6 mistakes that are killing productivity in your business

Written by Nigel Simpkins

Lack of productivity is a huge problem in business, and it’s one that can be difficult to solve. A lot of business leaders get the wrong idea and they think that they can simply tell employees to work harder and they’ll be more productive, but it doesn’t work that way. You need to recognize that your employees are real people and there are lots of different things that could be affecting their ability to work. Some of those issues might be with them but they also might be with the work environment and the resources that you give them. The bottom line is, you can’t just blame employees for being lazy if productivity is suffering, it’s down to you to make sure that you create an environment that they can thrive in, and then they’ll start working more efficiently. The first step is to identify the root causes of lack of productivity, and then you can start finding solutions. These are some of the potential reasons that your employees aren’t very productive at work.

Poor Work-Life Balance

This is by far the biggest reason that employees struggle to reach their full potential and it’s a problem in a lot of businesses. You can be forgiven for thinking that longer hours means more work getting done because it seems logical. However, the opposite is actually true and employees that are overworked are far less productive. When people are under a lot of stress, it has a big impact on their ability to work and in severe cases, it can even lead to mental health issues. If your employees are working long days and then answering emails while they’re at home, they’re never getting a chance to relax and unwind, and that makes it difficult for them to work effectively when they’re in the office. But if you take steps to address their work-life balance and give them more time for themselves, you’ll find that they work a lot harder.

Some companies are even experimenting with a 4 day work week and the results are promising. Initially, people assume that less work will get done but that’s not the case. When people have an extra day off at the weekend, they return to work feeling well rested and ready to get on. They still manage to complete the same amount of work, if not more, than they did when they were working 5 days a week. Employees also report that they are happier and less stressed out, so it’s a win for everybody. The 4 day week doesn’t work for every company but you definitely need to find ways to improve work-life balance for your employees if you want them to be more productive.

Lack Of Job Security

This is tied into the previous issue in some ways because it’s a big cause of stress. If employees don’t feel that they have job security, they don’t feel that they’re as much a part of the company and they won’t be invested in its success. Poor job security also leads to increased stress levels and mental health issues, especially in people that are on zero hour contracts or temporary contracts. It’s best to offer permanent contracts to employees where possible because it gives them the stability that they need to work effectively. You should also try to create a culture around long term development of employees in your company. If people feel that your company is the kind of company that will keep people on and invest in their personal development over time, they will feel a lot more secure and they’ll work a lot harder.

Poorly Managed Technology

Technology is a great asset in any business and if you use it right, it will increase productivity. You can use business software to automate a lot of the basic tasks that your employees have to deal with on a daily basis, giving them more time to work on more important things. However, technology only improves productivity if it is implemented and maintained properly. A lot of businesses waste money on software that isn’t used effectively because it isn’t set up properly and there are constant problems with it. When employees are reliant on a piece of software to do their job, any issues with it will stop them from working and that lost time can quickly add up if it becomes a regular occurrence. That’s why you need to invest in good IT support to ensure that everything is working properly and any problems are resolved right away. Whenever you introduce new software into the company, it’s important that you get your IT support team to get it up and running for you so you can be sure that it is being implemented properly.

Training is so important as well because your employee will only benefit from software if they know how to use it. So many businesses spend money on new software with improved features, but employees continue using it in the same way as they would the old software and don’t take advantage of those new features because they don’t know how to use them. Whenever you introduce new software, you need to roll it out slowly and make sure that you train employees properly. Show them any new features and make sure that they understand why they’re using them and how it will improve their performance.

Being Kept In The Dark

A lot of business owners don’t think that their employees really need to know about the overall performance of the business or any challenges that you might be facing right now, but keeping your employees in the dark about these things isn’t a good idea. If people don’t have a big picture view of the company and how it is performing, they can’t see how their work contributes to that. That means that they’re just going to feel like there isn’t really much point in their work. They just come into the office, do what they have to do, and then go home. But if you include them in the bigger picture, they will have a bigger sense of pride in their work because they can see how it contributes to the success of the business as a whole.

You can use targets to help your employees understand their role in the company as a whole. For example, if you set overall sales targets for the company, and then set individual targets for your sales team, people will be able to see how they have contributed to the overall increase in sales. You should also include information about the performance of the company in team meetings so everybody knows what is happening. The more you include your employees, the harder they will work to improve the performance of the company.

Poor Supervision

If employees are performing badly, it might be the fault of their manager, so this is something that you should definitely look into. Sometimes, supervisors try to micromanage people that are working under them and even though their intentions are good, it doesn’t help productivity. These kinds of managers think that they’re helping employees and giving them good advice but what they forget is that those employees know how best to do their job because they’re doing it every day. Micromanaging tends to lead to frustration in employees and it makes them feel that they’re not trusted and valued, so they won’t be as productive. Some managers go in the opposite direction and don’t give their employees enough direction. It’s important that supervisors avoid micromanaging but they still need to give some direction and advice to those working under them. It’s all about finding that balance between the two. The expectations that managers set have a big role to play as well. If they’re not giving people enough time to complete tasks, it may appear that people are always finishing things late and they’re not being productive. However, it may not be the case that they’re unproductive, it might just be that their managers are setting unrealistic expectations.

It’s important that you take your time when hiring managers and ensure that you get experienced people. You should also use employee reviews as an opportunity to find out how managers are performing and identify any potential problems.

Low Pay

This is quite an obvious one and it’s one of the main reasons that productivity will suffer. People need to feel as though they’re valued and they’re being rewarded fairly for the work that they do. If you aren’t paying a good wage, people will do the bare minimum when they’re at work. This can be difficult because you might not be able to afford to pay a higher wage, but if you can, you should consider increasing your wages. Higher wages will also help you to attract the best candidates when you’re hiring people.

The most important thing is that you offer regular pay increases for long standing employees. If you don’t reward their loyalty, their productivity will really start to suffer and they may even leave the company.

In some cases, an employee might not be productive because they simply don’t want to work hard. However, it’s more likely that you’re making one of these big mistakes.