Most workers want to be productive in their roles, but in the modern office, there are so many distractions that it can be hard to maintain focus.
A recent survey suggests that office workers can do as little as three hours' work each day. The usual suspects eat into people's office time with social media, drink and snack breaks, and watercooler moments helping them get through the day. To boost productivity, a company can develop a range of strategies, venturing into draconian territory.
Create a place for fun - Call it a huddle room, a de-stress zone or just the coffee room, but having a dedicated place for people to relax will help the office environment. Make it small enough so only a few people can use it at once, and the rest of the office should be more productive until they get their turn. Creating a space where people can chill out helps them go back to their desks better prepared to concentrate.
The technical approach to productivity - One big time sink for workers is using their notebook or desktop PCs for personal affairs. Having your IT department limit access to online shopping sites and social media can help improve productivity. Workers will do these tasks on their phones, but will spend their PC time on work and office tasks. The company should not ban access to news or general sites, as people will start to feel oppressed if they are forced to work in a vacuum.
When it comes to mobile devices, the office should have a policy about their use, with warnings for people who spend all day on a device. Generally, setting them to silent should be the norm, and personal calls should be taken away from open areas. Taking mobiles into meetings should also be frowned upon.
Make sure workers are comfortable - Another step to boosting productivity is to ensure that people work in a comfortable environment. If workers are uncomfortable, then they will be up wandering about more which in turn leads to distracting others. Comfortable adjustable office chairs that are matched to the desks, with good back support, arm and headrests will help keep people at their desks longer. A small investment in higher quality office furniture can bring about a surprising rise in productivity.
Highlight the benefits of a productive day - As part of a balanced approach to the office day, business leaders and HR should welcome and encourage workers taking the initiative when it comes to productivity. Excessive time wasting should be punished, but people who apparently have more time on their hands should have more work delegated to them. Office goals and targets should be highlighted and celebrated when met, while training and development will help workers focus on their roles and understand the company's objectives better.