Unconventional ways to improve workplace productivity

Credit: This story was first seen on Teem

Having trouble getting your employees to remain productive throughout the workday? Is employee engagement down at your office?

If you answered yes to the first question, then you probably answered yes to the second. That’s because employee engagement and productivity go hand-in-hand. Highly-engaged employees are also happy employees, and research has proven that happiness can improve employee productivity by up to 50%.

So if you want to boost employee happiness and engagement, which in turn boosts productivity in the workplace and your bottom line, try implementing some of these unconventional policies in your office.

Keep an eye on the temperature of the office

It might be the hottest day of the summer, but you’ve never felt colder. Thermal stress, being too cold or too hot, is a common problem for workers in large office buildings. Why can’t commercial offices seem to maintain a comfortable temperature all year round?

For starters, the formula created to design and regulate traditional HVAC systems (created decades ago) are based off the metabolic activity of a 40-year-old male weighing about 155 pounds. This formula doesn’t take into account women, who have lower metabolic rates and generally get colder easier than men.

Likewise, an office manager can’t just set the thermostat to a temperature he or she thinks is comfortable and call it good. There are numerous things to take into account: people have different temperature preferences, how many people are in the office, what types of activities they are doing throughout the day, does your office use LED lighting or older lighting technology, etc.

And some workers get stuck with unfortunate desk locations, stuck right under a vent that’s constantly blowing out cold air so they’re freezing while someone across the room far from the vent is sweating.

When employees are too cold, they’re focused on that rather than their work and tend to make more mistakes. And when they’re overheated, employees are easily fatigued and again, struggle to concentrate on their tasks.

One solution to the common thermal stress problem is adding more thermostats throughout your building so each floor can better control their temperature variations. It may cost a bit more, but if you don’t find a solution, employees end up paying the price of discomfort and making more errors.

Having more temperature control and finding the optimum range for your office, based on your employees’ needs and not with just cost savings in mind, will positively impact employee productivity.

Encourage fun breaks

There are three scientific reasons you and all employees should take breaks at work:

  1. They keep you from getting bored, and thus prevent you from losing focus.
  2. They help you better retain information.
  3. They encourage you to reevaluate your goals.

Encourage breaks and encourage fun in your office. Let employees take social media or exercise breaks, have team lunches, or celebrate birthdays, holidays or achieving company goals. Mandatory breaks allow employees to clear their heads, reduce mental fatigue and boost team morale.

Also with breaks, don’t set a strict time limit. Controlled breaks aren’t effective. Allow your employees to take breaks here and there as they see fit, which lets them enjoy their breaks rather than watching the clock as they wait for the allotted break time to start and end.

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Each person is different, and different personalities and tasks need different time frames and styles of breaks.

Have nap rooms

‘Don’t sleep on the job.’ We’ve all heard that phrase. But maybe it’s time to rethink it, especially because more companies are starting to allow employees to sleep on the job in hopes that they’ll be more productive throughout the day.

When you don’t get a good night’s sleep every night, you’re groggy the next day (even with a couple cups of coffee). Allowing employees to take a 20-minute power nap in a dark room on a comfy recliner or couch will make a big difference. Sleep not only helps people be more productive, it helps them be healthier, less stressed and more creative.

Today’s employees want a healthy work/life balance. Part of that includes being able to work out regularly. But it’s hard to make it to the gym when you work eight+ hours every day, have errands to run, need to make dinner, spend time with the kids, or take care of pets.

Make it easier on your employees and show you care about their values by adding an on-site fitness center to your office. Offer yoga classes. Have a weights section. Buy a couple of treadmills. You can add a full-sized gym or keep it to one good-sized room.

If fitness equipment or classes aren’t an option, consider bringing in desks and chairs that make it easier to meet sit-stand recommendations or otherwise improves posture and ergonomics.

Whatever you decide, you’ll have healthier, happier employees, and like we mentioned earlier, happiness increases productivity.

Don’t require a traditional 9-5 workday

A 9-5 workday has been the traditional standard for decades. But tasks and workloads – and the employees doing them – have changed. Some employees work better when they start at 6 or 7 a.m., while others are more effective later in the evenings.

Unfortunately, despite research showing that flexible work hours leads to better mental and physical health for employees, many companies’ policies are staying the same. Businesses that allow flexwork arrangements – like allowing employees to work from home once or twice a week or adjust their hours based on when they perform best – still don’t make up the majority.

One reason is that employers aren’t willing to take a leap of faith that their employees will remain productive with a more flexible schedule, much less believing that they may be even more productive. Others only offer it to certain employees, meaning employees on the middle or lower end of the totem pole aren’t given this much-needed and desired benefit.

If your office can be flexible and give employees the type of hours they need to be at their most efficient, it also creates a more trusting bond between you and the staff and improves overall office morale.

Experiment with some of these unconventional ways to improve workplace productivity, and after some time, you’ll learn what works and what doesn’t for your office.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that happy employees are highly-engaged and productive employees. Look at yourself. If you’re happy at your job, you work hard and efficiently complete your tasks because you want your company to succeed. And a company’s success is dependent on how engaged and productive its employees are.