Motivating yourself to be productive isn't easy, but you probably have some favorite tactics for keeping yourself on task and moving your business forward. Motivating your employees to be more productive is another matter altogether, but it's even more vital to your company's success.
To stay motivated, you can always remind yourself why you started your business in the first place. Needless to say, constantly reminding your employees why they need their jobs is unlikely to have the same effect. What will, on the other hand, is consciously focusing on engagement and interaction. Companies that invest in increasing employee engagement see significant increases in productivity and profits.
What makes employees feel engaged will vary from company to company and employee to employee. In most cases, though, taking these four steps can help you promote a more interactive, motivating, and productive workplace without having to spend a fortune on new initiatives.
1. Bring your office into the 21st century.
If your employees are still confined to walled-off cubicles, then upgrading your office should be the first step. Barriers aren't conducive to engagement and collaboration, which are essential for boosting productivity among today's employees. Make your office more collaboration-friendly by tearing down these walls and designing the space to promote more engagement and movement.
For example, place the copiers and waste baskets in common areas to make employees more likely to run into each other. Have different types of workspaces available in addition to employees' desks so your team members don't feel chained to their desks. In addition, standing workstations like those from Varidesk and biophilic (naturally green) elements can help keep your staff energized. You can also try switching out desktops for laptops and transitioning to cloud storage to make it easier for employees to get up, move around the office, and collaborate.
2. Put employee well-being first -- productivity will follow.
Healthy employees are happy employees, and they're more productive into the bargain. Therefore, as a manager of people, it's important that you put employee wellness before productivity per se. In fact, 63 percent of companies that reported seeing improvements in employee engagement also had a leadership team that supported a wellness initiative, according to the Society for Human Resource Management.
Unfortunately, some of these programs don't pan out as expected. When helping your organization prioritize wellness, instead of forcing participation in a mandatory program, ensure that everything about your office culture incorporates wellness. While active workspaces and naturalistic décor definitely help, you must also lead by example. Take walks at lunchtime, actively encourage employees to take sick days when they're ill, and make wellness activities like group yoga or coaching more convenient (but not mandatory) for employees to engage in together.
3. Don't command employees, mentor them.
To grow your business, you have to help your employees grow, both personally and professionally. In addition to encouraging better health habits and leading by example, help them further develop their professional skills through coaching and mentoring. Then, let them test those skills by giving them more responsibilities and offering constructive feedback.
Not everyone is an entrepreneur, but nearly everyone seeks improvement and growth. In fact, a recent poll by Ceridian shows that 91 percent of employees consider opportunities to learn and grow among the most important aspects of their careers. Provide these opportunities by empowering your team members to plan and execute their own projects while offering insights and guidance to inspire them.
4. Understand and accept different work styles.
Some employees may seem as though they aren't productive because they don't work in the same way as others. For example, some people need to doodle or fidget during meetings to better focus their attention on the subject matter. Others learn best through hands-on experience and visual examples, so they may seem inattentive to verbal and written instructions.
The best way to help employees with different learning and work styles become a cohesive, highly productive team is to be open about and accepting of those differences. Employees can more easily accept a fidgeter when they know he isn't wasting their time, and the fidgeter doesn't have to feel ashamed of his quirk. The hands-on learner can skip straight to her most beneficial way of learning, and those instructing her won't be frustrated at her seeming lack of attention to their verbal guidance.
Maximum productivity has always been the holy grail of business, but these days we know that achieving it isn't about having the latest technology or employing the largest workforce. It's about engaging your workforce. After all, for today's employees, nothing is as great a motivator as working for a company that cares.