Dakota Murphey is an independent writer with over a decade of experience of time management processes for both SMEs and large enterprises. She has contributed to a number of authoritative resources over the years and aims to both educate and inspire other industry professionals with her writing. Feel free to connect with Dakota on LinkedIn.
Maximizing employee productivity is high on every business agenda. What methods are you using to get the most out of your staff? Crack the whip and tell them to get on with it? Block distractions such as access to social media sites? Give them time management training and tools to use?
More enlightened organizations are discovering that greater staff happiness can significantly increase productivity at work – by up to 12% according to researchers at Warwick University, and up to a staggering 50% according to the New Economics Foundation.
If you are curious to know what good company culture looks like, check out these examples of brilliant business culture.
Now let’s look at unique productivity hacks!
1. Let Them Sleep
Many reputable studies have proven beyond doubt the beneficial effects of taking a short nap during the day. A 20-minute ‘power nap’ in the afternoon can restore worker alertness when productivity nosedives after lunch or after a bad night’s sleep.
Did you know that many companies in China have mandatory nap times for their employees? Harness the power of the catnap and encourage your staff members to take 40 winks when their body tells them to. In terms of facilities at the office, a quiet room with comfy chairs and a blackout blind may be all that’s required.
2. Look at cute cat pictures
There’s plenty of serious scientific evidence to suggest that spending time looking at adorable animal photos (it doesn’t have to be cats) lowers stress and increases happy feelings. It’s all to with what the behavioral biologist Konrad Lorenz called the ‘baby schema’ – disproportionately large eyes, round faces, small noses – that brings out our soft side.
Interestingly, researchers at Hiroshima University also discovered that perusing images of fluffy kittens etc can make us more productive. So, why not tap into this insight and display baby animal pics around the office or as computer background images, and share the occasional funny puppy video? In terms of company benefits, this is a low cost, high reward strategy.
3. Everybody stand up
A simple yet effective method to re-energize your workers when productivity is flagging is to get them off their office chairs to stand up. We’re constantly told that sitting down all day is bad for our health, with serious long-term consequences including shoulder and back pain, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. On a daily basis, it also makes you more tired than being up and about.
One solution is to equip your office with standing desks. These are now gaining popularity as a convenient way to switch between sitting and standing at work.
An ergonomically adjusted desk will allow you to stand with the correct posture, while continuous small movements will keep your body energized and the brain cells activated. If your office set-up isn’t suitable or the budget doesn’t stretch, how about investing in standing meeting tables or schedule walking meetings as an alternative?
4. Let the dogs in
Most people tend to relax around pet animals, so what could be a better productivity boost than bringing your dog into work? Pets in the office have a calming and relaxing influence while taking an interest in the animal provides an excellent opportunity for the whole team to bond and better co-worker relationships to develop.
Several studies have confirmed that taking a pet to work can have substantial benefits including increased motivation and better productivity. Researchers at the International Journal of Workplace Health Management also found that pets at work boost morale and lower stress levels, regardless of who the animal belongs to.
While the introduction of a ‘pet at work’ policy needs careful consideration, particularly in the context of pet allergies or fear of animals among your staff, it could be the perfect solution for your company.
5. Make it fun
A bit of banter in the office goes a long way. Did you know that a good belly laugh works as an effective stress reliever, offering some welcome light relief from the daily grind? If you’re feeling overwhelmed, sharing your favorite funny YouTube video has the power to lift the mood in the entire office. And once the upbeat atmosphere has been restored, productivity will be at a high!