Employees spend an average of five hours and 41 minutes at their desks every day, but what are they accomplishing? Are they making the most of the workday or are distractions and lack of knowledge affecting productivity?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, productivity decreased by 3% in the nonfarm business sector during the fourth quarter of 2015. How can organizations improve this statistic? Pressuring employees to work harder or forcing them to come in early and leave late are not realistic solutions. Instead, they will only decrease team satisfaction and increase turnover. To effectively address a decline in productivity, management must evaluate current business practices and deploy the right technology.
Here are four ways to boost employee productivity:
1. Avoid Information Overload
Emails, news alerts, social media posts, chat conversations – where does it end? The amount of information employees encounter on a daily basis can quickly become overwhelming and negatively impact productivity. Documenting the business process, or a “brain dump”, allows employees to capture excess information and turn their focus to the task at hand. Create a knowledge base where employees can upload, as well as find, information, documents, video and more, in one place. This ensures valuable information is not lost and employees can focus on completing daily goals and meeting deadlines.
2. Don’t Reinvent the Wheel
Nothing kills productivity faster than redoing work that has already been completed. Avoid this problem by providing employees with an easy way to communicate and collaborate. Their experiences and expertise can enable others to learn and produce results quickly, accurately and thoroughly.
For example, at Devada, we have interviewed more than 120 IT executives overseeing anywhere from a dozen to more than 500 developers. One of the questions we always ask is, “What do developers need to keep in mind as they begin new projects?” More often than not, the response is, “Don’t reinvent the wheel.” Instead of writing code from scratch, developers can get help from their peers. Q&A communities provide a forum for developers to ask and answer questions and even share code. That way, whether across the room or around the world, developers are helping other developers complete their work more expeditiously.
3. We Have the Technology – Use It
The McKinsey Global Institute discovered that the use of social technologies, like knowledge sharing solutions, can raise productivity levels by 20% to 25% by:
- Turning messages into content
- Producing searchable records of knowledge
- Facilitating “faster, more efficient, more effective collaboration”
Enterprise knowledge sharing and social collaboration platforms can effectively improve productivity by capturing knowledge, making it easy to access, and also identifying subject matter experts (SMEs). Employee productivity will increase as they see the value of, and are recognized for, shared knowledge.
With knowledge sharing and social collaboration platforms, organizations can easily create online communities. However, getting employees to actively participate is often a challenge. By incorporating gamification into your community, companies can successfully encourage employee engagement. For example, if employees are rewarded for brain dumping knowledge or answering a question posted by a colleague, they will be more likely to contribute – all the while becoming more productive. With AnswerHub, badges, reputation points, and status are all built-in features to motivate users to reach various goals and achievements.
Most organizations want to improve the productivity of employees. However, to accomplish this goal, management must evaluate current business processes. If employees face information overload, a knowledge base can help them clear their minds and regain focus. Are they feeling sluggish or need information from experts? A Q&A community that involves gamification can shake things up while also boosting productivity. No matter the issue, an investment in technology can enable employees to make the most of their five hours and 41 minutes per day.