When discussing the factors that affect economic growth, you can’t forget about productivity in the workplace. After all, it only makes sense that a more productive workforce that can manufacture a higher volume of products or offer more efficient services will positively affect the economy at large, right?
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Today, we’ll be discussing the relationship between economic growth and productivity, and we’ll also give you some advice on how you can increase productivity levels within your own workplace.
What Is the Relationship Between Economic Growth and Productivity?
In general, there are three factors that affect the productivity of workers in any given country. The first is human capital, which is defined as the knowledge and skills that an average worker brings to the table. Human capital is largely affected by the average level of education that a worker receives.
The second factor is technological change, which is a combination of how advanced the available technology is and how effectively it is utilized.
The third factor is economies of scale, which refers to the size of the industry in a country. For example, a country with several large steel mills will have a larger economy of scale in terms of their steel production than a country with a single small steel mill.
Three Ways to Increase Productivity in the Workplace
If you’re a manager in any workplace and you’re concerned that productivity isn’t high enough, you may be wondering what you can do to change this. There are many factors that can potentially drag down productivity in a workplace and you may be at a loss as to how you will deal with all of them.
Let’s take a look at a few of the common factors that hinder workplace productivity and how you can deal with them:
Reduce Workplace Distractions
These days, the biggest causes of distractions in the workplace tend to be social media and mobile devices.
Considering the fact that social media is a one-stop-shop for news, entertainment, and communication, and considering that mobile devices offer a quick and easy way to access social media, it’s no wonder that these things can cause workers to lose focus on their tasks.
However, it’s not really fair to impose a complete ban on mobile devices. Instead, consider giving your workers one or more allotted periods of time every day to browse social media and check their text messages. By giving them this, you can ensure that they remain more productive during designated work periods.
You should also take care to ensure that aspects of your workplace itself aren’t distracting either. Is the building too hot or too cold, or is the lighting poor? All of these things can potentially affect the productivity of your workers. Providing a comfortable place for your employees to work in will do a lot to increase their productivity.
Ensure That Your Workers Have the Right Equipment
If your employees don’t have the necessary hardware or software to get the job done quickly and efficiently, this can obviously hamper their ability to be productive. If they’re being forced to create content using outdated software or if they have to do all their work on slow, obsolete computers, they’re inevitably going to waste time dealing with issues that could be avoided by using newer equipment.
It really does make a huge difference in productivity when your workers have access to modern equipment and technology. Not only that, but modern hardware can increase the overall efficiency of your workplace. For example, by installing a multi-function printer in your workplace, you can combine the functions of a printer, copier, scanner, and fax machine into one device.
You should also consider whether some of your work processes can be automated, which can leave more time for other work. For example, there exists software that can totally automate your payroll system and your HR management.
Set Reasonable Goals for Your Workers
Most people don’t work purely for the sake of working; they work to make a living and provide themselves with the means to enjoy themselves when they’re not working. That’s why you as a manager need to provide your employees with the proper motivation to get things done.
To that end, it helps to offer your workers achievable goals and encourage them to work towards those goals. Give your employees constructive criticism when necessary, and consider giving them incentives for completing a task on schedule. If your workers have clear goals and concrete reasons to complete those goals, they’ll be more motivated to do so.
What Is the Difference Between Efficiency and Productivity?
At this point, you may be slightly confused as to what exactly the difference is between productivity and efficiency. After all, both of these terms refer to how effectively a workplace is able to operate. You could certainly be forgiven if you have ever used these two terms interchangeably.
However, there is a fundamental difference between productivity and efficiency. To put it simply, productivity is a measure of how much output you can produce during a period of work, while efficiency is a measure of how much of that output meets acceptable standards of quality.
For example, a workplace with high productivity but low efficiency will be able to get a lot of work done in any given period of time, but the quality of the work produced might not be very good. Inversely, a workplace with low productivity but high efficiency won’t get very much work done, but all of the work they do produce will be of high quality.
As it is, productivity and efficiency are both incredibly important when it comes to running an effective workplace.
Three Major Contributors of Productivity
This ties into what we discussed earlier concerning how to increase productivity in your workplace. There are many factors that contribute to workplace productivity, but here are the three that we feel are the most crucial:
Your Workplace Environment
As we’ve mentioned, having a workplace environment that is comfortable to be in and free from distractions is essential when it comes to inspiring worker productivity. When work needs to be done, having the ability to focus on the work itself is crucial.
It’s also important that you do your best to promote a positive atmosphere in your workplace, one that is free from tension, discrimination, and bullying. You should also do your best to praise your employees in a timely manner, and give them honest feedback on their performance when it’s relevant.
The Use of Modern Technology
We’ve already touched on the fact that modern technology can do a lot to help a workplace run more efficiently. However, embracing the presence of smartphones and social media can also help improve employee productivity considerably.
By banning smartphones and social media from your workplace, you’re essentially telling your workers “I don’t trust you to perform your job correctly if I let you have these things.” As you can imagine, this will significantly increase the tension in your workplace and result in employees who are not engaged or motivated.
Engaging Your Employees
Offering attractive benefits is a great way to improve employee engagement, as it gives them an incentive to stay with the company. Likewise, setting achievable goals helps to engage employees, since it provides them with something concrete to work towards.
What Are the Three Most Important Areas of Development for Professional Growth?
If your goal is to continuously grow and improve yourself as a professional, this is something that you’ll need to actively work on. There are many areas where you can further develop yourself as a professional, but these are the three that we feel are the most important:
When referring to communication in the workplace, we’re talking about all aspects of communication; not just being able to talk to others, but being able to clearly yet politely express yourself in all circumstances. Whether you’re trying to resolve a conflict or give an employee constructive criticism, proper communication is vital.
Let’s be real here; if you can’t manage your time well, you’re never going to be able to get anything done. If you’re having trouble managing your time, consider using an agenda to keep track of your upcoming tasks, or use scheduling software like Sling.
“Flexibility”, in this case, is defined as your ability to adjust to different circumstances. Being flexible will allow you to complete tasks more easily since you might be more open to considering different approaches to your situation. Being flexible will also make it easier for you to deal with any unexpected problems that may occur.
How Can I Improve My Productivity?
Helping others improve their productivity at work is one thing, but improving your own productivity is another. If you’re struggling to stay productive at work, here are some things you can try:
Set Your Own Reasonable Goals
If you have a massive project you need to finish and it’s too overwhelming to even start, try breaking it down into a series of tasks that are easier to complete. By looking at a project as a collection of easy tasks instead of one impossible task, you’ll be able to stay more focused and increase your productivity.
Take Regular Breaks
It may be tempting to try and power through a large project in one go without stopping, but that’s a great way to burn yourself out and decrease your efficiency. Instead, make it a point to take regular, short breaks throughout the day.
Enjoy a cup of coffee, go for a quick walk, or take a few minutes to work on a crossword puzzle; basically, just do whatever you have to do to disconnect from work for a bit and refresh yourself.
Focus On One Task at a Time
It’s tempting to try and multitask, especially if you have a bunch of small tasks to do that individually won’t take long to complete. However, in most cases, multitasking actually decreases your productivity and makes work take longer.
Additionally, you may also be tempted to put off completing larger tasks in favour of smaller ones. Instead, it’s usually best to try and get the big stuff out of the way first, while you’re still feeling fresh and energized.
What Are Good Personal Development Goals for Work?
By setting goals for yourself, you’re giving yourself something to actively work towards, which of course can significantly increase your productivity at work. If you need some ideas for personal development goals, here are some good ones:
- Improve your time management skills
- Meet new people and build new professional relationships
- Improve your emotional resilience in the face of challenges
- Perfect your work/life balance
- Develop a mindset of continuous personal growth
These are just a few examples of work-related personal development goals you can set for yourself. It’s up to you, however, to come up with a specific set of criteria for meeting each of these goals that is relevant to your work situation and abilities.
By now, you should be not only familiar with how workplace productivity affects the economy, but also with how various factors in the workplace affect productivity. Understanding these factors is the key to running a successful and efficient workplace.
It’s not always easy to stay productive at work for sure, but if you’re able to successfully implement the techniques and practices described above, you should have a much easier time increasing your own productivity and the productivity of your workforce in general.