Maximizing employee productivity is a constant goal—and challenge. Studies show that happier employees are more productive. Ian Edwards, COO and Co-founder of BeeLiked, shares tips on keeping employees engaged, happy and productive.

Since employee engagement and retention is key to business success, organisations are always asking how to increase productivity and work efficiency. If you’re looking to inspire a more productive workforce, these 15 easy tips, including innovative employee engagement activities such as gamification, are a great way to get started.

  1. Improve Your Work Environment

It seems so simple, but many companies don’t make a healthy work environment a priority. It’s a short task to complete yet can have a huge impact. Keeping the office clean, sprucing the workplace up with new paint and fixtures, bringing in more natural light, removing clutter, and setting a congenial tone that reflects your organisation’s culture are all small steps that make employees feel more comfortable and relaxed which, in turn, makes them more productive. Employment productivity can only be achieved if employees feel they work in an environment that meets their needs & allows them to work at their best capacity.  

  1. Use Productivity Apps

The tools employees use in their work to make tasks easier and streamline workflows also play a huge role in productivity and work efficiency. There are thousands of productivity apps available for personal and business use, but the best ones help employees get organised, improve habits, and increase focus. A few of the most popular ones include:

  • ABBYY FineReader, considered the best app for OCR (optical character recognition), allows users to convert scans into searchable PDFs, Word, or Excel documents. Apple’s iWork has three apps that foster amazing work. Pages helps create sensational looking documents; Numbers is the alternative spreadsheet; and Keynote is used to create stunning presentations.
  • Google’s G Suite for Business contains Gmail, Docs, Drive, Calendar, Meet, and more including shared calendars, video and voice conferencing, and a team messaging app. It’s all designed to make work more collaborative and productive.
  • Microsoft’s most recent Office app allows employees to get work done on mobile devices. Word, Excel, and PowerPoint are now combined into a single app which means employees get work done faster and more efficiently.
  • The Prezi Presentation app makes it easy to collaborate and design presentations. Predesigned templates save employees time and effort.
  1. Gamification Software

Employee engagement can be difficult to inspire and far too easy to lose. 89% of employees who use gamification say they’re happier and more productive at work. Organisations can use entertaining games such as Spin the Wheel, a Cryptic Image Quiz, and Multi-Media Contests to increase employee engagement. Gamification also helps make employees feel more connected with the three important productivity concepts as laid out by author Daniel Pink: autonomy, mastery, and purpose.

  1. Set Goals

Employees feel more fired up and motivated to achieve if they know what’s expected of them. Make sure your organisation’s mission and goals are clearly communicated. Encourage employees to use their available productivity tools to carry out assignments and meet targets.

  1. Provide Feedback

Offering constructive feedback is an incredible way to foster employee growth, improve trust and communication, and strengthen bonds. To ensure feedback is given and received in the most productive way possible, be sure to:

  • Avoid giving unsolicited advice.
  • Be specific.
  • Practice empathy.
  • Encourage a two-way conversation.
  • Focus on performance, not personality.
  • Instead of waiting for quarterly or yearly reviews, make feedback a regular part of company life. And always be sure to follow up to see if an employee is putting the feedback into action or needs further guidance.
  1. Training Your Employees

Continual training to improve skills is a crucial part of ensuring productivity and it benefits employees and employers alike. Proper training also leads to greater efficiency and productivity.

  1. Have Clear Communication

In nearly every aspect of life, clear and open communication is the key to success. Without it, relationships end and businesses fail. If you want to be rewarded with a more productive workforce, be sure to set firm expectations and responsibilities and clearly communicate them to employees.

  1. Celebrate Achievements

Probably the most overlooked productivity tool, celebrating employee achievements big and small makes for happier employees who are inspired to perform more meaningful work. Aside from obvious employee needs, be sure to let employees know you notice and appreciate how hard they work to achieve the organisation’s mission.

  1. Don’t Micromanage

If employees feel pressured to work a certain way that’s contrary to how they best perform, happiness decreases and productivity suffers. Every organisation has rules and expectations but rigidity over small details or approaches is a motivation killer.

  1. Display Appreciation

Perhaps the number one secret to productivity is to show employees your appreciation, and the research proves it. Employees who feel appreciated are healthier, experience lower stress, and have fewer sick days.

  1. Provide Incentives

Employee incentive programs keep employees engaged and motivated. Interestingly, a recent survey found that while incentives that recognise an individual’s productivity are important, seven in 10 employees said they prefer team-based incentives. Cue gamification!

  1. Encourage Breaks From Work

We’re not talking about vacations. Rather, mini-breaks throughout the workday help employees recharge and feel energised for the next task. Techniques include asking employees not to eat meals at their workstation, offering in-house yoga sessions, and encouraging short walks.

  1. Improve Recruitment By Focusing On Cultural Fit

Great cultural fit is about employees feeling connected to the values of your organisation. It does not mean hiring people who are identical. A great company culture reflects a diverse workforce. Making sure any new hires ‘gel’ with the team is a must, especially when your team is working together every day.

  1. Encourage Self-Development

Often referred to as “learning agility,” employee self-development comes in the form of formal learning, work-based learning, self-directed learning, and professional activities. Employees who continually improve their job skills through self-development are more motivated and productive. It also helps them pursue career goals and interests, build confidence, and be more autonomous.

  1. Encourage Work-Life Balance

An important aspect of a healthy work environment, work-life balance reduces stress and helps prevent workplace burnout. If you want to save money, improve work efficiency, and maintain a more productive workforce, create a work environment that prioritises a work-life balance that works for each employee’s individual needs.

By Lisa Baker, Senior Editor

Senior Editor Lisa Baker is the owner of Need to See it Publishing Group, providing contract news for business and news sites across the UK. Lisa is an experienced HR writer and commentator, editing HR publications for more than 5 years.