How do you motivate your employees to perform at their best?
Bonuses and rewards programs are the common go-tos for improving productivity, and for good reason. But smaller gestures can actually have an outsized impact on the overall mood, productivity, and retention of your most valued employees.
Best of all, most of these suggestions are low cost or free — and something you can start implementing today.
Invest in Employee Happiness
According to a study published in the Journal of Labor Economics, happy employees are 12% more productive than their unhappy counterparts. That’s because happy employees’ brains function better and they’re more effective collaborators.
But how do you increase productivity for your team through happiness incentives? These articles will give you plenty of ideas:
- 21 Ways to Ensure Your Employees Love Coming to Work
- 10 Affordable Ways to Improve Team Morale
- Here Are 16 Work Perks Your Employees Want Over a Raise [Infographic]
- Brighten Your Office’s Day-to-Day With 15 Employee Appreciation Ideas
- Get 109 Ideas to Increase Employee Retention With Our Free eBook
Does your team use Slack as a productivity tool? Slack is an in-house chat app that facilitates several functions, such as project management and overall company communications.
If you already use Slack, this blog post outlines keyboard shortcuts you and your employees can implement to make your usage even more efficient. For example, CMD + K lets you jump to whichever conversation you want, whether to one person or a group.
Automate Payroll and HR Functions
Depending on your company size, you might have someone who spends half (or more) of their day administering payroll and benefits when their role should focus on the tasks they were hired for.
Before Red Key Solutions decided to outsource their HR, CEO Alek Markov lost employee productivity through all the menial tasks of running a business. Managing and juggling paperwork for payroll and benefits “was somebody’s job, part time,” he said. “We had [a payroll company] and we had a brokerage company, but the brokerage company didn’t specialize in health insurance. It was very cumbersome to work with them...Ultimately, it was a lot of cooks in the kitchen.”
If you’re considering outsourcing your HR, these articles might help:
- HR Outsourcing: What to Look for When Considering the Right Services
- When to Go In-House for HR & When to Outsource
Enable Remote Work
The American Psychological Association estimates “more than $500 billion is siphoned off from the U.S. economy because of workplace stress.” One way to eliminate that stress? Offer remote work options.
Studies have shown that telecommuters experience 25% less stress when working from home. And your less stressed employees will be more likely to finish those projects they need to wrap up well and on time.
We’ve written about how to increase productivity when working remotely. If you’re looking to hire a distributed team, we also have these helpful resources:
- Hiring Remote Employees in a New State: Know the Rules
- Change Your Interviewing Approach When Hiring for Remote Jobs
- 3 Ways Museum Hack Encourages Team Bonding with a Distributed Team
Learn how to hire and manage employees in a new state.
Give Employees Time Off
Classic logic dictates that employees should work more in order to be more productive; however, the law of diminishing returns shows that too much input at work will actually have the opposite effect. Give your employees time to rest and relax, and they’ll return prepared to tackle that next big project with a refreshed mind.
Companies increasingly offer unlimited paid time off, sick leave, and paid parental leave in an effort to support their valuable employees. If you’re not sure which kind of leave policy to set up, these resources can get you started:
- How to Set Up a Vacation Policy
- Unlimited Vacations: Richard Branson’s Doing It, Should You?
- Track Paid Time Off, Even When You Offer Unlimited Vacation
One survey revealed 45% of senior executives believed employees would be more productive if they banned meetings at least one day a week. Some companies decide to have no-meeting Fridays, which allows teams to wrap up the week’s work without any distractions.
If banning meetings once a week goes too far, implement guidelines for more productive meetings instead. Suggest your managers implement these ideas:
- Get rid of meetings before 9 am or after 5 pm. Employees are often mentally drained and not fully present.
- State the purpose of the meeting at the beginning so everyone’s on the same page.
- Share a meeting agenda ahead of time so the topics at hand don’t get derailed.
- Keep laptops closed unless they’re absolutely necessary for the meeting. It will encourage employees to be engaged and work through a problem more quickly and effectively.
Offer Healthy Snacks
Help care for your employees’ health, and they’ll return the favor by delivering higher quality work. A study conducted on the workplace found that employees who eat healthily are 25% more likely to have higher job performance.
Fan favorites for healthy snacks can be deceivingly simple: fruits, nuts, plain yogurt, protein bars without many added sugars or carrots and hummus will all be a big hit. Our friends over at Snack Nation also have a compilation of 42 tasty and healthy office snacks you’ll love.
Providing healthy snacks is just one way to create a healthy working environment for both the body and mind. You can also start a fitness club, subsidize gym memberships, encourage volunteering, or set up a step competition with Track.It.
Overall, there is no single way to improve your employees’ productivity; rather, many small and supportive ways that build a foundation for a happy and effective workplace. By providing your employees with the support and encouragement they need, you’ll see productivity (and the happiness meter) rise.
This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, legal or tax advice. If you have any legal or tax questions regarding this content or related issues, then you should consult with your professional legal or tax advisor.