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7 top tips for a productive (and happy) workforce

Details: Written by Kate Hutchinson |

Happiness makes people more productive at work, according to the latest research from the University of Warwick. Some days, you or your team are just not firing on all cylinders and you can't figure out how to motivate an unproductive and unhappy workforce. This blog will equip you with 7 actionable tips to get you and your team back on track, straight away.

The benefits of happiness at work

Productivity benefits

The University of Warwick has found that happiness makes people around 12% more productive.

Paid work is one of the lowest-ranked happiness-inducing activities in the UK according to the University of Oxford.

Whilst high job satisfaction and general happiness in the workplace are in the interest of workers, research suggests it is also in the interests of their employers.

A 2019 study conducted in collaboration with British Telecoms showed that when employees of a pharmaceutical company were content and invested in their job, productivity improved and customer relationships were also strengthened.

So, what is getting in the way of employee happiness at work?

Barriers to productivity (and happiness) at work

Barriers to productivity in the workplace

Whilst we can agree that ‘happiness is everything’, it might not be the only reason behind the low productivity in your business.

Here are just a few of the most common happiness barriers limiting your team’s productivity potential.

Lack of professional development opportunities.

  • It's no secret that strong career development opportunities are one of the most compelling ways of attracting and retaining talent in your organisation.
  • A lack of development scope can result in your staff feeling undervalued and unproductive due to little or poor training.
  • Once you invest in your team’s training and development, you are guaranteed to see productivity rates soar.

Lack of direction from management.

  • It is estimated that nearly 46% of staff leave a business meeting not knowing what they are meant to do next. /li>
  • When a clear direction is lacking from management, staff productivity and confidence levels rapidly decline.
  • Without direction, staff are unsure of the overarching goals not only for an individual project but also for the company as a whole.

Poor working environment.

  • Bad working conditions can wreak havoc on employee productivity and this has been worsened since the pandemic.
  • According to a report from the World Bank Group, poverty rates post- Covid have risen to about 150 million people, often living and working in poor or unsuitable conditions- including those who work remotely.
  • Poor hygiene facilities, insufficient lighting, insufficient equipment and unsociable spaces are just a few of the elements that can seriously impact a worker’s productivity levels and morale.
  • What can you do to make your team more productive?

    Did any of the above productivity barriers sound familiar to your business?

    Why not start making actionable changes today, starting with our 7 top tips for a happy and productive workforce?

    7 top tips for a productive (and happy) workforce

    Examples of how to be productive at work

    1. Organise training and personal development opportunities
    2. We weren’t lying when we said this is a surefire way to increase your staff’s productivity. Now we know you’re already thinking “but staff training solutions are expensive” and that you simply don't have the budget.

      The good news is, The Skills Network can provide your learning cohort with a plethora of fully funded (that means free) professional development courses.

      Thanks to the Adult Education Budget (AEB) and The Scottish Funding Council we can deliver flexible online training and fully accredited qualifications to your staff at no cost.

      Choose from free online Business Administration courses to Leadership and Mental Health First Aid, we have got a wide range of free online courses for almost every industry sector.

    1. Lean in to flexible working
    2. According to Forbes flexible work arrangements allow your staff to work at a time that is not only most beneficial to them but a time that means they will be at their most productive.

      43% of workers in a global survey agreed that flexibility in their working hours helped them achieve greater productivity- including 30% saying that time saved by not commuting daily enabled them to be more productive.

    1. Introduce a staff well-being policy
    2. A staff health and wellbeing policy is critical for any business seeking to maximise the happiness and productivity of its employees. The bottom line is, employers have a duty of care towards their staff, which means supporting your employees in a proactive way.

      According to High Speed Training a staff well-being policy could help lessen the 73 billion pounds annual cost to the UK economy caused by presenteeism and absenteeism.

      Here at The Skills Network, we have a huge range of supportive online content and free online training courses to support your workforce with its well-being provision.

    1. Embrace productivity technology
    2. There are so many free productivity tools available right at your fingertips to help get with communication, workflow management and getting the most out of your team.

      Luckily for you, Tech Radar has created the ultimate Best productivity tools of 2023 list just for you.

      From cross-collaborative Trello boards to time blocking apps that help with calendar blocking, there really is something for everyone, no matter how big or small your team is.

    1. Conduct a business process review
    2. Conducting a business process review or BPR is an incredibly effective way of maximising productivity and ensuring workflows in your team are as frictionless as possible.

      Streamlining your workflow via a BPR can save on costs and ultimately better the quality of the product or service that your business provides.

      Perhaps one of the most famous demonstrations of an effective BPR implementation was at Ford Motor Company in the 1990s. Using BPR, Ford streamlined their accounting workflow by digitising their invoicing, introducing the process of ‘Invoiceless Processing’ and improving their vendor relations.

      The benefits of BPR are still going strong today with huge companies such as Hershey increasing their productivity rates by 30% in the manufacturing process.

    1. Encourage routine
    2. Encourage your staff to consider when they are most productive and stick to a routine that caters for this. The benefits of a regular work routine among your workforce are incredibly valuable and will help boost team productivity.

      Research by the Neuroscience School uncovered that having regular work processes helped workers to spend less brain time and energy on their daily tasks, which in turn gave them more cognitive space for creative thinking and focus for complex tasks.

      A work-from-home routine is just as important for remote workers as they might have other personal commitments and distractions throughout their day, which may affect their productivity.

      Thanks to the pandemic and unprecedented surge in home workers, the internet is flooded with content about how to build the best work from home routine.

    1. Improve poor business communication skills
    2. We’ve saved the most powerful tip until the last.

      Effective communication skills have been repeatedly listed as one of the most in-demand soft skills among employers for years. Communication skills feature at the top of every list, every year, and yet they are so often neglected within businesses!

      Poor workplace communication skills can lead to staff not knowing what tasks to prioritise and what is expected of their role, leading to low productivity.

      The Skills Network can help your business build skills for effective communication and improve communication methods.

      We have a range of online professional development courses to help your business reap the benefits of communication skills training including:

      • Communicating a work CPD
      • Deliver excellent customer service CPD
      • Leading and motivating a team CPD
      • Negotiating and influencing CPD
      • Understanding leadership CPD

      In summary, a happy company is a more productive company.

      Why not try actioning our 7 top tips for productivity this week?

      Now, wasn’t that a productive 10-minute read? 😉