You take a walk through the office to observe your employees in action, eager to see what projects they have going, what tasks they’ve got going on. Yet what you see is…inaction. Employees stand at each others’ cubicles gossiping. Others not-so-sneakily check their smartphones or social media on their computers. Some simply try to multitask and don’t get anything done because they’re trying to focus on too many tasks at once or get stuck waiting to move on to the next phase of a project because they’re waiting on a response from someone else. All of this leads to the question, what can you do as an employer to keep a happy office but maintain that productivity?
- Poor communication. This can work on multiple levels. First, do what you can to have a workspace that encourages collaboration but discourages stopping to chat. Cubicle office layouts tend to foster the latter. In addition, make sure you let your employees know what’s going on so changes don’t stir up office gossip, which gets even worse when employees don’t know what’s going on. In addition, using wearable technology (such as smartwatches) or using collaboration apps can easily bring people together and keep them informed.
- Feeling overworked. Too many offices dissuade their workers from taking breaks, giving praise to those who work long hours to the point of burnout because that apparently proves their dedication. However, working without pause all but forces employees to sneak one, and this is when they have extended chat sessions and get on social media for 30 minute sessions. Encourage employees to take short, five to ten minute breaks every so often. You may also consider putting together a wellness program that emphasizes exercise and good eating. This is also where a flexible schedule may help in alleviating the stress of feeling the need to be “at the office.”
- Office setup. If you want employees engaged, you need to have an office plan that encourages it. As such, find ways to give employees places for concentration: Some need a quiet setting and others need it somewhat noisy or prefer to work in a group setting. The open office plan doesn’t work for everyone, so make sure to have rooms for quiet focus for those who need it. Forcing everyone to work in the same way fosters distraction and hinders productivity. One study even found that “98 percent [of highly engaged employees] said their work environment allows them to concentrate easily.”
Work should be a place of productivity, but our society lends itself to distraction. Fortunately, you can take steps to help employees get the most out of each day. To find your next, focused employee, partner with the local recruiting specialists at PrideStaff Thousand Oaks/Ventura County.