productive. You’ll often get a response like, “more money,” which may be something you want to avoid. Additionally, if you’ve got to nix an idea, you’ll only add to the unrest or lack of energy you’re trying to deal with in the first place.
Linda Ray is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years reporting experience. She's covered business for newspapers and magazines, including the "Greenville News," "Success Magazine" and "American City Business Journals." Ray holds a journalism degree and teaches writing, career development and an FDIC course called "Money Smart."