5 tips to increase productivity in your office


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5 tips to increase productivity in your office

Valuing your staff’s insights and ideas helps to motivate them and can make your office more productive.

Productivity is a measure of how efficiently resources are used to create goods or services. By working smarter, not harder, staff can be more productive by producing more in the same amount of time.

But, boosting productivity is not a simple task. At a national level, productivity growth in the decade from 2000 to 2010 declined significantly compared to the decade from 1990 to 2000i. And even larger businesses have difficulty - in a recent survey, 74% had KPIs in place to measure productivity, but only 24% experienced productivity improvementsii.

There are many areas that can be considered to improve productivity. Improved communication and engagement with staff and customers, access to, and investment in, appropriate technology, and a focus on improving processes and staff utilisation are just some.

Smaller businesses can often make decisions quickly and implement changes easier than large companiesiii. One way to get on the road to working smarter, not harder, is to start with some simple steps.

1. Create a productive working culture

Motivated employees are more likely to feel greater loyalty and commitment and go the extra mileiv. Creating a positive, respectful working atmosphere can be helped by valuing your staff’s insights and experienceiv, and implementing policies to prevent discrimination, harassment and inappropriate behaviourv.

2. Processes

Structures, processes and policies can help offices become more productive as they facilitate planning and organising procedures. Clear processes and structures also make it easier for workers to adapt to new products and technologyiv. A good way to implement new procedures is to analyse current behaviour, identify areas that need improvement, and then look for appropriate ways and tools to fill the gaps.

Skilled workers can be more creative when it comes to finding new solutions, and are often able to adapt quickly to new technologies.

3. Technology can help

Productive workplaces are innovative in the way they use technologyiv. Affordable, or even free, tablet and mobile phone applications, such as business apps available from the Australian Government’s principal business resource, as well as a range of online and cloud sharing tools, can help your staff organise, plan and communicate more efficiently. For example, Google Drive allows multiple people to edit documents simultaneously, encouraging group collaboration and centralised and accessible storage of information.

4. Invest in people and skills

The personal capabilities and skills of your office staff, and the application of their knowledge to their daily job, are key ingredients of productivity growthvi. Skilled workers can be more creative when it comes to finding new solutions, and are often able to adapt quickly to new technologies. They also tend to accept more responsibility, require less supervision, and are better communicatorsiv. Hiring skilled, experienced workers and investing in training can also lower staff turnoveriv, which improves productivity and reduces costs in the long run.

5. Measure your results

Once you have invested in improving your office productivity, it is essential for you to assess the outcome, as this helps in understanding the processes that make a differenceiv.


i Eslake, S., 2011, Productivity: the Lost Decade, viewed 22 July 2013,
http://www.rba.gov.au/publications/confs/2011/eslake.html

ii Telstra, 2011, The Telstra Productivity Indicator, viewed 22 July 2013,
http://www.telstra.com.au/business-enterprise/download/document/business-telstra-productivity-indicator-2011.pdf
, p10

iii Bergin, S., 2000, Benchmarking Small Business Performance: Barriers and Benefit, viewed 22 July 2013,
http://vuir.vu.edu.au/2015/1/Benchmarking_Small_Business_Performance.pdf

iv New Zealand Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, The 7 drivers of workplace productivity, viewed 22 July 2013,
http://www.dol.govt.nz/er/bestpractice/productivity/7drivers.asp

v Australian Human Rights Commission, 2004, Information for Employers – Best practice guidelines for creating a productive workplace environment, viewed 22 July 2013,
http://humanrights.gov.au/info_for_employers/best_practice/environment.html

vi Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education, 2013, Demystifying Productivity: A Foundation for Policy Debate, viewed 22 July 2013,
http://www.innovation.gov.au/Industry/ReportsandStudies/Documents/DemystifyingProductivity.pdf
, p.2