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Why Your Office Productivity Is Down In The Doldrums

Economists often talk about something called the “productivity puzzle.” It’s the idea that we have an expanding economy with fantastic new technologies coming on board on what seems like a daily basis, and yet, people aren’t getting more done for every hour they work. Despite all the progress in technology, gains aren’t showing up in the productivity statistics.

Delve a little deeper into the data, however, and you quickly find out something interesting: some companies have improved productivity. Dramatically so. So what’s going on?

The experience of internationally-facing companies like Bosch, Unilever, and Audi, shows that it is humanly possible with today’s technology to improve worker output. We’re not reaching the “hard limits” of technology as some commentators suggest. What seems to be happening is that some businesses just aren’t following best-practice when it comes to boosting revenue per hour worked. The knowledge exists, but it’s not being used on the ground.

Smaller companies without access to the best consultants tend to fall down in certain areas, particularly when it comes to the way they organize and run their offices. Making changes here could yield substantial productivity benefits. Here’s how your office might be letting you down.

You Don’t Have A Clean Desk Policy

Clean desks are a hallmark of some of the most successful companies in the world, with many having official “clean desk” policies to ensure as little clutter as possible. Why companies do this is no mystery: research from unclutterer.com shows that workers surrounded by clutter are distracted, make mistakes, and get less done with their time at work.

Messy desks are also potentially dangerous. Clutter can get on the floor, causing a trip hazard, diverting business resources away from the core activities.

You Don’t Use Electronic Filing

Okay, so your business generates thousands of documents: that’s to be expected. But what’s no longer acceptable in 2019 is storing all those papers in physical format (unless required by law). Top companies, like Dropbox, use digital filing methods to store and retrieve all their documents. What’s more, they use smart software that can automatically file new documents away, cutting down on rote, dull administration tasks. Use a third-party, off-the-shelf programme to take over complex document handling needs, and stop relying on old-fashioned archiving and storage methods. It’s expensive, inefficient, and takes you away from your core operations.

You Work In The Dark

People aren’t separate from the natural world (although this can be hard to believe as they sip their coffee and tap away at the computer); they are linked to it in fundamental, biological ways. People, in general, are hard-wired to rely on the sun as a signal for their daily cycle, and so making sure that the sun features in their daily life should be a priority.

Working in a dark, dingy office all day long is not conducive to work or good health. People need exposure to the sun to activate hormones which signal that it’s time to wake up and get on with the day. Research shows that people tend to work more productively when they have a view of the outside world and can see the sky. No, you’re probably not going to be able to offer all workers a 20th-floor view of the surrounding cityscape from a glass-fronted office skyscraper, but merely opening the blinds can help. Remember, the view doesn’t have to be magnificent - it just has to be there.

You Don’t Have An Equipment Schedule

There’s nothing more time-consuming for workers than faffing around, ordering new equipment when things run out. A much better solution is to build a relationship with sites like FilmsourceInc.net to deliver supplies before existing stock runs out automatically. Waiting three days for printer ink to arrive could severely hamper your overall productivity and cause workers to become frustrated about the fact that they don’t have the tools they need to do their jobs.

You Don’t Use Scheduling Tools

Did you know you no longer need to hire admin staff to do scheduling? If you don’t, you could be one of those companies stuck in the productivity doldrums. Scheduling tools allow you to do all kinds of things, from taking bookings on your corporate website to keeping track of workers when they’re in the field.

You Don’t Use The Cloud

The cloud is a bit of a tricky technology to get your head around, but once you understand the concept, the business applications are clear. The cloud allows workers to access company data, no matter their location or device. There’s no need to make notes off-site and then update on-site computers with the data: people can create new information on-location and automatically store it on the cloud. Often cloud services are so seamlessly integrated that people don’t even realize that they are using them: they just work.

You Don’t Allow Sharing

Ideally, you’d like all the people in your office to work together optimally to achieve your business objectives. But sometimes, individual team objectives can interfere with your overall goals. For instance, competition between departments might mean that it’s strategically advantageous for some members of your organization to work against the interests of others.

As a first step, you want to undermine the incentives that lead to this kind of behavior. Ceasing all departmental reward structures might be one method, but as a second step, you may find it useful to institute the use of tools which foster collaboration between departments. There are many tools on the market for businesses, including SharePoint, Slack, Live Meeting, and GoToMeeting.

You Don’t Create A Community

Where do the best ideas come from? Usually, they emerge in conversation with others. But if your workers have no place to go and chat about what they’re doing, then they can’t exchange ideas and come up with ways to make your organization better. Top companies always provide office space for communities to develop. Workers can share their skills and experience in these settings, boosting overall knowledge transfer and boosting overall productivity.


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