9 Things That Undermine Your Employee’s Productivity

Albert Howard

Updated on:

9 Things That Undermine Your Employee’s Productivity

Frustrated that your team is not as productive as you want them to be? You’re not alone. As researchers found, employees are only 60 percent as productive as they should be.

A team of hardworking and highly productive people will drive your business to success and help you reach your goals. Conversely, an unproductive team will make it impossible to satisfy customer demands, which in turn, will affect your bottom line.

So, what’s holding your team back? Keep reading to uncover productivity killers at your workplace and how to stamp them out.

Work Environment

If you, like most companies, shifted to remote work during the pandemic, you know how the working environment can affect employee performance. For some, it worked out great – the working conditions were more comfortable, and employees could focus better – and productivity went over the roof.

For others, it was much harder to get work done with all the distractions. Adjusting to the new environment proved more difficult, and most people couldn’t create a dedicated workspace.

It goes without saying that your team’s workspace plays a huge role in their productivity. If your team works remotely, you can still help them make the best of their work environment. Here’s how:

  • Encourage them to invest in ergonomic office furniture. Where possible, offer a stipend towards this cause.
  • Encourage them to set up their home offices near natural lighting, which has been shown to boost employee productivity. That way, they won’t have to suffer from eye strain and headaches associated with poor lighting.
  • Encourage them to add plants in their home offices as they help reduce stress and improve job satisfaction.

Beyond the material things, you must promote a positive, safe, and secure workplace atmosphere. Give your workers a safe zone to express themselves and perform their duties without fear of being punished or humiliated.

To achieve that, you must create a healthy environment that promotes values like teamwork, transparency, cooperation, and accomplishment. More importantly, implement proper recognition and reward programs and make them part of your company culture.

Employee Disengagement

Employees are the core of all your business operations and influence its overall performance and profitability. Evidently, how you treat your employees will reflect on their engagement and actions.

One Gallup study found that organizations with highly engaged employees report increased productivity and reduced absenteeism. A strong workplace relationship makes people feel more connected, consequently making them more motivated.

Naturally, employees tend to be more productive when they feel motivated, ultimately contributing to the company’s success. Creating a successful company culture helps people develop a sense of belonging and feel supported.

For this to work, you must curate company values that promote a greater sense of purpose, including corporate volunteering. When everyone knows what they are working towards, they’ll have a clear direction to follow.

Work Processes

Your company relies heavily on certain processes that streamline all activities, and their absence can hugely impact your company’s productivity. From recruiting, onboarding and performance management to task delegation and compensation, you need processes that empower workers to accomplish their tasks efficiently.

Developing these processes can be time-consuming, but once established, you’ll be more organized and efficient, and so will your team. Therefore, find the most repetitive tasks and projects and build processes that make it easier to execute them.

Employee Training

Do you offer training and career development opportunities for your employees? If not, it could explain why their productivity levels are dwindling. You see, the business world is always evolving. So, you want to keep your teams updated with the latest trends to stay competitive.

Ongoing employee training provides your workforce with the relevant skills and knowledge they need to thrive in their roles. An untrained worker won’t know what they need to do or how to do it. They may put in all their effort, but they won’t be as productive or efficient.

With the proper training, employees will understand exactly what they need to do and how to do it. They will see the bigger picture of their outcomes, and since they are capable, they will become more productive.

Unclear Goals

You will face multiple challenges if you don’t have clearly defined goals in place. Think about it. Employees have nothing to focus on if the company goals are unclear. Instead, they are just tackling tasks and checking items off their list to get them out of the way.

Setting goals is not only the perfect way to channel efforts toward productive tasks, but also provides the most efficient way to measure productivity. Creating goals gives employees targets to accomplish and reduces time wasted in asking questions.

That said, goals are only effective if they are S.M.A.R.T – specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based. Goals that are general or too unrealistic can lead to employee burnout and frustration. Eventually, this can increase turnover.

Lack of Technology and Innovation

Using slow, outdated, or ineffective tools can be frustrating for your teams. Over time, this frustration will boil over and erode your employees’ satisfaction and engagement. Eventually, their performance and productivity levels will reduce, and so will your profits.

The right tools, on the other hand, empower your team members to work more efficiently. When selecting the tools to implement in your business, you must be careful. Don’t just pick a tool because it works great for a different team or another company.

You must consider factors like company size, your type of business, and whether you have salaried or hourly employees. For example, if you’re looking at time management tools, you may have to decide whether monthly time tracking spreadsheets or automated time trackers are more suitable.

For a large corporation, it may be more complicated to use time tracking spreadsheets due to the high rate of errors and inaccuracies. Additionally, project management tools promote an efficient and streamlined workflow, as well as facilitate better collaboration and teamwork.

Ineffective Supervision and Leadership

It is said that a team is built in the image of its leader. So, it follows that if management is incompetent, the team will be unproductive. Poor leadership is bad news for any business and is usually the leading cause of an organization’s downfall.

When the workforce starts complaining about poor leadership, it won’t be long before they start looking for jobs elsewhere. As a leader, manager, or supervisor, your roles include motivating, inspiring, and encouraging those under your command. Failure to do that, and productivity will suffer.

Moreover, consider performing regular reviews and provide feedback to show that you care about your team. Every accomplishment should be acknowledged, and mistakes promptly addressed.

Good management practices can help enhance and maintain employee productivity.

Poor Communication

Ineffective communication can have serious implications for your business. For starters, your workforce can’t function properly as a unit, making it difficult to achieve goals. They won’t know the hierarchy and expertise within the company, meaning they may waste a lot of time chasing down a piece of information.

Effective employee communication promotes tighter bonds among team members, promoting improved collaboration and coordination. When employees communicate freely and openly, they will build trust, work faster, and ultimately, be more productive.

Additionally, excellent communication is the key to positive employee engagement, and engaged workers deliver high-quality work.

Lack of Concern for Employee Wellness

Even before the Covid-19 pandemic, 61 percent of the workforce reported being burned out in their current job. Another 31 percent felt high levels of stress. When your workers are stressed, productivity will suffer.

They can’t focus on work, and, worse, become more prone to making mistakes. On top of that, the more stressed your employees are, the more likely they will take sick days. Even if they come to work in their condition, you can’t expect to get much done.

Your best strategy? Introduce your teams to wellness programs. According to studies, wellness initiatives can boost employee productivity by up to 11 percent. The good news is that you don’t need a big budget to get started.

You can create programs of your own that give workers the resources and independence to meet their personal health goals. Here are some ideas:

  • Set daily or weekly wellness goals for the entire company. For instance, you can introduce fitness trackers and set a goal to walk a certain number of total steps each day or week.
  • Encourage team members to take regular breaks throughout the workday to do basic stretching exercises, get some fresh air, or walk the dog.
  • Organize team-building activities, virtually or in the office.
  • Allow team members to take mental health days, so they can relax and reenergize.

For this to work, you must lead by example. So be sure to participate in all your initiatives.

Ready to Improve Employee Productivity?

Now it’s your turn. You don’t have to make drastic changes to get productivity back on track. You simply need to identify your biggest productivity challenges that are stopping your workforce from achieving their full potential and determine the best strategies to solve them.