Productivity in the workplace — How to keep people interested in the working day
It sounds like a cliché from an 80s motivational poster, but a happy worker is a productive worker. We all know this, and with all our combined years of recruitment experience here at Jobwise, we can categorically tell you that it is one of the main reasons people move on to the next job. Along with a desire to improve their career and outside influences such as wanting different hours or similar we hear ‘I am unhappy at my current place’ on an almost daily basis.
In some rare cases, the reason people are unhappy is that they have simply never really been content with the job because they just sort of fell into it. There is an easy resolution to this; we just sit down and look to put them back on the track they wanted to be on in the first place. When someone says they are unhappy in their job, however, it is often much harder to pin down the reason. This is because the candidate often struggles to express the reason they have become discontented. Often, they will tell us that they are bored or the job isn’t challenging them.
So, having drilled down quite a few times into the reason people are not engaging with work, here are four things that will help keep employees interested in their working day.
1. Switch things around a little.
A change is as good as a rest, or so they tell us, so if possible add a little variety to the working day. The more repetitive the job, or the longer the person has been in a role, the more important it becomes. It doesn’t need to be a big change. Occasional secondment to a different department or a meeting out of the office can be enough.
2. Stop and listen.
Many times when we dig down into the reasons people are choosing to leave it is because they are actually feeling rather, as one candidate recently put it, ‘part of the furniture’ in the workplace. That is a terrible way to feel in any circumstances, and I am sure their managers would be mortified if they knew, but that is sort of the point, they didn’t know because they weren’t making enough effort to talk to what they probably saw as a reliable and contented worker.
3. Crusades can be good.
Everyone loves to really get their teeth into a project. While you obviously want to avoid overloading someone, giving them project to complete can take them out of the day to day workload. Again, it doesn’t need to be huge, a new method of doing a task or finding a solution to a small issue around productivity will often do it. Most importantly acknowledging the work they did afterwards is vital to morale.
4. The working day is part of people’s lives.
The most production workplaces tend to be the ones where there is the occasional social aspect to the day. Over the years we have seen simple things like the creation of a breakout area where people can get away from their workplace, or running weekly competitions for the staff making a huge difference. One business we know has access to a table tennis table, and another runs a free annual trip to some sort of event like a locked room challenge or similar. The cost of these things is negligible compared to the reward they can bring.
Now finally, as a little extra thought let’s focus on the candidate. It is occasionally the case that you have managed to convince yourself that this is not the place for you. You have allowed yourself to get into a negative mindset and you want to move on. Most of the time there is a good reason for this, but you do need to be careful it doesn’t stick with you. It could be that it is just you and not the rest of the employees where you currently work that feel this way. It may well still be time to move on, and for you, the grass may well actually be greener on the other side, but you need to shake off the negativity so that you appreciate how green it is when we get you there.
As always, feel free to talk to us, and we will be happy to offer impartial advice.