VictorsFood-Boost-Productivity (2)

According to a 2011-12 Gallup survey, only 13 per cent of the world’s employees are engaged at work. Together with New Zealand, Australia is fortunate enough to have the second-highest rate of engagement on the planet, yet even then this is less than a quarter of employees at just 24 per cent.

This still leaves 60 per cent of employees as ‘not engaged’, and a further 16 per cent as ‘actively disengaged’. And when a staff member is not engaged with the work, they are hardly going to be at their most productive.

So what can a manager do?

Drastic measures to force hard work from employees will likely only upset staff, so here are a few tips on boosting productivity in the workplace without earning yourself a terrible reputation.

Make meetings meaningful

A recent Harvard Business Review article took the time to count how many hours are wasted each year in a large company on meetings. The total came to 300,000 man-hours. This piece of evidence reflects countless studies on the number of hours people spend in meetings.

While some meetings are vital and useful, there are many that aren’t. Either people are forced to attend unnecessarily, the meeting goes on too long, or the meeting doesn’t need to happen in the first place, as a simple email would suffice.

As a manager, question the purpose of every meeting, ensure only the people who need to be there are there, and keep them on track so you don’t lose hours to meaningless chatter.

Promote breaks

Nobody can work full business days without so much as a coffee break to give the eyes and brain a rest. Unless you give the mind permission to wander, it will wander on its own accord during work hours, which will make the productivity of an eight-hour working day more akin to a much shorter day.

As a manager, make it your responsibility to ensure employees are taking regular breaks. If they’re not, talk to them about why they are skipping breaks. You may need to consider taking tasks off their plate to give them more time in the day, or you could set up a more enticing break area to give them a reason to leave their workstations.

Not to mention, ensuring people take their breaks will only boost your likability as a boss.

Refresh the workspace

If a workplace hasn’t had an update in a decade or two, it’s probably a fairly uninspiring place to work. Imagine an artist trying to create beautiful work with only concrete walls to look at – the same goes for your employees.

The more visually appealing and comfortable your workplace is, the more likely it is that your employees will feel happy and inspired to get their work done well. Try incorporating artworks, plants and warm lighting (rather than harsh fluorescent lights), and add a splash of colour with paint or stylish wallpaper.

If you have any design-minded staff in the office, get them on board by asking for suggestions and ideas for sprucing up the workplace.