Increasing the labor force productivity has been the concern of managers for as long as production has existed.
Achieving high productivity is a source of pride. The most renowned system of productivity-maximizing production, Fordism, was introduced in the early 20th century with the assembly-production-line type of production. There was a popularization of mass production and consumption in capitalistic societies.
However, something crucial was missing: well-being. Workers must repeat infinitely the same movement. It has the adverse consequence of being mind-numbing, and it suppresses individuality or changes, thus causing the workers to fade mentally.
Nowadays, well-being in the workplace is not only encouraged but also rewarded and takes a more prominent role. It includes aspects of the work-life balance, safety, and quality of the environment and how generally workers feel about their work, etc.
It might seem contradictory, but promoting wellbeing in the workplace has been proven to improve creativity and quality of work hence productivity in the long run! Indeed, when thought about lightly, it can be argued that working fast, with minimal breaks, and no external distractions is the winning combination to bolster productivity. Likewise, most people believed that pressure increased productivity!
However, pressure, in contrast to previous beliefs, undermines productivity. It also undermines quality, innovations and has adverse consequences on the workers’ mental and physical health. Then, should we promote relaxed, chill workplaces? It could seem unlikely but Chron explains that a company culture where people are relaxed, friendly would increase productivity. And, if we take Google, for example, it becomes much more believable.
Indeed, Google aims to use its office spaces to “create the happiest, most productive workplace in the world.” In its different offices, Google has a jungle (Dublin), beach volleyball and climbing walls (California), an authentic New York apartment-style conference room, and a virtual library with a secret, revolving bookcases leading to other departments (New York). Each workspace is carefully designed to enhance creativity. Rather than focusing on results, Google’s culture focuses on employees, and it works!
In 2021, Google was the first search engine with a gigantic 91.94% market share. Alphabet Inc.’s value, Google’s parent company, reached USD 2 trillion in November 2021, so you could say the company is doing well for itself.
Do small businesses also have to invest in a jungle to increase productivity? Of course not! Less expensive and more convenient measures exist:
This might seem straightforward, but a reminder is never too much. Ensure the physical and mental safety of your employees by providing basic security (training, fire doors, fire extinctors, regular security checks, etc.).
Offer not only coffee but a wide range of free drinks (water, tea, etc.), have a space for people to move around, etc.
Natural lights have many positive effects on the human body by boosting Vitamin D levels and improving sleep. It also makes seasonal depression fade and makes people happier and more productive. Put some mirrors on the walls. Color the walls and the floor wisely: keep it light!
Every employee is different and organizes their work accordingly. Allow them to have freedom in how they manage themselves.
At Neuwelt, we allow flexibility to the employees. Employees can arrange their work as they wish, as long as, at the end of the day, they bring results. We keep track of our performance with weekly meetings that allow us to voice our progress, our challenges, and what we need from other departments.
Last-minute meetings and overtime work will cause frustration as employees might have other obligations. As much as possible, avoid these frustrations that reduce the well-being of the employees.
If people feel like they belong in the workplace, they have a positive mindset that helps increase creativity and productivity.
At Neuwelt, we always eat lunch together. It helps reinforce relationships between each employee, and it is an opportunity to get to talk to your colleagues without having to think of work! It creates a relaxed and easy environment even when working.
Show that you are open to suggestions. Implement feedback when feasible or explain why you do not implement it when not possible.
Ultimately, it comes down to you to know what your employees need. Always search for improvement and implement upgrades. Comfortable seats, TV, etc., you have choices!