10 ways to boost productivity in the workplace

By Dan Buckley, CEO, Cognexo

The term productivity – is it merely the buzzword of the moment, or the secret sauce that can propel a company to the forefront of its industry?

High productivity means more output, and efficiency, with a long-term impact on business development. Operationally, it involves leveraging technology, optimising workflows and fostering continuous improvement, enabling companies to stay agile, quickly adapt and outpace their competitors. But productivity can only be as successful as your employee engagement and wellbeing strategies.

How are UK workers faring in the productivity stakes?

One study found the average UK office worker is only productive for about 2 hours and 53 minutes each day. This means less than half of the workday is spent on productive tasks and more on ‘busy work’ and non-work-related activities such as checking social media, reading news, texting or instant messaging.

Here are ten proven strategies to boost productivity levels in the workplace.

  1. Foster a positive company culture 
  • A positive company culture that values teamwork, recognises achievements and transparency, promotes autonomy and inclusivity can significantly enhance employee morale and productivity. Celebrating successes and fostering a supportive environment encourages employees to perform their best.

2. Set clear goals and provide feedback 

  • Gallup research shows that employees who receive regular feedback are6 times more likely to be engaged and productive at work.
  • Setting clear, achievable goals and providing regular, constructive feedback helps employees understand expectations and stay on track. This clarity and communication foster a sense of purpose and direction.

3. Implement collaborative tools

  • Adopting platforms like Slack, Microsoft Teams, or Asana facilitates better communication and project management. These tools help teams stay aligned, share files effortlessly and streamline workflows, ultimately reducing time wasted on email chains and meetings. 

4. Adopt flexible work schedules

  • Allowing employees to work flexible hours or from remote locations can lead to increased job satisfaction and reduced burnout. This flexibility enables employees to work during their most productive hours and better balance work-life commitments.

5. Creating a culture of learning

  • Providing opportunities for employees to learn new skills and advance their careers can increase motivation and job satisfaction. E-learning, workshops and training programmes ensure teams remain knowledgeable and engaged.

6. Promote health and wellness programmes

  • Creating a culture of openness around mental health is crucial. This can be achieved by encouraging transparent conversations and ensuring mental health is treated with the same seriousness as physical health. Leaders should ensure that no employee feels they have to hide their struggles or suffer in silence. Open door policies are essential in creating a safe and supportive working environment.
  • Technology (and AI) can be a valuable ally here. Regular wellbeing ‘check-ins’ can provide ongoing insights into team morale and individual stress levels, enabling timely interventions. Furthermore, automated escalation systems can ensure that concerns are swiftly and efficiently addressed, providing immediate support when needed. 

7. Utilise AI and automation

  • Embracing automation and AI is not just about replacing human tasks but enhancing human potential. By offloading repetitive and mundane tasks to machines, employees can focus on what they do best; creative problem-solving, strategic planning and building relationships. Tools like AI-driven chatbots for customer service or automated data entry systems can significantly reduce manual workload. 

8. Encourage regular breaks 

  • Promoting regular breaks helps prevent burnout and maintains high levels of focus and energy throughout the day. We have all seen the AI prediction of the ‘future worker’ – techniques such as the Pomodoro Technique encourage structured work intervals followed by short rest periods, can ensure this doesn’t come to fruition.

 9. Optimise meetings 

  • Meeting schedules can be streamlined by implementing strict agendas and time limits. Discouraging video calls and encouraging stand up meetings to keep them short and focused. Reducing unnecessary meetings frees up time for employees to focus on their core tasks and enhances creativity.

10. Encourage employee autonomy 

A study by the University of Birmingham found that employees with higher levels of autonomy in their work reported greater job satisfaction and wellbeing.

Empower employees by giving them control over how they complete their tasks. Trusting employees to manage their workload and make decisions can increase their engagement and productivity. Autonomy fosters a sense of ownership and accountability. Focus periods are also incredibly effective in boosting productivity, as well as autonomy.

By incorporating these strategies, businesses can create a more efficient, motivated and productive workforce. Embracing both technological advancements and holistic approaches to employee engagement and wellbeing is key to sustaining long-term productivity gains.

Dan Buckley is CEO of Cognexo, an AI led platform that helps boost the employee experience. Dan and his team work with leading companies to boost employee engagement. His clients include DHL, Guide Dogs, Shell Energy, WorldPay and Zenith.