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For organisations who prioritise motivation and performance, here are some lesser-known tips to keep employees productive

Performance is always a top priority for forward-thinking organisations — and HR is in the prime position to drive changes to processes that will maximise productivity, particularly when it comes to performance management. In fact, 89% of employees believe their performance would significantly improve with changes imposed by performance management.

With this in mind, we should consider the more subtle, lesser-known aspects that are known to impact productivity and performance. These range from choice of drink, to lighting, to contemplating your own mortality. Of course, only some of these factors can be influenced by the organisation, but they all play a small part.

Where your employees sit during office hours

Your organisation may not have considered this, but something as simple as where your employees sit and how often they are moved can have an impact on performance. According to a Wall Street Journal article, employees shifting from desk to desk every few months can increase productivity and collaboration. Employees are exposed to co-workers in other departments and therefore pick up new information, input and skills. Simultaneously, they are able to get to know more people within the company, which is positive for morale.

The notable benefit of this approach is it costs little to nothing — an important factor to growing businesses. Given the possibility that this small action might make a big difference to your organisation’s performance, it is certainly worth testing.

Offering complimentary coffee

For another low-cost and effective means of boosting productivity, it might be worth considering complimentary coffee in the office. Research conducted by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine has found caffeine improves workers’ memory and concentration, boosting cognitive performance and reducing error rates. It was also found to have a similar effect to taking a quick nap. Another source backs up this assertion, claiming 46% of employees feel they are less productive without coffee.

Varied weekend activities

There is evidence to suggest a correlation between weekend activities and workplace productivity. A study by Kevin Eschleman of San Francisco State University determined when an employee doesn’t have a creative outlet at work, introducing one during their downtime boosts productivity. Eschleman says extra-curricular activities should not be taxing in the same way your job is. In a similar vein, if you have a creative job, more practical or physically demanding hobbies can have a performance-enhancing impact on work.

The daily commute to the office

One aspect of performance rarely considered is the daily commute. Some consider it an inevitable part of working life, but in reality, it has a huge impact on workplace productivity. One source suggests those tired from a long commute to work are more likely to be distracted in the morning and wary in the afternoon, as they anticipate the return journey. As a result of this stress, they tend to have a higher rate of error than those with little or no commuting to make. This inevitably has an impact on their general productivity.

To resolve this issue, companies should consider experimenting with flexible working, such as telecommuting. If their physical presence in the office isn’t a necessity, a work-from-home alternative demonstrates a high degree of trust. It also acts as a huge company perk that would attract promising new talent. As long as employee performance is monitored and tracked using performance management software, standards will be maintained and you might witness a productivity surge.

Regular managerial communication

You’re probably aware that managers impact employee productivity and performance, but you may not realise to what degree. Managers account for up to 70% of variance in employee engagement, so employee productivity is hugely dependent on the relationship with their manager. Employees should be given reward or recognition for a job well done. They also need regular guidance and feedback in order to perform effectively.

To counteract the impact of poor managerial communication, your performance management system should enforce regular employee check-ins and feedback. Employees and managers can then discuss short-term and long-term goals, career development plans and any relevant issues that might be impeding performance.

Presenteeism (coming to work while ill)

Companies may be concerned with absenteeism, but the annual cost of presenteeism (coming to work while ill) is actually double that of absenteeism. A remarkable 90% of British workers come into work while unwell, which has a serious impact on performance levels. People are significantly less productive when they are sick. They make more mistakes and their presence in the office risks others getting ill.

To stop presenteeism becoming an ongoing problem in your organisation, address the underlying cause of why employees feel the need to turn up while they’re not fit for work. Are employees concerned an absence might result in a lost promotion? Are they overly stressed about their workload? Do they feel there is nobody at work who can fill in during their time away? HR should address all these concerns and make it clear to employees that if they are ill, it is better to stay home and recuperate.

Next Steps

Learn how moving from an annual-based performance management process to a continuous approach can dramatically improve the performance and engagement of your employees. Book a demo of our Clear Review software now and we’ll show you how.

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