Let’s face it – when it comes to productivity in the workplace, it’s near impossible to maintain it to the highest degree. In fact, it even seems counter-intuitive to think that productivity will remain at optimum levels considering that there are so many factors that seem to deride this expectation. Things like stress, mental fatigue, repetitive motion injuries, and even a lack of socializing among your team can all lower productivity.
With that in mind, how can you, as the office manager or human resources director, combat these productivity-eroding issues? While this in and of itself may seem like a gargantuan task, it’s made all the more difficult that you’ll likely need to do it without costing your company money.
First Thing’s First, Get the Right Furniture
True, we alluded that you’ll likely want to tackle these issues without costing your company a fortune, but every office, eventually, needs to replace their aging furniture. If that’s the case, why not take the opportunity to boost your team’s productivity by purchasing unique office furniture that promotes ergonomics rather than the more cost-effective but poorly made substitutes found at big box stores? Not only will this type of furniture reduce the likelihood of office injuries, your staff will see and acknowledge that the company they work for values their health. While investing in ergonomic furniture may be good for morale, you can also expect to see an increase in productivity from employees who feel valued by their employer.
Provide Complimentary Bananas and Other Produce
At less than a buck a pound, bananas are a great way to increase productivity without anyone being the wiser. Why a banana you ask? Aside from the obvious fact that they’re delicious, bananas are rich in potassium – a nutrient that is proven to lower stress levels, increase energy, and regulate blood flow.
Don’t like bananas? Swap them out for oranges. Challenge your staff to peel them in one fell swoop. The combination of focusing on this intricate task with the fresh aroma of citrus will help to energize and brighten their senses!
Get Rid of the Television in the Break Room!
While providing your team with a television in the break room might seem like a good distraction, watching television in the workplace can actually increase stress levels – which as we know, can lower productivity. By default, many office televisions are set to a 24-hour news channel. While informative, the news is rife with stories of calamitous events, political scandals and so on. Instead of a television, create a break room that promotes socializing among peers. Pleasant artwork, a bright and fun coat of paint, and natural light can all serve as a oasis to draw in and energize your staff.
Encourage Doodling in Meetings
While teachers consider doodling to be a sign that students aren’t paying attention, quite the opposite is true. Studies have shown that idle doodling increases concentration levels exponentially. Doodling prevents the brain from lapsing into a state bordering on flat lining, and instead increases the amount of information that can be retained. Make sure your next team meeting is fully stocked with pads and pens!
Increasing productivity also means you can’t fall prey to common misconceptions. For example, in our first example we discussed bringing in the kind of office furniture that is known to be better for the human body. Standing desks have become all the rage, but you should be careful of which you purchase. True, sitting at a desk for eight hours a day can be bad for one’s health, but so too can standing for eight hours. Not only is standing all day tiring, it also puts unnecessary strain on joints. By purchasing an adjustable height workstation, employees can alternate between sitting and standing, which is ideal from a health perspective.
Similarly, many companies think that treating their staff to a weekly offering of comfort food, like bagels, is a great way to boost morale. In some cases, it can actually make employees even more stressed. When the body is stressed, is has a difficult time processing unhealthy foods, like carb-rich baked goods. This however shouldn’t discourage you; there are many ways to use food to boost your team’s moral and productivity, especially when you tie it into a healthy living program.
At the end of the day, ensuring productivity ultimately comes down to a) showing the team you care about their wellbeing and b) avoiding the common misconceptions that people believe will lead to a more engaged, energized workforce.