With employee turnover higher than ever despite innovative company policies (from unlimited vacation to paternity leave to generous stock option plans) becoming commonplace, it can be challenging to keep talented team members productive, engaged and happy. In fact, according to a recent Gallup poll, only 34% of American workers feel engaged at their workplace, and most unengaged workers eventually either leave, are let go, or are a threat to a healthy company culture.
What’s the key to enhancing employee productivity and incentivizing them enough to perform at their very best, day in and day out? On top of the usual suspects – merit-based promotions, pay raises, acknowledgment of good work and more – there are other tangible strategies far too many business owners often overlook.
Let’s look at four strategies you can implement in the coming year to stay ahead of the competition and boost employee productivity in the workplace.
Providing Employees With Ergonomic Supplies
Being comfortable at work is critical to an employee’s output, and the equipment a company provides for its employees is an important aspect of that level of comfort. When a worker is experiencing discomfort, not only will they be more distracted from being productive, but it could also cost big-time in terms of finances. The Ohio State University’s Spine Research Institute actually found that a chronic lower back injury (a common side effect of poor posture or a lackluster office chair) for an employee typically costs a business around $100,000 due to workers’ compensation and increased medical bills – and these losses get magnified over time.
For this reason, providing employees with ergonomic supplies and equipment is a great place to start when it comes to boosting employee productivity – whether that’s with ergonomic chairs, correct placement of keyboards, a standing desk or something else related. One company making waves across this landscape is Autonomous, a California-based company dedicated to making its customers work smarter and healthier with innovative office products. “Everyone works. Everyone works from 18 to 65. Everyone works 8-12 hours a day on average. The office is where people spend most of their life, but it's just shocking that there are very few new products and innovations in the office in the last 50 years. We're looking at each and every boring product in the office and we will reinvent them one by one, through technologies,” said Duy Huynh, founder and CEO of Autonomous.
Giving Workers A Choice Of Desk
There’s a respectable amount of research linking the negative impacts of sitting for extended periods of time on an individual’s health and wellness. For instance, a study by the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) discovered that 54% of participants reduced back and neck pain simply by cutting back on their sitting time by 66 minutes per day. Additionally, another study focused on bus drivers found that participants who increased their standing time by 50% also cut their risk of heart disease in half – highlighting the negative side effects of prolonged sitting.
A healthy workforce is a productive workforce. In order to sidestep these harmful effects, consider giving employees an option to select a standing desk. This will get their blood flowing without them needing to leave their work stations, and could result in a sizable boost in team morale.
Offering Employee Self-Care Packages
Regardless of industry, company size or management personnel, the workplace being an environment filled with stress and anxiety is almost inevitable. The American Institute of Stress is on the record saying, “occupational pressures and fears are far and away the leading source of stress for American adults.” While some level of stress may help create a healthy amount of competitive company spirit, it’s certainly a slippery slope when it comes to employee productivity.
In order to combat workplace stress and keep workers productive, consider following the lead of top-tier companies like Twitter and Google by offering services like weekly yoga classes, entertaining break rooms, or even massages. If you don’t have the resources to do so, there are other, more affordable options like offering discounted gym memberships to employees, healthy snacks and encouraging active functions like “walk and talk” meetings. Lastly, you can take small steps toward creating a company culture that values self-care simply by facilitating optional team walks during the lunch hour or healthy step-count competitions.
Implementing Remote Work Policies
The world is growing evermore digital year after year, and all this technology has enabled telecommuting and remote work to be more plausible and productive than ever before. In fact, a Global Workplace Analytics survey discovered that remote work has seen a 103% spike among non self-employed people over the past decade. Tech companies, big and small, are beginning to implement weekly work-from-home days or choosing to hire remote employees.
On top of that, according to research from Hubstaff, not only do remote employees clock in more hours on average, but they’re found to be more engaged, productive, perform better and take less sick leave days relative to their in-office counterparts. If you don’t yet have a remote work policy in place, starting small is recommended – consider allowing your employees to work from home every other Friday or once per month. Then, take inventory of how the remote days went, what tools and rules need to be set in place to make them more effective and iterate from there.
Whether you run a scrappy startup or a Fortune 500 company, enhanced employee productivity could mean the difference between your organization gaining a leg up on competitors or quickly falling behind. It’s also a very delicate balancing act – pushing employees too hard will likely result in burnout and less employee productivity across the board. From purchasing standing desks to investing in employee self care packages, in the coming year, consider applying these four ideas to your company roadmap to keep workers focused, productive, and satisfied.
Original article by Jia Wertz at Forbes Magazine